A capping scratcher is used for low spots in the comb that the knife missed. However it can be used to open all of the comb.
I use a long bread knife and before I got a capping scratcher I used a dinner fork. Jim
in a pinch an old fork works pretty well as a capping scratcher. most times if the face of the comb (ie the capped surface) is uneven you will need both. if the combs are fat (ie you are using 9 or 8 frames in a 10 frame box) then most times you can get by with just an uncapping knife.
This doesn't have to be an expensive hobby, although I sometimes choose to make it so. You can make your own, or improvise, for a lot of the equipment you may need. You are doing it right, though, by researching. Learn everything you can before you try to hive your first colony.
Your first stop is this forum, there are a bunch of friendly folks here who are willing to share their knowledge with you, and they will not look at you funny if you post what you might consider a stupid question. We all learn somewhere. As far as I'm concerned-the only stupid question is the one you don't ask. Good luck, and we're all pulling for you.
First year honey combs are usually not too full and fat so the capping knifes still leave work for the scratcher to do. I did a few frames today entirely with a capping scratcher and that would certainly be do able for the first season if you only had several hives. The kitchen fork would work but a dedicated scratcher gives you much more width.
I have heard of these believe they called it the hackler(sp.) honey punch. I was thinking these was used for the all plastic comb. It worked good at opening up cells that was capped below the plastic. Never thought of using it on a regular comb
I would like to try the hot air gun/paint stripper method of melting the cappings. I think there is a Youtube on it and was discussed on another forum.
Yes the scratcher produces a lot of fine wax flakes that plug screens.
I would think that the melted cappings would congeal and plug screens worse than flakes. He's obviously not "removing" the wax, since nothing runs off the frame. And... now what does he use to make candles?
Hobie, I wondered if the wax would pull back to each cell boundary leaving an opening. Cant see the detail in the vid. but would like to try it; I have a heat gun and forgot to take it along. Next years comb will be fatter with fewer low spots to scratch.
We have a new Maxant extractor, bought on sale but no honey( first year hives) but our neighbor's bees(second year) did so we volunteered our extractor and assistance to learn just how to process honey if we ever get any. I saw on YouTube a guy using an electric knife so I grabbed ours( along with other assorted knives)and it worked great. Sliced right through the wax leaving only small amounts in some corners to use a fork on.