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Discussion Starter #1
We ran out of frames and foundation this week and rather than just order more, thought it would be a good idea to finally extract some honey. I pulled 4 and a half full supers from my 9 hives, and decided to go the squish route rather than extracting, despite owning a small extractor. I believe the bees are better off making new comb each year, and besides, we want wax for candles just as much as we want honey.
This evening I crushed 2 supers full of frames through a double screen sieve and 3 gallon bucket setup with honey gate, and am wondering now, how others do this. Crushing combs makes a big mixed mess that takes quite awhile to screen out through the filter. So it's quite a waiting game. Short of buying a bunch more sieves and buckets, what are others doing short of heating the conglomeration to melt the wax? This honey is really quite light in color and very good, I refuse to apply heat and affect the taste, at least for that honey that will be bottled. Is there a press of some kind that would speed this up and make it easier?

Thanks as always for any insight!


[This message has been edited by Bill_newbee (edited June 26, 2004).]
 

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In at lest one of the bee catalogs, there was someone who sells what thay call a 'capings spinner' Goes in your extractor, dump your capings in, and give it a bit of a spin. Probly works pretty good. If you got the money for it, give a looksee through your catalogs and see if you can find it. I don't remember wich catalog exactly it was, or I would just tell you straight up.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hmm, maybe putting the stuff into some of those nylon laundry bags, then putting that into the extractor somehow. Just thinking out loud...I will take a look at the catalogs to see what they offer. Thanks
 

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Allen Latham described this type of gravity extracting method in his _Bee Book_:

Build a simple square frame of wood to fit over the top of your honey barrel/bucket. Staple or tack 1/2" mesh hardware cloth over this frame. Next, hang a piece of strong mesh strainer cloth down into the container (paint strainer works well for a 5-gal. bucket) so it is hanging down about halfway, securing it around the rim by tying or with clips.

Set the frame/screen over the top of the barrel. Now you're ready to "extract."

Lay one of your cut-out combs of honey on the screen. Then, using a wooden paddle or piece of wood, just mash the comb down through the hardware cloth. It doesn't take much effort.

The screen ruptures all of the cells and the honey/comb mix falls down onto the strainer cloth. The honey will drain from the wax over the next several hours. You can speed this up by setting the whole thing inside a car on a warm day. (Just don't sticky up your interior!) I would give it a couple days, anyway, in a warm, dry place with no bee access.

The honey will be as good as extracted. The actual mashing part goes very quickly once you get the hang of it. Compared to uncapping and extracting, it doesn't take long.

Once everything drains, you can remove the strainer with the dry wax and skim any froth off the surface of the honey, and then you're done.

For a larger operation, you could devise a simple metal screen basket of fine mesh to take the place of the cloth strainer.

This idea has worked well for me, for extracting honey from comb-honey combs that were not ideal enough to sell as cut-comb, for unfinished round section combs, or those from top-bar hive supers. I hope someone else might find it useful as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
JWG, I like that idea, it will reduce the effort considerably. I would likely make a few of these to allow a large "extraction" at one time. Today I could have had 5 or more buckets going probably at one time, and could have reduced a 10 hour job to 2 or 3 probably. I like the hydraulic press too, and have the materials lying around to make one but the former method looks simpler and easier to implement.
Thanks as always
 

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Yes, I used to have a few of the setups going at once. Nice, because it doesn't require a lot of effort.

Note: If you leave a 1/4" of the comb along the top bar when you cut it out, the bees can build off the remnant. No need to re-fit with foundation or starter.

The resulting combs are likely to have a lot of drone-size cells, but they will be fine for honey storage. Just _don't_ set a super of these frames right over the brood nest w/o an excluder or intervening super of honey. Otherwise the queen is apt to go up and eagerly fill the cells with drone brood.



[This message has been edited by JWG (edited June 27, 2004).]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks , I never would have thought of that. Maybe I will get a chance this year yet to try a new method of extracting, there is still a lot of stuff blooming in our area. Thanks again to all of you who make this endeavor so much more easy and fun.
 

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This is how I press honey from cappings and from comb. 1) Make a rectangular frame out of 2x4. 2) Mount on the inside of the frame a strong hook at opposite ends of the frame. 3) Make a cloth bag with loops on each end and a hole in the middle small enough for a small steel pipe. 4) Now fill the bag with cappings or comb and attach it like a hammock to the hooks. Insert the steel pipe through the hole in the middle of the bag and twist like a tourniquet. There are variations on how to wring the bag out but this is the easiest to make. The honey comes out filter and most of the honey is pressed out of the wax.

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[This message has been edited by magnet-man (edited July 10, 2004).]
 
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