First Uncapping and Extraction

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Slowmodem, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Well, it was a good and not-so-good day. I only had a 10-frame medium filled with honey. However it was good to see the other two mediums with all drawn comb. Well, at least I had 10 frames of honey to practice uncapping and extracting. After talking with Maxant yesterday, we sanded and ground out the inside of the motor coupling that goes on the shaft and it fits nicely now. :thumbsup:

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    I tried the bee quick spray and was kind of pleased with it. I may have not left it on long enough or maybe didn't spray enough on it. I was using a towel over the boxes, so I'll probably go ahead and get me a fume board to go on top of the supers. Some of the bees left, but there were a lot that didn't leave. We ended up taking each frame out and brushing them off right before we took it into the shed. We had some empty boxes in the shed to hold the frames when we got them in. We got the frames into the shed and shut the doors, as there were bees around the door handle that had honey on it from our hands.

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    Then it was time for the uncapping. I have an electric knife with an adjustable temperature knob:

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    The knife is going to take a while to master. If you go too fast, it cools it off where it's hard to use. Plus getting it level when the comb is not level is a chore. I did a fair share of gouging the comb. :eek: I'm sure my lack of uncapping skills contributed to the unbalanced spinning of the extractor.

    Here is a picture of the loaded extractor. I found that the plastic frames don't go into the holders easily. I had to wiggle and mash them down to get them to fit into the bottom holders. I think the sides of the plastic frames are maybe a little wider than wooden frames.

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    It wobbled and I rearranged the frames and it still wobbled. I'm sure it was my uncapping, plus I don't think that you can ever get every frame with the exact amount of honey in it. But we slung it slowly for a while and got some to come out. Here is the first drop:

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    So we sat there for a while and spun the frames and got some honey.

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    But it got late and I was tired, so I figured that the frames might drain by gravity overnight, and I'll back in the morning and spin them some more.

    At this point in time, I'm ready to charge $50/pint (0.473 liter). I'm sure it will get easier and I'll become more proficient. But it sure was a learning experience.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Beautiful picture of the box of capped honey frames!
    A picture of the "first drop" of your own honey = priceless! :thumbsup:
    If you get any takers at $50 a pint, let me know. I'll ship you some to sell for me! :wink:
    Sounds like overall it was a good day! :grin:
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    good job it will be the best honey you ever tasted.:thumbsup:
     
  4. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    I second Perry on the pic of honey frames in the supers....very envious here....I have a long way to go before I see that...
     
  5. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    I am a beginner, BUT, I saw a video of a guy using a Heat Gun and he was uncapping frames of honey. He was just
    waving the gun back and forth and down the frame and the caps were just disapearing. No mess and it was quick. He would do one side, flip it , do the other and set it in the extractor. The frames came out looking empty and great.

    I intend on trying this, if I get some honey :)
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    When my hotknife gets too hot, it leaves a clear coat of wax over the cells. They look just like the cells on the video, but hey are still closed.

    Try it and report back.
     
  7. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Just an update to the slinging. I went back and slung some more frames today. They had drained a good deal last night, but still had some to be slung out. I ended up with 3.5 to 4 gallons of honey (plus caps and wax). I told dad to not turn on the AC in the shed this morning, so it stayed around 90 in there today, but the honey flowed very well (as did the sweat!).

    It took me forever to get the frames balanced in the extractor. I just ran it really slow for a while until some of the honey came out. Towards the end, I get it up to full speed for a little while. But I noticed that some of the comb peeled off the frame. I don't know if it was weak comb, my uncapping, or centrifugal force. It strained out, but caused some wobble for a while.

    But, on the good side now, I have 3 mediums of drawn comb. Now if they'll just fill them up with more honey, I'll be good to go! :)

    Now tomorrow I'll start learning how to deal with the leftover wax.
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Maybe they will fill them a bit better next time around. I just extracted 3 mediums of wood frames Friday and got 7 to 9 Gallons. Have bottled 6 1/2 gallon and have an unknown amount yet to bottle, so don't have a full count.
     
  9. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Congratulations, first honey extraction is a very important moment for a beekeeper.
    Like some kind of graduation.
    As RR said, the best honey I ever tasted:grin: Still keep two small jars from that extraction.
     
  10. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    Congrats, I know how you feel. I'll give you a hint on how to clean it very quickly. I pulled our 100' garden hose out in the sun and let it lay there a couple of hours. Sprayed the hot water into the extractor and it melted / washed the sticky honey residue off the sides and the racks with only minor wiping required. Be careful not to spray the motor.
     
  11. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    I believe I read that the extracter can be modified to accept plastic frames, check with Maxant.

    I take it you did figure out how to get the motor connected.

    As I said in a earlier post, they Do jump/vibrate around, if not anchored ,no matter how balanced you think they are !

    Glad you got it going
    Murrell
     
  12. Pilotbeekeeper

    Pilotbeekeeper New Member

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    Congratulations! I'm looking forward to that moment...........looks like it will be next year for me.
     
  13. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    Greg- I bolt my extractor down on a heavy oak pallet 48" X 48" and it eliminates the dancing around. Most warehouses/LTL shippers will give them away, the heavier the better.
     
  14. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Murrell: The plastic frames will fit, but they have to be mashed down. It's a tight fit, but it works. I just wasn't expecing it to be so tight.

    Hog Wild: The pallet is a good idea. I have some laying around I was going to make a compost bin out of, but one pallet may get 'repurposed'. :)
     
  15. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Well, I ended up with 14 quarts (and a little bit more) bottled. I don't have enough for everyone that asked for it. Luckily, there is another beekeeper here at work that sells his, too. Here's some of the finished product:

    bottled.jpg
     
  16. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Looks good! :thumbsup: You should still have more coming in shouldn't you? Have you got a label and name for your liquid gold yet? :mrgreen:
     
  17. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Thanks for the kind words! Hopefully they're making more. There's still plenty of clover blooming and wildflowers and mimosa trees. If it keeps raining every few days, things will keep blooming, I hope.

    I have thought about a name and label, and I might do that if I start getting a lot of honey. But right now that seems like less profit margin. :wink: I sold 10 quarts today @ $15/quart (plus I kept some for my home and my parents). We've been having biscuits and honey at work in the mornings. Interesting how a little bit of free sample helps sales! :thumbsup:
     
  18. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Cleaning the extractor: I only have a 2-frame manual, but when I'm done extracting, I throw a couple handfuls of coarse wood chips (or grass or straw) in it to stick on the sides, and set out in the yard for the bees to clean. After an afternoon, it'll be pretty darn clean and I hose out the wood chips.

    (Without the wood chips for the bees to stand on, it turns into a kind of "La Brea" honey pit for the bees and they get stuck in it and drown... voice of experience. And let me tell you, washing honey bees is NOT easy!)
     
  19. hlhart2001

    hlhart2001 New Member

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    This sounds interesting...where do you get the heat gun?
     
  20. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Congratulations on a job well done. For a first timer you deserve special commendation. Your frames, filled with honey looked great!!! As you gain experience it will get easier and go faster. The pictures were a special bonus for us. Thanks.
    Enjoy the sweets of your and your bee's labor.