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I just acquired some old brood frames full of dark comb. I was planning to remove the old comb and render the wax. The frames have plastic foundation installed, upon which the comb was built. I have no experience with plastic foundation -- having used only wax foundation in my own frames in the past. I started scraping the comb off the plastic foundation, and it came off most frames without too much issue -- leaving behind a very short (maybe 1/8") "starter hex" pattern. But on two frames, instead of leaving that little "starter cell" at the bottom, there was nothing. The comb actually "split" from the foundation in large sheets (rather than just the width of my hive tool, as I scraped). This left a completely flat sheet of plastic looking stuff -- no hex pattern stamped on it at all, just clear smooth plastic. Strangest of all, on the bottom of the sheets of comb has this kind of shiny look to it. Doesn't look like beeswax, but I don't think it is plastic either. But I'm worried that the plastic foundation kind of delaminated somehow. If any of you are familiar with this kind of foundation and know what I'm talking about, I sure would appreciate knowing if it really IS wax (but just looks strange because it is so smooth) or if it is a part of the plastic foundation.

Also ... any thoughts about whether or not I should go ahead and throw it in with the other combs, anyway? If it is wax then obviously there is no issue. But if it is plastic then do you think it will melt in the near-boiling water and then get into the beeswax? Or would the plastic have a higher melting point and therefore stay intact and consequently would be captured by my straining (I'm melting the combs inside old pantyhose in a big pot of water).

Thanks,
Adam
 

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Sounds like you are describing what is called, "duragilt". It is not a "plastic foundation", but a film of plastic, sandwiched between two sheets of beeswax, which are then embossed with a honeycomb base pattern, a foundation.
 

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Thanks Joseph. I just did some Googling on duragilt, and yes it sounds like that is exactly what it is (also explains why there were some "bare spots" on those frames, where the underlying plastic shone through and the bees wouldn't build on it). But the bottom line for me is that everything I pulled off is wax and I can melt it all down.

Thanks for the help!
Adam
 
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