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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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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Pouring a block of wax

I've had such lovely wax from my solar wax melter that I decided to try to pour a block of wax to enter in the Metro Atlanta Beekeeper's competition in September. The rules for the competition state that a wax block should be 1 - 2 inches thick - not more than 2 - and weigh 2 pounds or more. I had 48 ounces of gorgeous beeswax to melt.

I melted the wax in the double boiler that I recently purchased on EBay....not exactly. I won the auction for two different double boilers on EBay for this purpose, but when they arrived both were so much better than my old double boiler that I designated it the wax double boiler.

In reading about wax blocks for competition, I found out that it is easy for a block this size to crack. The challenge is to make the block cool into a solid block with no cracks. I found two pages describing getting a wax block ready for a contest. One is here and the other is here.


Both articles cited above say to put the mold for the wax block into a hot water bath so that it can cool really gradually. I wiped the inside of the pan mold with soap soaked into a paper towel. I set the pan in the large roasting pan that I use for harvesting honey and poured water that was about 170 degrees around the pan. In this shot you can see the clear wax in its pan with the edges beginning to solidify.
In this picture you can see that the top is beginning to solidify. "No vibrations," is a prerequisite of not cracking the block so I tiptoed around the kitchen. In the above picture, you can see the wavy pattern on top of the pan. Hope that doesn't mean something vibrated!


In this last shot, the water is cool to the touch and the wax is getting harder. If you double click on the picture above, you can clearly see that there is hardening around the edges, but not in the center. I'll wait until some time tomorrow to take it out of the mold.
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