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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How to Use the Wax Tube Fastener

You will remember how upset and confused I have been with the wax tube fastener. Michael Bush says to melt the wax in a tin can so that the wax tube fastener has the advantage of having wax higher into the tube. I don't use much canned food, but made a three bean salad from Gourmet magazine the other day and saved the black bean can just for this purpose. Here you see the tin can which is full of melted beeswax, the wax tube fastener in the can, and a Coca Cola can (after all I DO live in Atlanta) being used to keep the tin can upright. You can see the blue of the gas flame below the pot as the wax is melting.


















After my problem with Proteus, I am left with the dilemma of not wanting this to happen in Mellona. Michael Bush who will know how I should handle this rarely posts on Beemaster on Tuesday nights, so I am left to my own resources to try to address this issue. I decided to remove three frames from Mellona and give them more help about how to build comb, so I cut a piece of small cell foundation into thirds and inserted it in the bottom groove of these three frames.

Why didn't I use a whole sheet, you are wondering? Well, I had already waxed in a 3/4 inch starter strip in the top groove and was in a huge hurry because I had to go back to work and it was supposed to rain tonight so I had to get this done quickly. I set the frames at a slant in a roasting pan lined with waxed paper.

The slant is for two reasons:
1. The frame is larger than the pan!
and
2. Gravity will cause my bead of wax from the wax tube fastener to roll downhill and thus operate more efficiently.


















Here I have removed the wax tube fastener from the tin can, keeping my index finger over the hole in the black handle.

















I release my finger and the wax glues the strip into place.

















I did find this rather inefficient using only one WTF. It takes a while for the WTF to reheat in the tin can and fill back up again. Maybe repairing my second one so that one can be filling in the tin can all the time is the answer. And there's no obvious way to clean the WTF, although since all it is used is for this purpose, then letting wax harden in it after use may be just fine.

I'm going to give the wax tube fastener another chance, but I think I just threw away $6.50 because I'm not finding it easy or efficient to use. People on Beemaster suggest opening the hole at the tip of the fastener a little wider, making a slightly larger hole in the wood handle and securing the wood handle with a screw to the metal tube....so clearly others have tried to improve on this product -

Or maybe I'll go back to my bread pan method, which I really liked!
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