Some folks with lots of hives make a solar wax melter or other arrangements.
On a very small scale however, here's what I do:
Get a cheap aluminum or steel pot at a garage sale that you keep just for wax (no teflon or coatings). put your globs of leftover wax in it and add about twice as much water. Leave it on LOW for a while till the wax melts. Stir it, then let it cool completely. The junk and the leftover honey will magically all mix down into the water, and the pure wax will float and harden as a beautiful solid wax disc on the top. Then you just lift up the disc. For extra pure, change the water and do it a second time.
This is the wax I got from 4 medium frames using the crush&strain method, enough for several votive candles:
Welcome BT! The bees will get every bit of honey out if you leave it near the hives. Slow heat is best to melt the wax. A solar melter is the absolute best. A crock pot works good just do not get caught using it without permission which you will probably not get anyway.
about the only low tech way of getting the last bit of sticky out of the honey is as Americasbeekeeper describes. I am of course assuming here you do not have $10000 to spend on the high tech solution to this problem.
If you use any of the heating methods suggested (as opposed to letting the bees clean out the cappings directly), remember that the heated honey, straight or diluted, can bee used to feed hungry bees. Don't just spill it out!!
As to letting the bees eat directly from the wet cappings, beware, leaving them out in the open can create quite a frenzy of bees collecting the drippings. I've read that this method leads to subsequent robbing. When I feed capppings directly to the bees, I do it by spreading the cappings INSIDE an empty super on top of a cover with an accesss hole for the bees of only that one hive to reach.
beetree;how do you get that last bit of honey out of wax and then melt wax for other use such as soaps, candles, etc?
i take the cappings (spun out from a cappings bag in the extractor) and throw them in a paint strainer bag. i fill a 5 gallon pail with water and slosh the strainer bag with the cappings in it around, and run more water through the bucket until the water is clear. i let the cappings air dry using a huge strainer or tub. (of course this is all done outside with a garden hose, and not in the kitchen....:grin:
i built my own solar wax melter, these work excellent. i can post photos of my solar melter, and the bricks of wax, if you would like.
"Please post photos of your solar wax melter Riverbee! I'm hoping it's useful for very small amounts of wax.
I'm guessing old brood comb is better suited to traps or the trash can than for candles, if someone could post an answer to that ?"
yes, i can post a couple pix with a description, give me a little time to 'comb' my pc and check back, or i will send you a pm.
about the brood comb, depends on the age, sometimes as perry said it's not worth it, ummm, full of junk and running it through a number of times to get it clean, and of course darker wax, suitable for candles i guess, but not lip balm. :grin:
So the cookie sheet has a hole in it, letting the wax drip through into the pan? Heat, I got. Solar heat, I got. Cookie sheet and pan are doable too. I can even put it "under glass", I have a spare storm window that doesn't fit any of my windows. Thank you! Nice pics.
Waste not, want not! :thumbsup:
I just used an old cookie sheet, cut a 1 inch piece out the middle of the lip on one end, bent the sheet into a slight V shape, and put a small piece of #8 hardware cloth over the slot to act as a strainer.
I add the wax to a bucket of clean cold water and stir. Leave overnight then empty through a kitchen strainer. Shake to get rid of a bit more water. Spread the damp wax thinly on sheets of newspaper and leave to air dry (my greenhouse). The dry wax crumb goes into the solar wax extractor.
It is a fiddle but little extra on the utilities bill. :idea:
my solar wax melter, i have a couple of these, and one smaller. Itâ€™s lined with galvanized tin, no insulation and has an oven thermometer. the window was a throw away and is hinged on, and also the box is lined with weather seal where the frame of the window meets the box.
materials for melting and filtering:
aluminum weber grill pans or turkery roaster pans
1/4â€ hardware cloth
black window screening
threadbare t-shirts or cheesecloth
binder clips large and small
this one i can melt deep frames and queen excluders in if need be, large and small amounts of cappings or scrapings. i clean the wax first as described earlier in my post # 8. i use Â¼â€ hardware cloth clipped to an aluminum weber grill pan or turkey roaster pan. the hardware cloth I curl up at the bottom to catch any melting wax that might slide forward and fall into the milk carton. the clips are those black metal thingyâ€™s to clip large amounts of paper together with. on top the hardware cloth i place a layer of black window screen ( clipped together on top the hardware cloth). the window screen is excellent to use as it catches most of the junk so it is not draining to the bottom of the weber pan, or into the milk carton. i shape the weber pan to pour the melting wax into a milk carton. on top of the milk carton, i clip a threadbare t-shirt or several layers of cheese cloth, this acts as an additional filter. when the melting wax drains through the window screen, the hardware cloth and the threadbare t-shirt material, the wax comes out very clean. depending on how clean it is, i will run it through again. the sun bleaches the wax. when the brick cools, i just cut the carton and peel the brick out. i store the wax bricks in ziplocs in a plastic tub, and in a cool dry place.
whatâ€™s nice is black window screening is inexpensive and a very good initial filter, so i just remove it because it is full of junk, throw it out and start with a new piece for the next batch of cappings or wax i melt. i do the same with the threadbare t-shirt. When the hardware cloth gets a little gunky, i just hit it with a propane torch, cleans it right up and can re-use it.
i use 2 different sizes of weber pans, the largest one to pile on cappings or scrapings. once the wax is melted and in a brick, or for smaller amounts of wax, i will use a smaller aluminum pan. all with the window screen, hardware cloth, and threadbare material/cheesecloth. some beeks use bounty paper towel to filter the wax. my experience with this is, that it soaks up to much melting wax and can run over the side. an old threadbare t-shirt/cheesecloth works much better for filtering, and can be used as fire starters.
i like the smaller bricks of wax , they are easier to store, cut , break apart, or grate to melt down for various projects, candles, lip balm etc.
there is a simple method, though i have never tried but heard very good results with, and you can use an old cooler, or a styrofoam cooler to do it with a window on top sort of like perryâ€™s cold frame: paul magnuson simple solar melter
hope this helps, enjoy, i have a variety of simple box plans for solar melters. Click on the pics for larger views......
"When I put frames in the extractor, the joints seemed to shrink and get wobbly. I now cut the comb out to put in the extractor.
It can get very hot in the extractor so some excluders will distort in the heat."
well i think if i put my frames in an EXTRACTOR and my joints shrunk and were wobbly, or cut the comb and put it in the EXTRACTOR, that might be a messy operation, and if my EXTRACTOR got hot, i think i would throw it out or buy a new motor for it :lol:
anyway, i haven't had any heat issues with the excluders or frames, but my excluders are wood frames and metal. amazing how fast these are cleaned up.
paper towel does work well as a filter, i think it soaks up too much wax vs. threadbare material or cheese cloth, the melting wax gathers pretty much in the center and does not soak up to the end like paper towel does.
another method for filtering is to use a paint strainer bag that fits a 5 gallon bucket. throw cappings in it and lay it on top of your hardware cloth. it works the same as window screen.