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Extracting--- using heat gun to uncap??!!

3740 Views 17 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  JRG13
Almost ready for my for my first extraction. Saw video where guy very briefly used heat gun to melt capped wax. Looked great. no mess etc. but got to thinking wax is now liquid -- will most likely pass right thru strainer. figure it would probably adhere to sides of extractor when cooled down. if bottled while still a liquid, would the wax solidify on top of honey in bottles?? think so but not sure.. what do you guys think??? better yet- anyone actually use this technique?? thanks Gary
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i am likely to try this for the first time this year. i would venture to say that by the time you get the frame in the extractor the wax will no longer be liquid, probably even if you drop it in right away.
+1 on Coal Reaper's statement. I helped a friend with his first extraction this year and we used the heat gun with mixed results. He runs 7 frames in an 8 frame box on all of his supers. For the frames that were drawn nice and fat, the heat gun turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. The wax melts and then runs and hardens a bit. On the frames that were uncapped with the heat gun, we had to spin them multiple times on each side to get all the honey out. By using a simple bread knife on the combs that were drawn past the wood, the honey came out nice and easy. A few of the frames were capped, but not drawn past the wood, which makes it harder to cut the cappings. On frames like that, the heat gun worked well. Still had to spin them a couple times on each side, but it leaves the comb nice and intact.
I tried this based on the i'net promotion --- didn't work well for me at all. The caps melted and resolidified. you had to chase the melted wax around the frame with the gun. Just made the comb soft and easily damaged.
Nothing wrong with cutting or raking comb, faster and more effective than the heat gun. Everytime you cut comb, think of regularizing and straightening it -- you are doing more than just uncapping, as in time unmanaged comb comb get more and more irregular. Cut the comb back to the frame edge, or it will be hard to introduce new undrawn comb.

You can have big swollen honey comb -- but it needs to be managed in its own supers (7-8-9 frame spacing). At my level, its better to have all the comb multi-purpose, and so it all gets trimmed back.

The melt-resolidify problem can affect electric uncapping knives as well, sometime a really sharp fillet or serrated bread knife (cleaned periodically in pot of hot water) is just about the perfect tool. A high-quality Electric fillet knife is worth coveting, and a good excuse to go fishing when the bee bizzness is not pressing.

There's a lot of video on the i'net that is just plain misguided.
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I tried it and was not impressed.
I too tried this and do not consider it even remotely viable. Perhaps under perfect white cappings you might get away with it, but for a general mix of frames don't waste your time.
thanks guys for all the input... will forget it Gary
Bread knife works better. Works we'll with white callings, not so much when the honey is in contact with the capping
I tried it and liked it. every now and then I get a few single combs that don't extract, but I much prefer not having to deal with cleaning up honey and cappings.
I set the comb on the edge of the extractor, melt both sides and drop it in. The wax isn't melted when you extract. Only very tiny pieces can make it thru the strainer.
My gun cost 14 bucks. You do get wax in your extractor, but you will anyway and the wax comes in contact with the rack when you spin it. So it cost 15 bucks to try it. Much less than a capping station and capping knife. If you don't like it, you've got a heat gun for the tool box...
This subject threads pops up every 4 months or so. Try using search. The subjects has been explained thoroughly before. In short, this method works really well for dry capped honey. It doesn't work at all for wet capped honey. By the time you get the frame to the extractor melted wax cappings are already solid, you don't need to worry about it getting on your equipment.
Just about every subject pops up about every 4 months. Fortunately, most people here don't mind carrying on the conversation as if the question is new. If we did, there wouldn't be much discussion here.

I tried the heat gun method once a couple years back when I had only a few boxes to extract. It worked but I wasn't totally sold on the process then. I still have the heat gun (handy to have in the toolbox as Robbin said,) and might give it another shot when I extract next, now that you brought up the subject. Thanks for posting your question.

Wayne
Curiosity got me this year so I picked up a heat gun to try also. Like most of the stuff I get from HF I took it home and put it to use right away. I found on high it started the smoker in a jiffy!
I tried it. JW Chestnut said just about what I would say.
Just about every subject pops up about every 4 months. Fortunately, most people here don't mind carrying on the conversation as if the question is new. If we did, there wouldn't be much discussion here.

I tried the heat gun method once a couple years back when I had only a few boxes to extract. It worked but I wasn't totally sold on the process then. I still have the heat gun (handy to have in the toolbox as Robbin said,) and might give it another shot when I extract next, now that you brought up the subject. Thanks for posting your question.

Wayne
+1
I tried it this last weekend with two supers and thought it worked pretty well using the lowest setting on the heat gun.... Nice not to have to deal with the caps afterward.....
Wayne, I found the thread. Thanks for pointing me in the correct direction. Good stuff!
I use heat gun solely and respond when this thread comes up from time to time. If you are looking to extracvt every last drop of honey, heat gun is not for you. If you are a small hobby type person and have more than enough honey, this could be a great way for you. There is way to do this that I found over the past 3 years or so that I used this method. Starting at the top, work your way down. Yes the wax melts, but it melts DOWN and each pass you get any that dripped down. Melted wax solidifies almost instantly so does not pose any less or more a threat to your extrator. My frames seem to suffer no ill effects to the heat gun. Another trick I picked up is fairly high heat and make fairly quick passes.

In the past someone had posted this will only work on new pure white frames. So far, I have found this statement not to be accurate for me with one caveat. If I have a frame of somewhat crystalized honey, this will not work. I guess other methods have some way of dealing with this scenario, but I have not found the heat gun to work on this.

Be careful where you use the heatgun. Wax does melt onto wherever you place the frames.
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I will reiterate what Dan said, it works well with certain frames. The capping instantly melts and contracts into a small solidfiied droplet. Main issue I had is when the honey is in contact with the capping (i.e. not white cappings on the frame) it was hard to get a good melt on it as the honey prevented the rapid melting and contraction of the cappings. Also, uneven comb was tough to do well. I just found the combs extracted unevenly and stuff started banging around in the extractor and blowing out.
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