Steam Wax Extractors

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k figgis 

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Our local ---keepers Association is considering purchasing a steam wax extractor to be used by the members. Initial investigations show that there are two basic designs:

1.) a large stainless steel drum into-which frames are placed to be melted;
2.) A steam-generator which is connected by a hose to a hive-roof which is then placed over the brood-box while a metal tray is placed below the brood-box to collect the melted wax.

There appears to be no significant difference in cost between the two designs, and I can see advantages and disadvantages to both. Is there anybody who has experience of using either type that could please advise us which is the better design?

Many thanks.
 
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Made my own with a really cheap wallpaper stripper steam generator with inlet in a hive roof
Takes a full super or brood as is, so box gets a steaming too
Wax collected in bucket via a metal tray... whole assembly insulated to an inch of its life!
Slumgum can be easily stripped away when hot, frame go straight to a boiler with lye for cleaning!
Works well

Yeghes da
 

einsteinagogo 

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I've used both, both work well, but I found the Steam Extractor with a tin can, works better, because it gets hotter, and wax flows better, than the wallpaper stripper, and brood box. I found the wallpaper steam extractor, the temperature in the brood box would cool, and the wax would start to solidify and set on the metal tray.

I've used these

http://www.thorne.co.uk/honey-and-wax-processing/wax/wax-extraction?product_id=330

http://www.thorne.co.uk/honey-and-wax-processing/wax/wax-extraction?product_id=5672

they don't look the same price to me, maybe you are referring to something different.
 
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I've used both, both work well, but I found the Steam Extractor with a tin can, works better, because it gets hotter, and wax flows better, than the wallpaper stripper, and brood box. I found the wallpaper steam extractor, the temperature in the brood box would cool, and the wax would start to solidify and set on the metal tray.

I've used these

http://www.thorne.co.uk/honey-and-wax-processing/wax/wax-extraction?product_id=330

http://www.thorne.co.uk/honey-and-wax-processing/wax/wax-extraction?product_id=5672

they don't look the same price to me, maybe you are referring to something different.
I had that problem until I discovered a skip full of Celotex cut offs.... insulation.
Yeghes da
 
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itma 

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A polyhive makes a good insulated honey-bucket-warming cabinet, and I can't see any reason why it shouldn't make a good insulated frame box for steam wax recovery. Using an eke with a hole for the steam hose should avoid altering the main box, so that it can still be used as a (spare) brood box or bucket-warming cabinet, etc, and not take up extra storage space through the rest of the year.
For wax recovery the trickiest bit to DIY is the 'sump'. But I'm hoping it isn't going to prove too hard to scrounge a couple of aluminium sheets (printing plates?) to form an inverted roof 'tin' and runout spout ... 'cos that's what I'm going to try and make. (I got some stainless mesh, for the slumgum catcher, in Thorne's last sale - so that should be sorted.)


/// ADDED - not poly, but DIY - take a look at https://youtu.be/Wzkxq7qGqxQ
 
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einsteinagogo 

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I was doing my wax extraction in winter months, when bees weren't flying!

and it was my first time, so didn't think much to insulation of the bb!
 

wessexmario 

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For wax recovery the trickiest bit to DIY is the 'sump'.
a simple way is to use kitchen tin foil, just line a floor and form a spout by using some small blocks of wood under it to narrow the entrance.
With the tin foil overlapping the floor, the super on top will hold it in place.
being quite thin it won't suck much heat of the wax so helping it to keep flowing.
 

itma 

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Thanks, having used aluminium foil in my poly solar wax melter, I was aware of the possibility - just not confident there's any 'Turkey-width' in the shops now! I'll have a look.
 
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With the alluminium floor.... I found I had to run the propane torch over it as it took a lot of steam energy to heat it enough for the wax to flow off of it... thinking of possible electrical device... any ideas?

Alluminium.. not alu min as my spell checker keeps correcting.

Hope the Mod can corrrect this

Yeghes da
 

jonnybeegood 

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Why bother with all this, just shove it all into a couple of old pairs of tights & put this in a large pan in the oven at about 40degrees, once its all melted lift out the old tights with all the rubbish & pour your nice clean wax into a mould.
 

itma 

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With the alluminium floor.... I found I had to run the propane torch over it as it took a lot of steam energy to heat it enough for the wax to flow off of it... thinking of possible electrical device... any ideas?
I think an alternative steam hose location UNDER the aluminium 'floor' should do the trick.
Simpler and safer than electrickery underneath this sort of mess-generator.
 

itma 

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Why bother with all this, just shove it all into a couple of old pairs of tights & put this in a large pan in the oven at about 40degrees, once its all melted lift out the old tights with all the rubbish & pour your nice clean wax into a mould.
If you have 6 14x12 hives and change the brood comb on a three year cycle, then you'd have about 22 14x12 frames-worth of old comb to process each year. Gosh, you must have big pans! :)
 
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I think an alternative steam hose location UNDER the aluminium 'floor' should do the trick.
Simpler and safer than electrickery underneath this sort of mess-generator.
Thanks... food for thought!
I could pump some of the hot water from the steam generator... around under the floor in a 10 mm copper coil.. or use steam from the spare generator I have
Wonderful thing Charity shops!

Yeghes da
 

oliver90owner 

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... a large pan in the oven at about 40degrees,-...

Very useful advice. Shame it wouldn't work, unless the thermostat is waaay out. Perhaps actually knowing the melting point of wax or the brood nest temperature might just make 40 degrees a non- starter. Even honey might not melt at that temperature, let alone wax!
 

itma 

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... a large pan in the oven at about 40degrees,-...

Very useful advice. Shame it wouldn't work, unless the thermostat is waaay out. ...
Most oven thermostats are pretty hopeless at low temperatures, being both inaccurate (error between setting and actual mid-range) and having a considerable hysteresis 'range' (cycling widely around whatever actual central temperature).
Hence setting "40 degrees" might well work on some ovens, but it would indeed be a mistake to think of it as accurate general advice for wax melting.



What REALLY gets me is the frequent advice to "leave the oven door ajar" to get lower temperatures --- with any thermostatically-controlled oven that will simply force the heating element into working harder and actually raising the temperature close to the element ... The advice dates from before thermostats were in common use, but gets repeated over and over again.
 

oliver90owner 

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Itma,

There was no reference to setting the oven thermostat at 40. Thermostats are usually good enough for 5-10 degrees at worst; simmerstats, often used in the past are not thermostats, so opening the oven door with that type of device would, indeed, reduce the temperature. Still not to be condoned as a sensible method, mind.

In my view, just a really misleading post from a beginner in the wrong section. Perhaps he might prefer warm salty water?
 

k figgis 

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Thank you for your comments. It's very helpful to get feedback for people who have used both designs.

Regards,

Ken.
 

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