Extraction - uncapping knives vs scratchers

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by mjrice, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

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    I've only seen honey extraction first-hand once, and the beek used a comb scratcher. It seemed to me to kind of make a mess of things and I am thinking of getting an uncapping knife for my own use this fall.

    From those who have tried both, what's the scoop? When do you use one vs the other, and why? Also I see there are heated uncapping knives; are those worth the extra cost?
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I use both a heated uncapping knife and a scratcher.
    The heated knife works best it the comb is all pulled out the same and is nice and flat.
    The scratcher works good for the uneven comb, you can kind of get down in the divots to break the caps open.No need to rake them completely open, just break them a little and the extractor will do the rest.

    So what I do is use the knife first and then if there are any "divots" hit them with the scratcher. You can use the knife to dig out the caps in the divots but some times it will make a bigger mess of the comb.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    don't know where you might get one or even how well they work but another option for you might be a honey punch.

    in almost all the taking of honey and even with automatic uncapping machines a capping scratcher is require to get into those small places that do not get uncapped. so generally is is not a question of one or the other but both. and yes a scratcher does make a mess of the comb.
     
  4. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I do the same as G3, but with a cold knife. The knife slices off a bit more of the honey, but it is SO much faster and neater, and I just put the cappings in a strainer bag and let the honey drip out anyway. For the money, I think the cold knife is the way to go for just a few hives. Plus it makes a reasonably priced suggestion for the family member who can't think of what to get you for Christmas!

    (It IS sharp, though. You do not want to have your other hand "downstream" in case the knife slips off the comb. Don't ask me how I know this.)
     
  5. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    I use a couple of loong bread knifes, the biggest handle you can find.

    Salvation Army specials 25 -50 cents apiece .

    [​IMG]

    Murrell
     
  6. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Murrell:
    Is that a commercially made uncapping tank, or did you make it yourself?
     
  7. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    No that is a Wal-mart tub, some aluminum channel , with a brass pin, and some perferated stainless steel for the basket.

    The aluminum fits snug on the tub, so it stays, with out moving around.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Murrell
     
  8. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    My preference is a FLEXIBLE cold uncappping knife. It was the first one I ever bought and despite years of sharpening, it still does the best job for me. I have a stiff cold knife but it doesn't flex enough to get into the more shallow areas of the combs. With a little practice you can find the right way to bend the blade and get it to cut more deeply.
    I never took to the electric uncapping knife: either it got too hot (when the frames came slowly) or wasn't hot enough (when they were coming fast). For the deep patches that the knife can't reach I use the fork.
     
  9. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

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    Cold knife and a scratcher, Actually its a couple of bread knives and a scratcher(or dinner fork when I can't find the scratcher) Jim
     
  10. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    I use a heated knife and then the capping scratcher afterward for the spots I couldn't open up due to the way the comb was built. I know it's two steps instead of one, but it seems to get at the corners and edges that the knife sometimes can't.
     
  11. rast

    rast New Member

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    Different strokes, I use the scratcher only.