new frames v old frames

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mhill20

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Hi All,
Has any one on here performed a cost analysis against melting down old frames brood and super ,boiling them, scraping out etc(and mess) verses buying new frames ,building and re waxing.
I ask because of the cost of both gas and electric rising prices. I'm of the opinion buy new and wax up, that's an opinion without any data backup!!
 

blackcloud

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Depends how you value your time,as a hobbyist or a professional,you may have labour costs or not.
Cost aside, what would you do with the old comb?
It took vast effort to produce the material and tree hugging accepted ,it wouldn't hurt to recycle the frames at least once or until they get a bit worse for wear- do your bit etc.

Doubt if anyone's done a proper analysis as there's lots of variables.
If you saved up a good batch or joint effort with someone else too then the unit cost of reuse would be reduced.
 

gregior

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I've not worked out the costs but have given up trying to recycle old frames,the effort and mess involved just isn't worth it for me.
 

Newbeeneil

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I've never tried recycling frames because it seems a real faff. But as I see it the cost comparison is based on the price of a new frame (55p for DN4s) versus the time and energy to strip and boil the frames. At minimum wage rates you would have to clean about 17 frames per hour not including costing energy and equipment to make it worth your while.
I also get a nice pile of free kindling by not cleaning my frames!
 

thorn

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It varies.
I agree with the OP, with the proviso that the old wax is melted down and used for candles. Sell the candles and that goes some way to offsetting the cost of throwing out the frames.
It's so much quicker and much more pleasant to put foundation in new frames.
 

The Poot

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As a retiree I do spend time cleaning and scraping to reuse the frames. It is a horrible, messy job, but made better if TMS is on the radio. I don’t boil the frames, just lots of scraping. It didn’t occur to me to put them in the solar melter first. What a numpty!
 

JamezF

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After melting the wax out I attempt to snap the lugs off my old frames in my fingers. If they break then the frame is kindling. Otherwise I do try to recycle them. This year I've used quite a few of the old ones in bait hives with a starter strip of wax which means I don't have to bother trying to clean out the groove in the sidebars.

James
 

ericbeaumont

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buy new and wax up
I reckon stripping out, boiling and refitting is worth it if you have several hundred and don't have to pay a lot for labour. My daughter has taken six weeks to strip out combs that would have taken me about three hours, so I hope she's not expecting much...

Cost and time analysis would be interesting: quicker to refit boiled frames, slower to make new, purchase cost of new against energy consumption for old. Here's a photo of ITLD's yard showing thousands of boiled frames piled up, so clearly Murray must have decided that it's cost effective.
 

jenkinsbrynmair

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Too many - but not nearly enough
Here's a photo of ITLD's yard showing thousands of boiled frames piled up, so clearly Murray must have decided that it's cost effective.
Economies of scale though, he has the space, suitable (bespoke) kit to make the process slightly easier - and the manpower.
There's also a difference depending on the frames you use, speaking to another bee farmer in Sand Hutton last week about it funnily enough, if you have pre wired frames like he did the savings in recycling was significant compared to bog standard nationals with prewired foundation, although he and his son did say that with soaring energy costs they may have a change of mind.
 

blackcloud

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Personal outlook is another variable,it might not be worth it for your own wallet but recycling can be beneficial for the greater good.
There's a lot of machining in a frame ,lots of sawdust to dispose of,carbon footprint of manufacture and distribution etc.
It's not an unlimited resource we can squander.
If you have the frames already in your hand then there's a good offset for the cost of boiling the water.
If you have sufficient quantity of frames you can delay the job until you have enough to make one big job of it which is more efficient as you only have to set up once a year.
Combs can be crushed and occasionally frozen to store up a big load for rendering and trade in,which will offset the new and recycle the old.
 

Wilco

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Another vote for solar melter. I'm planning to start wiring my frames as it will also mean new wax is much cheaper.
 

blackcloud

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Are there plans floating around somewhere for these?
I'd like to make one.
It's like an extractor or uncapping tank-really useful but really expensive and only used occasionally.
 

Wilco

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Are there plans floating around somewhere for these?
I'd like to make one.
It's like an extractor or uncapping tank-really useful but really expensive and only used occasionally.
Mine's in steady use, I rotate frames out of hives, put in extractor at end of inspection day and remove at next inspection all melted down as long as the weather's been ok.

Essentially it's a box on a slope with a glass lid. There needs to be a place to put the manky frames, to collect the wax and a mesh to strain out the big chunks of pupa casings etc. between them but dimensions are whatever suits the material you have. I hope to be knocking up a few in the Autumn ready for next year's sales.
 

blackcloud

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I've got some stainless steel trays ready but its the wax catching bit I'm trying to work out- needs to be removable and reheatable?
If it's not clean enough first hit for direct trade in then it's not worth it for me
 

drex

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My solar wax melter is a polystyrene box, with an old pane of double glazing on top. The comb goes into a stainless steel baking tray which has a few holes drilled in the bottom end. Under this goes a non stick loaf tin, with a sheet of fine wire mesh over the top. The whole lot is propped up at an angle to catch the sun and drain the wax.
Simple. The kitchen utensil bits likely a few quid, the rest was free.
Just chuck the old wax in and leave it alone for a couple of days
 

Swarm

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Poly brood box and polycarb crownboard does a good job, warm enough to melt the ice cream container I used to catch the wax.
 

Wilco

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I've got some stainless steel trays ready but its the wax catching bit I'm trying to work out- needs to be removable and reheatable?
If it's not clean enough first hit for direct trade in then it's not worth it for me
Bread tin/silicone cake mould/pyrex jug or dish.

Mine looks better than when I use a big pot in the kitchen to render it.
 

Antipodes

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My solar wax melter is a polystyrene box, with an old pane of double glazing on top. The comb goes into a stainless steel baking tray which has a few holes drilled in the bottom end. Under this goes a non stick loaf tin, with a sheet of fine wire mesh over the top. The whole lot is propped up at an angle to catch the sun and drain the wax.
Simple. The kitchen utensil bits likely a few quid, the rest was free.
Just chuck the old wax in and leave it alone for a couple of days
I tried what I think was a similar thing here...a polystyrene box with a home made double glazed acrylic lid, and the polystyrene melted on the inside of the box and the acrylic lid started buckling too. Was really surprised.
 

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