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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've set this up:

https://imgur.com/a/Zv8QJTd

Basically, a foam box, with plexiglass on top. There's a food strainer sitting in it, lined with paper towels where the wax since. Underneath, there's a tray to capture the dripping beeswax, sitting in a tub.

It was 40c/100f yesterday and this black comb that didn't melt. I put in a piece of wax underneath to see if that would melt and it didn't. I've tried sealing up the sides by stuffing the holes with plastic, then putting ducttape over it, then putting allfoil over all the sides, then duct taping that up.

I'm starting to wonder if this black comb crap will ever melt. I had placed it in a previous solar wax melter, that I made out of an old frying pan with a lid. It could never melt done the last bit of this black, smelling comb, so I deemed the frying pan solar wax melter to be a failed experiment and threw it out.

Do solar wax melters no entirely break down all the gunk that's it comb? Have I maybe already melted out all the beeswax?
 

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Painting the inside flat black will help significantly. This is the same type of melter I use and works very well.
Some of the old black brood comb will not melt. What you’re seeing is mostly cocoons.
 

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Painting the inside flat black will help significantly. This is the same type of melter I use and works very well.
Some of the old black brood comb will not melt. What you’re seeing is mostly cocoons.
Cocoons which have absorbed the wax. Active steam will get some more wax out and then pressing under heat. But you will have to spend big money to get set up to get that wax out. Solar is best for cappings and scraps, not brood comb.
 

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I equate old brood comb to wax soaked paper mache. As odfrank pointed out, give it a squeeze after it's hot and then use it as a great fire starter. I also find the wax tends to be darker and less preferred by some buyers/crafters, you might avoid comingling it with you blocks of capping and scrap wax.
 

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Solar melting works great for cappings and scraps, it's brood comb with al its cocoons that doesn't melt out much wax no matter how you try to melt it. As someone suggested, paint the inside dark or simply slip a dark trash bag on the inside of your container. Try some lighter colored non brood comb/wax and see if you get satisfactory results.


An FYI, put a few cm of water in your catch pan and it makes removing the filtered wax easier; the wax floats on top and can only attach to the sides if at all.
 

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While your melter is economical it is not effective except in ideal sunlight conditions. Look at the Beesource solar melter plans and you will see that all the unmelted wax And the melted wax is exposed to direct sunlight most of the time. Little wax hidden in shadows.
I melt five gallons of cappings daily in that style melter.

https://beesource.com/build-it-yourself/solar-wax-melter/

There is also a melting season when the sun is direct enough to melt. That season here is May to September.
 

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odfrank, he is an Aussie with 100F weather right now. There should be enough sun and heat to melt wax. Correcting for shade should help fix the issue.
FWIW, I melted some very old black comb stovetop last summer and got VERY little wax from it. The stuff was old enough to have passed the brittle point and gone rock hard. Got it from a house cut out. Depending on how old that black comb is, it may not be worth the effort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I threw out the old black slum gum comb, put fresh stuff in and it melted very well. I put a Thermometer in there but it got so hot that it exploded. The wax came out very white, does it supposed to be a more yellow colour? I'm not sure if it being so pale white means it heated up too high.

There's also some black stuff on the bottom underneath part. Should I put it back in the wax melter with a fresh piece of paper, to try and strain out the black stuff and make it pretty and pure?
 

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I generally run most of the wax twice just to ensure I haven't gotten any trash into it when handling the comb and reloading the melter, but I do it after I've run all the comb/wax thru once and tidied up the melter. Scrape most of the slum gum off the bottom and run it with a fresh piece of paper.


I never get really white/light colored wax but since you mentioned you've crush and strained for years, it wouldn't surprise me if you might have a lot of first year light colored comb that you're melting. Personally I've never had the heat in the melter affect color but note the color of the comb you're start with.
 

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The heat of the melter won't hurt the wax. If it can stay in the sunlight for a while the sun will bleach out some of the color and you will have a lighter colored product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Come to think of it, the wax was rather white looking to begin with. Maybe that's simply the reason why it came out white.

I read that wax loses quality when it's exposed to certain high temperatures.
 

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This may not be the right place to ask this if not please advise.
I am about to build a solar wax melter and my question is, will it hurt the frames to put them in the melter?
I was thinking that the heat would get the wax out of the bottom grove and make re-using them easier.

thanks
 

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My melter is purposely built to accommodate whole frames and it doesn't hurt the frames but I'm primarily foundationless, the heat may play the devil with any foundation.
 

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My melter is purposely built to accommodate whole frames and it doesn't hurt the frames but I'm primarily foundationless, the heat may play the devil with any foundation.
Thank you I appreciate your reply, I use mostly wax foundation and this would be to get it ready to install new foundation. So I think this will work fine. thanks again
 

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You will find that black combs do not produce much wax and they leave a black residue on the frames that I remove by hot pressure washing.
 

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Thank you, I have about decided that the brood comb is more trouble than it is worth trying to reclaim any wax.
Good to know about pressure washing to clean them up.
 

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If you light any outside fires, the dark comb is great as fire starters. Pull the comb and paper towels out while hot, place on a couple sheets of newspaper and roll it up. Burns hot and fast.
 

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If you light any outside fires, the dark comb is great as fire starters. Pull the comb and paper towels out while hot, place on a couple sheets of newspaper and roll it up. Burns hot and fast.

Thanks that is a good idea.
 
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