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Melting wax
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BahamaMama



Joined: 21 Sep 2006
Posts: 2315
Location: Away with the fairies
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 15 11:56 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

I had the same issue with my dark comb - I went to TKMaxx and bought a really cheap sieve so physically remove the lumps, that was a real help.

I am intrigued by the lemon juice - why do you add that?

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8405
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 15 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you are melting old brood combs put them in a cloth bag tied up & submerge in hot water weigh them down with something non ferrous. The melted wax will come through the cloth & what remains can be left to set & used as fire lighters. The wax that collects on the surface when cooled will still be pretty brown but won't have any larger impurities (dead bees, cocoon cases etc).

Cathryn



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 19830
Location: Ceredigion
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 15 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I am following Dave Cushman's recipe, the water has to be acidic apparently. I just do what I'm told.

Thanks Tav. I'll try that. I don't mind the colour, although I have left the nice new pale stuff to do separately, it's all from the topbar.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8910

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 15 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What you may have is, as Tavascarow says, mainly cocoon cases. If I can, I do my first melt through a solar extractor, putting an opened coffee filter over the mesh. This gives moderately clean wax.

As far as the water is concerned, I think it has to be soft rather than actually acidic, so clean defrost water from the fridge or clean rain water is better than acidified hard water. The calcium can stop the wax being shiny if you want to buff it for candles etc. A matter of taste for candles.

Cathryn



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 19830
Location: Ceredigion
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 15 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Useful information, I better understand now, thank you and I will skip the lemon juice as our spring water should be fine.

joanne



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 7086
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 15 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Another thumbs up here with the bag thing, although I just use a pair of cheap tights as they work just as well.

You've reminded me that I've got a load of old comb that I need to do this with in a hive that's not being used at the moment.

I've also got a shed load of cleaned wax that needs making into something

BahamaMama



Joined: 21 Sep 2006
Posts: 2315
Location: Away with the fairies
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 15 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

joanne wrote:
Another thumbs up here with the bag thing, although I just use a pair of cheap tights as they work just as well.

You've reminded me that I've got a load of old comb that I need to do this with in a hive that's not being used at the moment.

I've also got a shed load of cleaned wax that needs making into something


So... more questions

Do you just bung the dirty comb into the tights, then dunk the tights into the hot water to melt down and all the gunk gets left behind?

What does everyone do with their wax? This is our first year of having hive products other than honey and we are a bit overwhelmed by it all!

joanne



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 7086
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 15 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

BahamaMama wrote:
joanne wrote:
Another thumbs up here with the bag thing, although I just use a pair of cheap tights as they work just as well.

You've reminded me that I've got a load of old comb that I need to do this with in a hive that's not being used at the moment.

I've also got a shed load of cleaned wax that needs making into something


So... more questions

Do you just bung the dirty comb into the tights, then dunk the tights into the hot water to melt down and all the gunk gets left behind?

What does everyone do with their wax? This is our first year of having hive products other than honey and we are a bit overwhelmed by it all!


It's all a bit messy but that's half the fun!

I add the comb to the tights, put them into the big pan (I usually use my jam pan as it's the biggest one I've got), cover it with water and bring it slowly to the boil, then as the wax melts it rises to the top.

Then whilst the water is still warm, I remove the tights (the wax tends to stick to the outside of them and put to one side to cool, the stuff in the pan then also gets left to solidify.

If I judge it worthwhile, I'll repeat the process with the stuff in the tights until I don't think I can get any more out of that batch.

Once I've got as much out them as I think I can, I'll squish everything to the bottom to make getting the stuff out of the tights easier later. The rubbish can then be put into cardboard egg boxes and topped up with a bit of wax to make excellent fire lighters as someone else mentioned earlier.

Then to deal with the cleanish comb, when you remove the cooled cake of comb from the pan, you'll find that on the bottom there is alot of brownish looking impurities. I scrape off as much as I can from that.

