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I was wondering if there was an alternative way to melt cappings rather than using a solar melter? I know there are plans on making solar melters but I am not the handiest person and I do lack the "put this together with this" concept.

I was wondering if there were any alternative ways to melt cappings and render out the wax

or a place that I can buy a wax melter.
 

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I was not impressed with my solar melter. HHB suggests they do not recover wax that well. So I started with using a double boiler. Took a while to get it too melt. Used a little bit of water in the mix. Most of it got run through my honey filter (the double metal screen that fits over a bucket) to filter things out. It worked great for the first batch but things went a lot slower on the second, either from cooler air temp or too much residual wax and slumgum slowing things down. First wax looked good. Second batch was darker, might have been some of the wax I started with. SOme of the wax got left in the double boiler and with some scraping came out fairly clean also.

In order to be used for candles, it would need to be heated and filtered once more, but it cleaned up 5 years worth of fax pretty well.
 

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I only have 6 hives so I don't have much wax to melt. I wash and save all the large glass pickle jars when we're done with them. Then I put 3 layers of window screen (fiberglass or metal) over the opening and tie it around the rim with a wire. I push it down into the jar about 3" first so it will hold a little wax. Then I fill the jar with about 1" of water and put as many wax cappings as I can into the top. I set it in the over and turn it to about 200 until it's melted. Then I put more wax in and repeat until I'm done. I just turn the oven off and leave it overnight. All the trash should drop to the bottom and be left in the water. In the morning I put the jar in a brown paper bag and give it a good wack on the concrete to break the jar. Then I remove the hocky puck of wax and throw the bag away. Very crude method but very cheap. Just using what I have around the house as most beekeepers do.
 

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Please don't put wax in the oven. It melts easily enough with other methods. Put the wax in a womans stocking and rinse in cold water. Put the whole stocking in a water bath. When it melts remove the stocking and the crap it contains. Wax cools on top of the water.

Heres a caution. If you heat wax in a pot and for some reason have to stop the wax hardens. If you then put that pot on the stove to heat it, guess what happens.? It explodes! Wax begins to liquify next to the heat but is capped in by what's above it. Pressure builds and you are redoing the cieling.

Dickm
 

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Dick,

Thanks for the tip.... sounds like someone learned this from experience. I would have never thought about that happening.
You may have just saved my marriage!
Thank you.

Mike

Dick wrote: "Heres a caution. If you heat wax in a pot and for some reason have to stop the wax hardens. If you then put that pot on the stove to heat it, guess what happens.? It explodes! Wax begins to liquify next to the heat but is capped in by what's above it. Pressure builds and you are redoing the cieling."
 

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Put the wax in a womans stocking and rinse in cold water.
You may have just saved my marriage!
Didn't do much for my marriage.

dickm, you gotta realize that some of us are a little s-l-o-w, and literalists to boot. When giving us directions, you need to specify exactly where those stockings must be (and more importantly where they MUSTN'T be) before ya start stuffing 'em with wax. She's a pretty good sport, but she also packs a wicked left hook...
 

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Does anyone consider the current cost of energy when using gas, weather bottled or pipelined, as fuel, or, electric power to heat anything? In any case the fuel cost is passed on to the consumer.

THE ENERGY IS NOT CHEAP ANYMORE!!!!

Making solar powered wax melters attractive. The point being that for melting wax, using purchased energy, the return may be so little versus the cost of energy that melting wax would be not worth while in small amounts.
I really dunno about melting bees wax per se, having not yet done it, but I do read, and, pay my utility bills, wondering how I could be charged so much for seemingly so little usage.

Talk about sticka shok!!! :(
 

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Get one of those square pans you would make a cake in. Place screen wire over the top of it and place your wax over that. Then place an aquarium up-side down in direct sun. Works fairly well. I have noticed direct sun on wax melts it faster than wax inside a black metal pot with a lid on it.
 

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I've been using a crock pot to melt wax in this fall. After melting I strain it through an old sweat shirt into a loaf pan. I do this outside, so my wax melting is over for the winter.
 

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Coyote,
You made me laugh out loud. OK fellas . Remove the stocking carefully. Take to another room. Look back. Change your mind and say "to hell with wax today."

I learned the stocking thing at a workshop attended mostly by women. I noted that I'd have to go incognito to purchase stockings as I was unmarried. Someone suggested that I ask some of the ladies to save their old stockings for me. I replied that many of the group were already looking at me in a funny way. I better pass.

Dickm
 

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Chef Issac,
>>>>> use a double boiler and not a direct pot on the stove? <<<<<

You betcha. I think wax melts in the 140s. If you heat it like it was a pot of beans it could catch fire easily. The double boiler could be a coffee can in a larger pot of water. I think it's better to dedicate 1 pot to wax than to try to get it clean. Not aluminum or iron. I'm actually looking for an old crock pot at flea markets.

Dickm
 

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I honestly have never worked with beeswax...yet. But all one really has to do is some basic chemistry to find out...First I looked up the MSDS sheet on beeswax.

Freezing/melting point =144-149 degrees f.

