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Uncapping frames

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After yesterday (where I had more frames to uncap than my usual crop) I realised that my uncapping was a pretty messy and inefficient process, I never really thought seriously about it ... I just had a biggish baking dish and an uncapping knife and an uncapping fork .. It only becomes noticeable when you have more frames to process:

1. The dish slides about.
2. The end of the top bar sits in the mess of wax and honey and drips
3. Scraping the cappings off the cappings fork at the end of each pass is a two handed job and holding the frame and the uncapping fork ... need three hands and a grip like iron.
4. The frame slips about and the cappings miss the tray.
5. Fingers and surfaces get more sticky than they need to

SO... I set about and knocked up a prototype uncapping station ... it's not perfect and only made out of scraps of timber I had laying about .. 20 minutes in the workshop with what I had available.

Improvements required:

1. Bigger tray with a pouring spout or:
2. Mesh bottom to collect the wax and allow the honey to drain through
3. A holding tank under the mesh

It's a work in progress ...

My question is .., short of spending several hundred pounds on a commercially made all singing all dancing 'proper job' what do other hobbyists do to make this (somewhat irksome) task a little easier ?
 

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jenkinsbrynmair 

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My question is .., short of spending several hundred pounds on a commercially made all singing all dancing 'proper job' what do other hobbyists do to make this (somewhat irksome) task a little easier ?
Abelo - sixty quid, one of my better investments, even if only for the bar and spike, although in retrospect I would have asked them to consider supplying me with the shallower tray and forget the honey valve which was a total waste of time.
 

gmonag 

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My question is .., short of spending several hundred pounds on a commercially made all singing all dancing 'proper job' what do other hobbyists do to make this (somewhat irksome) task a little easier ?
Spikey roller. Hardly any mess at all.
 

drex 

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@ pargyle
I use a plastic washing up bowl, across the top of which I screw a bar of wood with a hole in it, like yours , into which the end of the top bar sits. With the bar being screwed to the bowl, there is no slipping.
The bowl fits inside an empty BB, used as an eke, to feed honey covered cap pings back to the bees.
If there was a lot of honey, I could drill holes in bottom of the bowl and sit it inside another solid bowl, for honey to drip through. I do not, as I am quite good at the uncapping, so do not waste much honey
 

Gilberdyke John 

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I uncap mine with an old fashioned bread saw while holding the frame sitting on the top of the rotor in the extractor. The wax and the honey fall into the extractor while I set the uncapped frame into the rotor and move on to the next slot. On completion I drain the honey from the extractor through a wire double filter into storage bucket. Shut the valve, tip and prop the extractor so the valve is at the low point, allow a few hours for the honey to gravitate to the valve then drain via the filter. At the end the wax and any honey adhering can be tipped out into a bucket for steeping and the sweet liquor may be used for mead or the wax can be placed in a feeder where the bees can deal with removal of any honey still present.
 

Swarm 

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Abelo - sixty quid, one of my better investments, even if only for the bar and spike, although in retrospect I would have asked them to consider supplying me with the shallower tray and forget the honey valve which was a total waste of time.
As per JBM.
All that capacity below with limited capacity above. Far too big a tank, if it was half the depth it would be ideal and probably be a better working height. A quick scrape on the bar and the fork is clean. Overkill spike holds the frame in place.
I collected enough honey to fill a 12oz jar from mine this year. Smaller tank needed.
 

Antipodes 

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Bar with spike. At the moment I have the timber bar and spike over a Saf Natura capping sieve which sits directly into a 100L settling tank.
 

Amari 

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After yesterday (where I had more frames to uncap than my usual crop) I realised that my uncapping was a pretty messy and inefficient process, I never really thought seriously about it ... I just had a biggish baking dish and an uncapping knife and an uncapping fork .. It only becomes noticeable when you have more frames to process:

1. The dish slides about.
2. The end of the top bar sits in the mess of wax and honey and drips
3. Scraping the cappings off the cappings fork at the end of each pass is a two handed job and holding the frame and the uncapping fork ... need three hands and a grip like iron.
4. The frame slips about and the cappings miss the tray.
5. Fingers and surfaces get more sticky than they need to

SO... I set about and knocked up a prototype uncapping station ... it's not perfect and only made out of scraps of timber I had laying about .. 20 minutes in the workshop with what I had available.

Improvements required:

1. Bigger tray with a pouring spout or:
2. Mesh bottom to collect the wax and allow the honey to drain through
3. A holding tank under the mesh

It's a work in progress ...

My question is .., short of spending several hundred pounds on a commercially made all singing all dancing 'proper job' what do other hobbyists do to make this (somewhat irksome) task a little easier ?
I'm amazed that you and other pundits above, with multiple hives, cope with such antediluvian uncapping equipment! Uncapping and extraction is the most hateful and divorce-promoting beekeeping activity.....

Go fo the best. Easily funded by honey sales. I bought my uncapping tray a few years ago at BeeTradex. Stack the frames on the left. Uncap on the wire frame. Cappings fall into the tray with a perforated floor. Best to have two or three different uncapping tools.
 

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Depends how you operate I suppose. That stacking option would be no use to me.
 

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This is the Bobba poor boys special.

