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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 Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Friday, June 22, 2007

Lessons being learned from Experience with the Solar Wax Melter


Today was my fourth experience with the solar wax melter, so I wanted to share what I have learned from my experience so far.

As the first picture illustrates, as the wax is filtering through the paper towel, it also wicks throughout the paper towel. At the end of the day, the paper towel is impregnated with wax.

I'll use that paper towel to start my smoker, but it also makes it stiff and a little hard to remove. I tear out the center brown cooked waste and put the edges in my baggie full of smoker starter stuff.

Also as the wax wicks into the paper towel, some of it drips outside of the Tupperware onto the floor of the solar wax melter. I line the floor of the styrofoam box with aluminum foil. You can see the wax that ends up on the floor on the aluminum foil in the picture. When it has cooled it is easy to pull it up.

Last lesson: The two days when the wax came out the prettiest, I left the solar wax melter on the sidewalk until after sunset. Today I carried it into the house and set it on the counter while everything was still quite hot. As a result, some of the wax swished up onto the sides of the plastic container. I'll leave that wax in the container and tomorrow it can melt into the block that floats on the water.

After three wax collections, I have 15.4 ounces of gorgeous yellow wax. I'll add the proceeds of today's melting when it has cooled. I still have enough cappings to do another round tomorrow (not to mention the two gallon bags of wax cappings in the freezer from last year).
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2 comments:

  1. Karen in Quebec10:04 AM

    Thank you so much for posting your experiences with the wax melter. I have a lot of scrap wood to use to make one of the fancier varieties, but after seeing your low-tech version, I like yours better. I live in Canada. We get 80 degree temperature sometimes, but perhaps not as often as I need for this method of melting wax, especially since I purchased from a retired beekeeper all his old frames still filled with wax (I won't be reusing the frames--I just want the wax and then I'll burn the old frames). As I read the posts, I suddenly realized I have another method to use in the winter. I have a heating lamp used for incubation. It's attached to a thermostat and it's on a board that sits on top of any suitable container. There's no reason I can't melt wax in the winter with this device.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience. I just bought my first hive six days ago. :-)

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  2. I think I'll merge your tinfoil bottom with the black painted interior sides. With that setup and a plexi glass top it worked for me in mid 70s.

    Rob

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