Flash point (the minimum tempature at which something gives off enough gasses to "flash" or catch fire) is 470 f.

Auto ingition temp 520 f.

Specific Gravity is .95

and insoluable in water.

Water boils at 212 f. and holds this temp unless under pressure

So...
a double boiler will work fine and if used correctly it would be impossable for the wax to catch fire.

Or...
you could put the wax in a pot add water and raise the temp until all the wax has melted. It should rise to the top and when the whole batch has cooled it should form a solid on the top of the water. If the MSDS is correct, and it should be as is regulated by federal government (huh, is that saying much?).
 

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One can learn a lot by reading. I wouldn't believe all of it though. The conclusion that wax is safe below 400% is erroneous, I think. It doesn't need to flash to burn. Liquid wax will ignite easily. It's good in candles. I haven't worked with it all that much but I know it has danger.

Dickm
 

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Just be careful. Flashpoints are one thing; open flames, electric range elements, spills, popping water, etc are another.

"Beekeeper Burns Own House Down" is a lousy headline, and you risk having a picture of yourself watching it published in yer local newsrag. Probably wouldn't hurt to have fire extinguisher handy whenever you work with hot wax in the house. (I'm not paranoid, oil and natural gas well fires give ya a distinct respect for spewing flammables)
 

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First, Liquids don’t burn, only gasses burn. Liquid gasoline does not burn unless it is above its flash point... which is something like -50f. or something like that. So it will burn readily at ambient (normal indoor/outdoor) temperatures. If its below that temp you can toss a match on it and it will go out (very much like diesel at ambient tempters. Diesel does not give off enough vapors to ignite (its flash point) until its in the range of 145f (+ or - 15f as I am going by memory). That is one reason a diesel engine must have its plugs warm before it will start.

Think of wax as diesel with a different temperature range. it’s a solid until 144-149f and does not give off vapors. From 149 to 489f it gives off progressively more vapors, however not enough to sustain combustion until 490f at which point when exposed to a ignition source it will flash and free burn (self-sustained combustion). If not exposed to a ignition source and the temperature continues to rise to 520f the product will spontaneously combust into flames and continue to free burn.

Since beeswax is a flammable substance with three states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) like gasoline, diesel, hydrogen, fryer oil at McDonalds, it could, in theory, be used in an internal combustion engine. IF the temperature settings where set correctly. Now I digress

SO, back to the double boiler. Using water H2O as the boiling liquid. It reaches its boiling point at 212f and there until all the liquid is consumed into vapors (Steam) the Vapors are 212f and not a single degree higher. Beeswax gives off enough vapors to sustain combustion at 490f, anything under this is NOT enough to ignite, flash, puff or even fart. You could probably toss a match in the melted wax with the water boiling under it and it will go out. Haven’t tried it but I believe the proven science behind it.

Did I say it was safe? Nope, of course its dangerous…its hot, you could get burned. The product has an MSDS so the government has decided it was dangerous enough to classify. But, you can melt beeswax in a double boiler EVEN OVER AN OPEN FLAME gas stove with no threat of combustion.

To answer the Candle bit.

A candle is wax in a totally different environment it is a stick or log of beeswax with a readily flammable solid stuck in it…the wick. The Wick is made of ?? Cotton probably and has a very low ignition point and ignites readily when exposed to a flame source… a match.
The burning wick heats the wax above 149f and it melts, now it is a small pool of liquid under the flame provided by the wick. It climbs in temperature from 149f to 489f as it is drawn up the hot wick and into the flame where it reaches 469f and ignites propitiating the flame….sustained combustion. This process can be called a simple form of PYROLISIS. All substances that are combustible must go thru the stages of pyrolisis to burn
Take a match, light it and stick it head first into the pool of wax under the wick/flame. It goes out. Why? The liquid wax is not giving off enough vapors to sustain combustion. Simple.
Add water to the wick. It goes out, why? It didn’t smother it, it didn’t remove the fuel, it didn’t stop the chemical process that causes fire…it dropped the temperature to about 212 or lower (depending on the amount of water) which is below the point where beeswax cannot sustain combustion and the flame went out.
Again, yes you can melt beeswax with a double boiler using water as a buffer product even over a open flame with firm knowledge it will not burst into flames and singe your eyebrows. I suggest you wear oven mitts because yes its hot and can burn you. (your flesh begins to go thru the phases of pyrolisis)

Recap
“I wouldn't believe all of it though. The conclusion that wax is safe below 400% is erroneous, I think.”
--um, I never said that

It doesn't need to flash to burn.
--It needs to reach its flashpoint to burn, so um…yes.

“Liquid wax will ignite easily”

--As long as its >489f, sure I agree with that.

“It's good in candles”

--It’s great in candles.

“I haven't worked with it all that much but I know it has danger”

--I haven’t worked with it at all. But I guarantee everything I said above is true.

[ December 02, 2005, 11:41 AM: Message edited by: Irsqu911 ]
 

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....--I haven’t worked with it at all. But I guarantee everything I said above is true.
Well there ya have it. A great post with the information and science behind it. That's what makes this board the best. Thanks.
 
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