If the comb is still not looking clean, I'll break the comb up into pieces and melt it in water in a smaller pan, rarely repeat that more than once.

The professional's (those that make wax products for competitions) will repeat 4 or 5 times to get as many impurities out as possible but for general use once or twice will do.

Then the real fun begins, you need to melt the wax in the same way you'd melt chocolate, in a bowl over a pan of water. Any remaining impurities will drop to the bottom of the bowl, you can then pour the cleaned melted wax into moulds or if you have a candle pot which is long and narrow for dipping candles you can use that.

Last edited by joanne on Fri Aug 07, 15 9:50 am; edited 1 time in total

joanne



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 7086
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 15 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Oh and the amount of moulds you can buy is ridiculous!

http://www.thorne.co.uk/candlemaking/candle-moulds/latex-moulds

You can also use the wax to make soaps, lipbalms, polish and multiple other useful things

http://www.naturallyloriel.com/17-cool-and-unusual-uses-for-beeswax/

BahamaMama



Joined: 21 Sep 2006
Posts: 2315
Location: Away with the fairies
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 15 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That sounds like fun! I do have a little beehive candle mould

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8405
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 15 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The bag method isn't the best way to extract the maximum amount of wax, but for us amateurs it's about the simplest.
I would keep an old pan just for this process as they are a pain to clean afterwards.
The residue will still contain quite a lot of wax but as I said earlier it makes good fire lighters.
The most efficient extraction is done with a combination of steam & a press but that's expensive kit.
I make candles with my surplus wax.
Beeswax burns cleaner & brighter than paraffin wax.
The air in the room smells beautiful when a beeswax candle is burning, a sort of natural air freshener.

joanne



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 7086
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 15 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Tavascarow wrote:
The bag method isn't the best way to extract the maximum amount of wax, but for us amateurs it's about the simplest.
I would keep an old pan just for this process as they are a pain to clean afterwards.
The residue will still contain quite a lot of wax but as I said earlier it makes good fire lighters.
The most efficient extraction is done with a combination of steam & a press but that's expensive kit.
I make candles with my surplus wax.
Beeswax burns cleaner & brighter than paraffin wax.
The air in the room smells beautiful when a beeswax candle is burning, a sort of natural air freshener.


My beekeeping mentors have one of those steam extractors, they are amazing!

We don't use alot of candles in the house but we do use alot of the little tealight candles, when I first started making them from beeswax you couldn't get the little metal cases but now you can get them and funky little moulds for doing lots at once which have a metal pin for the hole so you can put a wick through them later on.

I love the smell of beeswax burning, it reminds me of the smell of a busy hive in the middle of summer

Cathryn



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 19830
Location: Ceredigion
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 15 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I should have asked on here before even starting to do it!

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8910

PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 15 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Another way of finishing the cleaning of the wax is to use nappy liners. Melt the wax to start with. Fasten a nappy liner over the bottom of a tin (the ideal is a catering coffee tin, and tie the liner on with string). Suspend the tin over a fairly shallow container, like a roasting tin, lined with foil, and put all in the oven at the lowest setting. I use thin sticks of batons to hold the tin up. Pour the molten wax through the nappy liner filter. Let the wax in the roasting tin solidify, but as it is setting, score into sections about an inch or so each way. This is best set up so you can do as much wax as possible at a time, as it takes a while and is a bit messy. If you have several roasting tins or pyrex pie dishes, you can do quite a lot in one session.

I use my wax for making candles. Apart from moulds you can also make dip candles. They take a bit of getting used to, but they are the ultimate in wax candles, as a little air get between the layers, and you end up with a really clear flame. Hint; draw out of the wax as evenly as you can and don't shake. Allow to cool between each layer.

Cathryn



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 19830
Location: Ceredigion
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 15 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I use coffee filters. Over a mesh in the bottom oven of the rayburn. Has to be made into a disc of wax first. I only use the bee made comb from the topbar hive. Makes it lovely and clean and perfect for using in hand creams and lip salves.

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