Author Topic: Best way to process beeswax  (Read 1005 times)

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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Best way to process beeswax
« on: January 12, 2018, 01:31:20 am »
There's lots of information on the web showing different techniques to process beeswax. Most of which, are more suitable for hobbyists with smaller amounts of beeswax. Currently, I have about ten 27 litres full of unprocessed beeswax. I'm not sure if I should build or purchase a solar melter, or just get a large pot and use a double boiler method. Some articles suggest to put the wax in some cheese cloth, then squeeze out any of the gunk with some tongs. Some suggest to simply use paint strainers or paper towels to filter it.

What works well and what doesn't work well?

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 06:05:41 am »
After melting, I found that pouring the wax through old sweatshirts does an excellent job. 

Offline CBT

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 07:39:30 am »
Whatever you use to melt it in will be your dedicated vessel cause it is very hard to clean.

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 09:23:46 am »
I like solar wax melters. You can buy one, or build it yourself. They aren’t hard to make. I use the wife’s old, but clean, hose for a filter. Just stuff the frame into the leg.
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Offline Barbarian

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2018, 01:10:23 am »
I have been reclaiming beeswax for several years.
The income from selling the wax does not cover the costs of artificially melting the comb or buying in melters.
I use a couple of DIY solar melters.
With the melters, I can produce gunk-free variable colour blocks. These are sold at agricultural shows, BK auctions, BK conferences or traded in for foundation.
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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 06:31:46 pm »
So it seems best for me to build a solar wax melter. I found this design:

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

I'm wondering if people have any experience or ideas on how to go about building a melter cheaply and effectively. I'm not so good at construction so with that plan, the hinges, the glass panel and the metal pan I'm rather unsure about. I have some glass panels from old car windows that I could use, if only I could find some metal for it to then sit on top of and work out a way of sealing it.

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2018, 08:43:28 am »
I’ve also heard of people using an old ice chest as a wax melter. Replace the lid with plexiglass and prop one end on a brick.  Paint the outside black, if necessary.
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Offline Barbarian

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2018, 10:38:42 am »
My latest melter is made from material salvaged from builders skips and the local metal scrapyard.

The casing is cut to size pieces of dense plastic foam building blocks (Kingspan, Celotex .....)
The metal tray came from a large oven at the scrapyard.
The cover is 4mm clear acrylic sheet (scrap secondary double glazing)
I don't bother with hinges. The sheet lies on the casing and is held tight with a loop of washing washing line.

Works OK for me.
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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2018, 05:26:26 pm »
I've found a metal old ice chest, that seems like it'd work well I'm seeing if he'll trade it for some honey. Otherwise, most ice chests are made out of plastic and I'm not sure how much heat they'd retain.

I can buy plexiglass for pretty cheap on ebay.


Sounds great Barbarian I did think about going to salvage yards. I'm not sure though, what's a loop of washing washing line?

Offline Barbarian

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2018, 05:48:59 pm »
Omni

More questions and thoughts.

What are the dimensions of the metal and plastic ice chests ?

The metal chest will benefit from plastic foam insulation. Try to reduce the internal depth of the box. You don't want to be heating a large void air space.
Take care with plastics in the box. Some plastics will distort in sunny weather.

I rest my acrylic sheet on the side, top and bottom foams,

I pass the line/rope under the box, up the sides and across the acrylic. A slip knot tightens the line and makes a good seal.
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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2018, 11:09:50 pm »
He already sold the metal icechest. It looked great, didn't have much empty space. All the other ice chests that I've seen don't have good dimensions about themselves. Not long enough, to high up. I feel as if the icechests aren't the way to go, that I should just get some scrap metal and make a box out of it.

I'm really unsure what this line is that you're referring to.

Offline Barbarian

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2018, 06:06:15 am »
The line is a three strand twisted nylon rope.
We have two lengths strung across the back garden. SWMBO pegs our clothes wash on it to dry. In time, it breaks due to sunlight degrading the fibres.
I use the spare or surplus end in place of straps around my hives.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2018, 09:00:45 am »
My latest melter is made from material salvaged from builders skips and the local metal scrapyard.

The casing is cut to size pieces of dense plastic foam building blocks (Kingspan, Celotex .....)
The metal tray came from a large oven at the scrapyard.
The cover is 4mm clear acrylic sheet (scrap secondary double glazing)
I don't bother with hinges. The sheet lies on the casing and is held tight with a loop of washing washing line.

Works OK for me.
Barbarian, can you post a picture?  Sounds interesting.

Offline Barbarian

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2018, 05:06:03 am »
Beekeeper and melter are hibernating.     Will post photo when I can.
" Another Owd Codger "

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2018, 02:38:43 pm »
Beekeeper and melter are hibernating.     Will post photo when I can.

 :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2018, 04:00:41 pm »
Beekeeper and melter are hibernating.     Will post photo when I can.
OK!  I will let you hiberate.

Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2018, 09:24:43 pm »
I ended up building a solar wax melter out of an electric frying pan.

https://imgur.com/a/f3Baq

It's been rather warm lately, temperature has been around 35-40 c / 95-104 f. It's been sitting out there for about 10 days and yet little has came out. Are they usually this slow? I have a lot of wax to process, and I've only got a few more months of heat left so at this rate I won't be able to process enough of it.

I haven't replaced the paper towel filter yet. It's gotten really uh, gunky and wax stained I guess. Could it be blocked? How often are you meant to replace these?

I figure I'll build something larger out of flexiglass and scrap metal, the frying pan was a temporary solution and experiment. It just seems that the really gunky, dark stuff in there won't break down. Is dark, brood filled capped harder to melt into wax? Does it just take a long time to melt down beeswax? Any suggestions as to how to proceed?

Offline apisbees

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Re: Best way to process beeswax
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2018, 01:28:34 pm »
When you cut the hole in the bottom of the frying pan this will let the solar heat gain out also. so the bigger you cut the hole the less heat built up inside.
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