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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the past we kind of let our wax go, honey was more important. But now I am trying to render wax for my better half to make candles and also to take advantage of the wax working done by suppliers. So I have some questions please.

First it seems that my wax does not come out of my cappings melter hot enough to settle in a mold and make those nice 2 pound blocks I see at the beek suppliers. Do I need to use something other then a cappings melter to do that with?

How many times do you feel I need to run wax thru a melter to render it? Seems like we need to do it atleast twice to get it nice.

Lastly, I had a friend give me some old cappings that were dry (he ran them one time thru his melter to get honey out) these are dirty, lots of wings, cocoons, and other trash. Is there a good way to filter them?
 

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i render alot of wax. This year i did 600 pounds with a piece of Maxant equipment. The WP3900. I like it alot and am hoping to get another one this fall.

First off, if you are doing any amount of cappings, I recommend the maxant or equivalent junior cappings spinner. This spinner will dry the cappings by spinning out any excess honey. On just over a hundred hives last year i salvaged a barrel (45 gal) drum of honey. With honey prices what they are...it paid for itself the first year (bought used)

Next the wp3900. For me it holds about 2 - 5 gallon pails of wax and then water. I bring the mixture to a boil, rolling boil for about 5-10 minutes, then turn down the element to 160F and let sit for 2-3 hours. This allows all the dirt and debris to settle. With the two valves, I lower the water level so the wax is coming out of the top valve. Then i strain the wax into a rubbermaid wash tube. I use an old strainer with 8 layers of 100 mesh straining cloth that was once used for honey straining. (this can be re used many times)
As well, to help with the settling of any pollen that passes through the cloth, I put about 1/2 to 1 inch of boiling water in the rubbermaid tub. This helps with two things. 1. to add in any separation of pollen from the wax, and, 2. to help with the release of the wax from the tub.

When you are ready to do the next batch, use an old strainer to get out the slum gum, and add more fresh water. You will need to change the water about every 4th to 6th load.

Cool this until the wax is solid hard and remove, and do a little scraping on the bottom with a knife.

The wax is ready to use.

With your first attempts at cleaning cappings, take the hard blocks and spilt them with an axe. Look at the wax. Notice if it has a shiny look to it or a matte finish. You want a matt finish. This means the honey is out...very important!

For me, the important key is to boil (full rolling) to help with the separation and settleing of the debris. I have noticed when it boils, the wax is clearer, than when it just melts and just starts to boil.

i made video and placed on you tube, but took it off...thought to long would not keep the interest.
 

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Hello Kyfarmer, I would use the time until it warms up outside to build me a solar wax melter. I would start with finding a surplus double paned glas window not too big and then work the dimensions to that. I have used the plans from Beesource and made me a metal tray to fit. That is the most difficult but I think you can come up with something similar in baking sheets or cook pans. My pan has the end cut and bent down for a spout and I cover that with some hardware cloth and cheese cloth. On a warm day out in the back yard and it sitting on some sawhorses it does a great job. I have seen about a 120F in it on not the hottest day. Just make sure that it is all closed because the girls will get very interested in it. I have run some very dark and dirty wax through and it came out nice and light yellow. Some of it you might run more than once but then let the sun do it. Take care and have fun
 

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a capping melter is just to salvage honey, it wont clean the wax(as you have discovered). i use 2 pans nested together (AKA a double boiler) that i got from goodwill for a couple bucks. i pour melted wax into the mold through several layers of cheesecloth-available at walmart- scrape the bottom clean after cooled. the trash not filtered by the cheesecloth will settle in the bottom 1/2 inch. this part is refiltered, or tossed. also do a search here for "prestopot" or similar words to find a method of using a slow-cooker to melt the wax. goodluck,mike
 

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Hello Kyfarmer,
I agree with Alex. I use crush and strain extraction from my top bar hives. Made a quick solar extractor last summer using a Styrofoam cooler, lined it with tar paper (really heats up hot and fast). I perch an aluminum roaster pan, lined with paper towels, on a small box inside the melter. The small box is to raise the roaster pan high enough so I can place a bread-pan sized Tupperware-type catch pan under the lowest end of the roaster pan. I punch a pencil sized hole in the collection end of the roaster pan. I place this contraption on a scrap piece of 2x4 to raise end of the box away from the sun. Gives it a nice slope to aim the melter at the sun, but not so steep the roaster pan slides of its box.
Lessons learned;:doh:
1) The bees have an incredible sense for finding this contraption. Make sure it seals well or you'll cook a bunch of bees.
2) Best to harvest the wax after sunset after the collected wax solidifies or you'll experience problem #1 unless you're quick about it.
3) Keep the paper towels from hanging over the side of roaster pan, the wax will otherwise wick over the side making a mess in your melter.
4) That little bit of water in the Tupperware-type collection pan makes a pretty smooth block and allows easier block removal.
5) Frequently one pass renders clean wax, two passes give you perfect wax, even with old brood wax.
6) Use white full-sized sheet paper towels, the half-sheets seem to tear allowing debris to bypass into the collection container.
7) Paper towel "filters" best removed while solar collector is still hot.
8) Strap or tie the window frame to the Styrofoam box. The wind can blow it off, hence don't use the brick trick = broken glass.
9) Black spray paint melts Styrofoam.
10) Washed wax, squeezed into softball size balls melt much slower than the layer of unwashed wax that remains after filtering. So washing and compressing isn't really necessary.
11) Post-process paper towel filters are great fire starters! I fold them up and collect them in large baggies for later use.
12) Don't leave baggie full of used paper towels in the sun unless you want a big wax-paper towel log for a fire starter!

