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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Using the Solar Wax Melter

Large combs like the brood combs I rendered in the stew pot can't be easily put in my solar wax melter. The solar wax melter works best with clumps of wax from a honey harvest that is tender and malleable. The wax that I rendered is discolored, not tender, and doesn't smell sweet like wax from a harvest.

I took the cylinder of wax and broke it up today to melt in the solar wax melter. I thought it would filter more of the impurities out than the flannel pillow case did. I ended up with two stacks of wax pieces and put them in my two solar wax melter styrofoam boxes.

I set the two solar wax melters on my front walk in the full sun and left for work.

This is the wax under the glass, stacked to melt and filter through the paper towel.

At the end of the day, the slum gum was burned into the paper towel filter and wax was floating on the water's surface in the Tupperware container.

Removing the paper towel, I found cleaner wax that was still darker than the wax cappings that I usually use or the honey-filled honey comb that I use after harvest.

Here's the wax popped out of the Tupperware.  The sad part is that it doesn't smell nice like most of my solar wax melted wax does.  However, I have a horrible summer cold, so maybe I'm just not smelling as well as usual.

It bleaches out a little every time it is in the solar wax melter and in addition, more impurities will filter out.  I'm inclined to put these pieces back in the solar wax melter tomorrow.

After a second trip through the solar wax melter, the wax isn't much lighter, so I'll probably stop fooling with it.  This is now a disk about an inch thick, including both of the other wax pieces from yesterday's melting.

The peeled wax pieces at the upper left are the result of wax melting and dripping off of the paper towel filter onto the aluminum foil below.  In addition to helping with the interior heat, the aluminum foil offers an easy way to peel up wax that does this.

I haven't rendered wax from brood combs before.  I imagine it is always darker in the end than wax from a crush and strain honey harvest.

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  1. Linda you should definitely paint the inside of the coolers black. It helps to speed up the melting.

  2. Whizbo10:13 AM

    If you paint the inside, make sure to use a water based paint. The Cooler will melt if any solvents hit it. Rattle can paint definitely won't work.

  3. It's probably a good idea for the inside to be black but I have no problem with its efficiency as it is - I fill it; leave for work; return at the end of the day and everything is melted....so I don't need it to go any faster, although if I did, I would paint the inside. Using aluminum foil on the inside appears to help with the heat, and I do do that.

  4. Actually, it's pretty amazing how nice the wax looks, considering what you started with.

    We do Ukrainian Easter Eggs, and use bees' wax as a sort of batik resist. Nice, clean wax is almost too transparent to be useful, and so the people who sell the tools for this craft sell darkened wax. I'll bet that your strained brood wax would be perfect!


  5. hi Linda! I've tried to render wax for the first time. After freezing, washing multiple times and drying, I melted the wax in a small CrockPot I bought just for wax. When it was melted, I strained the liquid through an old T-shirt and poured the clear liquid into plastic containers to use as molds. Most the the wax has solidified after 3 days, but there is still some liquid in the bottom. Is this normal or did I do something wrong? Thanks for all your help.

  6. Jane, Since wax is only liquid when it is 125 F or higher, the liquid is not wax. I think maybe you need to add a step to your process to get rid of what is probably water. Let your first step be to put the wax into hot water in your crock pot and let it melt in the water. Then turn the crock pot off and let it cool. The wax will solidify on top of the water. Then you can take the solid wax out, dry out the crock pot, put the wax block into the crock pot and melt it - this time with no water, only the wax block. Then filter the liquid wax and pour it into the molds. Once in a mold, wax cools rather quickly and is fully hardened in a short time (minutes/hour--not days).

  7. Thank you so much, Linda! I've got another batch to process & I'll do as you suggest. The wax smells so sweet! :)

  8. Linda, just a note to let you know your suggestion to first put the wax in hot water in the crock pot worked beautifully! I am hoping to create encaustic paint for my art. As always, you are my Virtual Mentor! Thank you again for all you do for the bees and for those of us who love them.


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