I have one 10L bucket with the bottom cut out. One of those standard strainers drops into said bucket and fits snug. Then it sits in another bucket to collect the drippings. (see pics)

I found it worked well. I use a fork so found it ok to have a small catchment area, but I could see one having problems if you use a knife.

Once uncapping if finished I pop the lid on and leave it to drain. Then I get another bucket, ensuring the outside is clean, fill it with water and sit it on the wax. This helps press as much honey out of the wax as possible.

Its cheap, easy to clean and easy to store.

It holds about 5 supers worth of cappings.

Even if you have an alternative uncapping setup, my bucket could still serve just for separating honey from capping. I know it wont ever do as good a job as a pro spinner or press, but for the size and cost I think its very effective. I intend to prep a few more for next year or maybe make a 20L one.

Amari, nice bit of kit if you have the space, but that thing practically needs its own postcode.

Pargyle, maybe you could lay a bit of mesh in the bottom and have the tray on a slight slope, so hopefully the wax will stay put and the honey will collect at one end. Then empty the wax into one of my buckets when your tray is getting to full. :D
 

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Yes .. I made this one a few years ago and it's still in use ... not a problem draining the cappings ... it's the bit before that that is a PITA. What I would really like is something in stainless that costs £60 and is like Amari has but without the holding rack (Ok dream one !) ... the hole in the bar I have made locates the frame lug nicely and uncapping is quite easy with an uncapping fork. In fact I can sit frame in there is it us supported without holding it if I need to do something else for a moment or three. It was a lot easier than my previous set up - but - Mk 2 for next season will incorporate a mesh floor, three holes instead of one a bigger tray and a slope as Bobba suggests. It also needs some sort if pouring spout for the honey colleted. I don't get how you use the spike on some of the commercial ones ?
 

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Amari 

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Depends how you operate I suppose. That stacking option would be no use to me.
SWMBO and I work as a team, albeit lubricated by occasional expletives. Beside the uncapping tray is a stack of maybe a dozen supers. One person uncaps while the other transfers frames from the supers on to the stacking frame of the tray and then transfers the uncapped combs into the 9-frame radial extractor. That person also manages the extractor.

By and large it works well but for a dozen supers it takes about five hours to get out the kit, extract, sieve, bucket, and clean up. We hate it so I'm planning to down-size next year.
 

ldwgs 

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After yesterday (where I had more frames to uncap than my usual crop) I realised that my uncapping was a pretty messy and inefficient process, I never really thought seriously about it ... I just had a biggish baking dish and an uncapping knife and an uncapping fork .. It only becomes noticeable when you have more frames to process:

1. The dish slides about.
2. The end of the top bar sits in the mess of wax and honey and drips
3. Scraping the cappings off the cappings fork at the end of each pass is a two handed job and holding the frame and the uncapping fork ... need three hands and a grip like iron.
4. The frame slips about and the cappings miss the tray.
5. Fingers and surfaces get more sticky than they need to

SO... I set about and knocked up a prototype uncapping station ... it's not perfect and only made out of scraps of timber I had laying about .. 20 minutes in the workshop with what I had available.

Improvements required:

1. Bigger tray with a pouring spout or:
2. Mesh bottom to collect the wax and allow the honey to drain through
3. A holding tank under the mesh

It's a work in progress ...

My question is .., short of spending several hundred pounds on a commercially made all singing all dancing 'proper job' what do other hobbyists do to make this (somewhat irksome) task a little easier ?
Check out previous decapping post a couple of months back, hot air gun seems to = zero cappings
 

Amari 

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Check out previous decapping post a couple of months back, hot air gun seems to = zero cappings
If I remember that thread correctly, the hot air gun does not work well on old combs. I guess most of us reuse super comb year after year.
 

Erichalfbee 

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If I remember that thread correctly, the hot air gun does not work well on old combs. I guess most of us reuse super comb year after year.
Yes. It’s the air gap underneath that’s needed.
 
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Check out previous decapping post a couple of months back, hot air gun seems to = zero cappings
SWMBO and I work as a team, albeit lubricated by occasional expletives. Beside the uncapping tray is a stack of maybe a dozen supers. One person uncaps while the other transfers frames from the supers on to the stacking frame of the tray and then transfers the uncapped combs into the 9-frame radial extractor. That person also manages the extractor.

By and large it works well but for a dozen supers it takes about five hours to get out the kit, extract, sieve, bucket, and clean up. We hate it so I'm planning to down-size next year.
One person and 15 supers later ... your timings are pretty accurate ! Add to that the fact that you only do it once or twice a year it takes a while to get back into the rythm ... and then you do stupid things like I did this time and let the bees get into the stack and had to belay things for several hours ...
 
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Yes. It’s the air gap underneath that’s needed.
In frustration at the slow progress I was making on Saturday I tried it with my son's temperature regulated hot air gun ... it seemed to me that I had to linger too long on some parts of the frames at a temperature I wasn't altogether happy with. My frames are sometimes a bit chunky and not smooth and flat ... I ended up doing some extra uncapping to pick up those that the hot air gun missed. I know it works for some people but by the time I'd messed about it didn't really save me any time and I gave up.
 

Apple 

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Hot... but not too hot air gun and one of those tyned scraper tools... I can not be trusted with a sharp uncapping knife.
My bees seem to place an air gap under the beautiful white cappings.
 
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