Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We just completed cleaning some used equipment using the lye bath method. Thought I'd post photos to show how we did it. This is the first time I've tried to post photos here. Hope it works.

We set the bath up in a small water tank and used two turkey fryers to heat the water up. We used 30 gals of water and 3 lbs of lye.



To hold the frames down, we used scrap chip board and drilled holes in it. A couple of block on top and we were ready to cook!!



After twenty minutes, we pulled the frames out. For this part, we used chemical resistant gloves from the hardware store, they were $6.



From there, they were laid down and rised off with a water hose until the water ran clear or no more "soap" bubbles formed on them



continued in part 2
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Re: Cleaning equipment in a lye bath Part 2

Ok, we then dipped them in a bucket with 3 1/2 gal of water and 1 gal of vinegar. Some of the frames picked up scum from the lye bath, so that was wiped off before dipping if the hose didn't knock it off.



After the vinegar dip, they were "hung" on PVC pipe to dry and then hosed off a final time.
Frames came out really clean.



Here is a before and after of a inner cover



We'll do this again. The thicker frames came out great, if you have old, thinner types of frames, they will loosen or fall apart. We just ran a batch of those then tossed them and burned the rest. They are not worth the work. It worked great, equipment came out very clean. We are sold on this for used equipment. If you are going to dip your boxes, do that last as it will take off quite a bit of paint. You don't want to get the paint scum on your frames.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,594 Posts
I did the same thing in a 55 gal drum, i highly recommend that you do not use one, there is just not enough room. Also a wood fire underneath the bath instead of propane burners is better. At least on the 55 gal drum i could only fit one burner and it took 4 hours to boil 30 gal, but with a campfire boiled the water in less than an hour. Other than that it worked like a charm, but it was a lot of work.:)

Dan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It took an hour with 2 burners to get it to boiling. We could do 20 deeps or 30 mediums at a time in the tub.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,594 Posts
Yeah, your way looks much better. I might try it again with the water tank, but never again with the barrel. Just way to much work and time for the reward, i could only run 20-30 frames at a time.
Dan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
First year for us. We used this method to get started. Equipment was purchased from known beekeepers with likely no disease but we cleaned this way anyway. A reliable way to sanitize based on a couple of websites. The idea seems to bee that the heat will sanitize and the lye will break down any organic material which may contain disease. Made sense and we would do it again in spite of it being very labor intensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Our local hardware store had it. The next time though, we'll probably buy on-line. Soap folks sell it plus it's cheaper. It was $10!!!! a lb at the local harware store, but we wanted it for the weekend and didn't want to wait on shipping and push it to the next weekend. Candem Grey essential oils has 30lbs for $46.00. That is where we'll probably buy the next time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,594 Posts
You can get lye much less expensive. It is drain cleaner. I bought it in 1lb packages for $3.50 each. You have to get the 100% lye drain cleaner. I live in a town of 10,.00 with a little ACE Hardware so anyone should be able to find it locally. I hope that helps.

Dan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,092 Posts
I cleaned a lot of frames made by others in lye years ago. I ended up with a lot of nice clean frames that still needed re-stapling, grooves cleaned, and re-wiring, but were impossible to glue. It was a lot more work than making new frames correctly, and taking the tank equipment and fuel costs into consideration, was not a great value. I bought and made new from then on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
We have a chemical company nearby and paid $20 for 10 lbs. This was really a cost effective way for us to get started. I like the wood fire idea and should have used wood instead of LP. Next time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I cleaned a lot of frames made by others in lye years ago. I ended up with a lot of nice clean frames that still needed re-stapling, grooves cleaned, and re-wiring, but were impossible to glue. It was a lot more work than making new frames correctly, and taking the tank equipment and fuel costs into consideration, was not a great value. I bought and made new from then on.
The newer frames remained tight with wire intact. We did not have to clean any groves. Any additional work on the frames was due to the scum some of the frames picked up when being removed from the tank. That had to be hand washed. Eventually, we started skimming that off with some cardboard to keep it off the frames. We did not do anything else to the frames. If they were loose, we junked them. You're right about junk frames not worth anymore effort. Most of the boxes came out fine, I think we'll have to rescrew only a couple of them. The queen excluders came out very clean. I was concerned about the metal, but it was fine.

We are going to use the tank again this weekend to make candy boards. If you don't have equiptment on hand you will have some sunk costs. However, if you can reuse the tank you will eventually come out ahead ...maybe ;). Was an interesting exercise. Thinking about making a hydrogen dirigible next. ;)
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top