This years plan is to make a Styrofoam insulated box. Paint the inside black. Hinge the window to the box. Put it on legs to raise it to a height to avoid too much bending over. I don't think I'm getting older, but my back disagrees!

Hope this helps,
Steve
 

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One trick I read about years ago, and have used, is old nylon stockings or panty hose. I'd take the drained cappings and old comb, stuff them into the legs of old hose, tie the tops off, then hose them down with a garden hose. If there was much honey and junk remaining, I'd soak them in a wash tub for a day or so, then hang them up to drip dry. Then I'd put the hose containing the wax in the solar wax melter. Got real nice cakes, with minimum slumgum on the bottom.

This year I'm going to a cappings spinner, so that will change my operation somewhat. But for a smaller operation, this might help you.
If you dump straight into a solar wax melter, you might line the supporting screen with filter material, to catch the debris before it gets to the wax cake mold.
Regards,
Steven
 

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The key to a "cappings melter" for rendering cappings is water and the settling time. These are key because boiling water in the process will remove any and all honey from the wax. The settling time allows the layers to develope so that the wax is pure and does not need to be rendered again.
I process my cappings once. When the block is solid all i have to scrape off is a bit of pollen dust and hard water film. No bees, no wings, no propolis. It is ready to be melted and make candles.

Cappings melter




These pics are a single rendering from cappings to block. The whitish dust in the last two pics are a combination of the hard water that the at the bottom of the wax when cooling and small amounts of pollen. This wax after a single rendering is ready for candles



 

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Let me add that the Maxant melter listed previously works really well if you place your wax in a 5 gal metal bucket and put in the melter. Once melted, as others have stated, the nylon filter cloth used to strain honey removes much of the debris.
 

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Yup...I'd be interested in watching that video as well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys!!

I have learned form your answers greatly. One thing I learned is I wish I hadnt bought a cappings melter! I had the wrong idea about waht is does.

The most important thing, learned here, is that this is the best pleace for info!

I do have one last question. If I boil wax in water, let it settle, then ladle off the wax to pour into molds, what happens if I get some water in the mix in my molds? How can I tell when dipping it out that I am not in the water and just getting the molten wax?

Again THANKS!
 

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Honeyshack, those blocks of wax are a thing of beauty! Nice post.

Kyfarmer, that should work fine if you have a large ratio of wax to water. Once you're near the wax/water interface, quit there. If you want, you can just let the remaining wax cool and separate the block from the water for another project or start a whole new batch. If you get water in candle wax, their very noisy as they burn and the flame hits the little water pockets trapped in the wax. The kids think it's cool, but I prefer hearing the snap-crackle-pop from my cereal, not my candles!

Have fun,
Steve
 

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I don't ladle it off. I boil heavily and then let it cool until it turns into a hard block. The block floats on the water. I pull the block off and scrape the underside of it where very fine particles of gunk stuck to the wax and didn't stay in the water. When I'm ready to use the wax, I melt the block again. I rarely...if ever....get water in the wax that way.
 

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Wow! A great thread and I learned a few more tricks, thanks! One thing I see here is that we are all looking for a good process to recycle that wonderful wax, whether we are big or small. Take care and have fun
 

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I would be in the small class

After my cappings drain in the uncapping tank I fill the cappings melter and set the temp for about 100 and let a lot of the remaining honey drain out, after about 24 hours I carank up the heat to about 150 or so and let the wax go into a bucket with some water on the bottom them after it cools I drain the "melter" honey off and wash the wax block the put it in my "Prest-O-pot" and pour it through a greese filter into about 2 pound blocks for later use.


I luve my "Prest-O-Pot" it also has water in the bottom so the was is pourded off from above the water.

now theres another 2¢
 

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homemade dipping tank



Here is a view from the bottom. The top third of the barrel was cut and used as a base. Then the 3/4" plywood is the base, or table top. The heating element is a hot water tank element and thermostat. Bricks are inside the tank to raise the pepsi tanks up. The barrel is full of water and the tanks sit inside


Top of dipping tank. The lid is a 3/4" piece of plywood cut to fit, and then holes are cut for the pepsi tank inserts. Pie plates work well as lids



here is a pic of the dipping tank. It is an old pepsi/coke fountain tank.
 

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I would recommend this product if you are filling many molds. If you are doing a few candles, too expensive. But if your candle sales out grow the presto pot or double boilers on the stove, this might be an alternative. You have to justify the cost. Me, the justifcation came with the volume of candle sales, and the fact, I need to remove most fire starting threats. i have been know to have an accident or two. The need for safety out weighed the need for cheap...lol
 

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okay Here is a link to the you tube site where the video is posted. I have a loud voice that carries, you might want to turn down the volume a bit. I edited it down, sorry if it is a bit disjointed. Things i learned after the video was made, full rolling boil for a couple of minute, will make the wax clearer than just melting it. Seems to separate out really clean.

http://www.youtube.com/user/thehoneyshack


Warning...i talk alot and talk with my hands...:rolleyes:
 
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