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Uncapping frames

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Amari 

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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 ...
If only! Our biggest crop is OSR late April-May. This needs extracting as soon as the shake test/refractometer allows for fear of crystallisation. Most productive hives will fill 2-4 supers. Thus we need three extraction sessions mid-May to early June (max capacity each time is a dozen supers otherwise we die of exhaustion). The July yield is less but this year extended well into August = another two sessions!
 

madasafish 

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My uncapping :> 300lbs a year for the past three years -
Heatgun
And for the odd frame a scratching fork.

No tray needed.
Minimal mess.
Do over sink.
Takes little time...

If I did more honey - which given weather and no planned increase in hive numbers - is unlikely, I would invest. But no need.

KISS
 

Amari 

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My uncapping :> 300lbs a year for the past three years -
Heatgun
And for the odd frame a scratching fork.

No tray needed.
Minimal mess.
Do over sink.
Takes little time...
How old are your combs?
 

Swarm 

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I wouldn't want to use a hot air gun on combs like those Phil has posted, no way.
 

madasafish 

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How old are your combs?
A mix of 1-4 years old..

No issues with newer ones: the cell walls at the sides of the frames may melt but those away from the edges do not (unless of course you heat the same spot for more than 10-15 seconds.) The melted wax resolidifies on the comb..
 
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I wouldn't want to use a hot air gun on combs like those Phil has posted, no way.
The newer frames probably would not be a problem - fairly slim and thin cappings .. but some of the frames are monsters ... I use 10 castellated runners so they were not widely spaced but my bees do seem to like building really fat combs and they leave barely a bee space between them. Very solid cappings on the cells as well. If I was a proper beekeeper I would probably try and manage it somehow but they seem to like what they do and I let them get on with it. The biggest frame I took out weighed in at 3.2Kg !! I got a photo of the scale but it must have been badly lit because the weight did not show up .. so I'll just claim the 2.9+ Kg that you can see in the photos - and that's heavy enough !!

I may try the heat gun method again- perhaps it was my technique that was lacking ?
 

Swarm 

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It's the cappings Phil, they look wet and don't melt away quick enough.
 

The Poot in Somerset 

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I tried the heat gun method this year and found the wax resolidified on the combs and it hindered the extraction process. I understood the combs only needed enough heat to melt the cappings and thus not heat the honey, but I had a very hard job to spin the honey out.
How long do you apply the heat?
 

Apple 

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I tried the heat gun method this year and found the wax resolidified on the combs and it hindered the extraction process. I understood the combs only needed enough heat to melt the cappings and thus not heat the honey, but I had a very hard job to spin the honey out.
How long do you apply the heat?
Heat for just long enough for the capping to melt... hardly a second
The tyned comb run over the freshly melted surface will suffice to remove wax that resets
Our 20 frame radial Thomas extractor set for a long low spin with reversal every 2 minutes seems to get every drop out.
As for OSR:puke:or Ivy... we fortunately do not get too much of it and any set combs go into the Apimelter and the honey extracted gets sold off a "Bakers Honey"... seems to be a market for it to flavour Gins, Rums and Whiskeys.
 

The Poot in Somerset 

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Heat for just long enough for the capping to melt... hardly a second
The tyned comb run over the freshly melted surface will suffice to remove wax that resets
Our 20 frame radial Thomas extractor set for a long low spin with reversal every 2 minutes seems to get every drop out.
As for OSR:puke:or Ivy... we fortunately do not get too much of it and any set combs go into the Apimelter and the honey extracted gets sold off a "Bakers Honey"... seems to be a market for it to flavour Gins, Rums and Whiskeys.
Thanks for this Apple👍
 

bobba 

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Nice bucket btw pargle, not sure about the bolts sticking out the sides, I think they would get in the way when I press the wax. But I may copy how you made the bottom if I decide to make a bigger version.

I absolutely loved extracting honey for the 1st time this year, I may feel differently in a few years but the novelty has yet to ware off.

I had 2 supers that I put on 9 frame spacers after emptying in the spring. I did not weigh any frames, but am sure I had some that could compete with with yours. I will defo be weighing next year.

My fattest super yielded 14.7Kg and made the black honey on the right of my pic. My worst super was 10.2Kg. Both were fully capped.

I saw that black mountain honey guy on youtube loading a super with 8 frames, I bet he will get some fat frames and heavy supers.
 
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Nice bucket btw pargle, not sure about the bolts sticking out the sides, I think they would get in the way when I press the wax. But I may copy how you made the bottom if I decide to make a bigger version.
I learned a trick from you Bobba .... I'd never thought of using weight to press the cappings ... a new fresh pair of eyes on the problem - you learn something from this forum every day - thanks.

So I followed your lead .. but .. I put a piece of aluminiun foil on top of the cappings to keep the top bucket from gettng covered in wax and honey ... then used a clean bucket on top of that but, for the weights, I used four 2.5kg weights off on of my barbells in the bucket instead of filling it with water ... a bit easier to empty them out !

The bolts on mine don't stick out that far - they just sit on the rim of the lower bucket .. it was expedient at the time and the quickest way to suspend the upper bucket. I liked the idea someone had for this type of cappings sieve where they had wooden blocks glued to the outside of the top bucket to support it on the lower one.
 

bobba 

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The press was a serendipitous discovery. I had finished extracting for the year and was cleaning up. I was holding a bucket of water, looked at my cappings and 💡.

I discovered the sieve fits perfectly into the bucket by chance too. So I basically cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket and the rest came together with a bit of good fortune.

I was thinking of pressing to speed up the draining process, but worry the honey might not drain if all the wax is squashed too soon. So think I will continue letting it drain before pressing.

I need to sort out some way to suspend the upper bucket, but don't want anything that will interfere with the buckets stacking. I am thinking some kind of "z" hooks that sit on the inside rim of the bottom bucket. Not sure exactly what form they will take yet. But want something that can be easily removed and stored inside the bucket.

I will definitely use a bit of tin foil in the future, crud just loves to jump onto those buckets if your having a static day, so the extra protection is probably wise.

I was not too concerned with sanitation by the time I pressed this year, a 3 year old had been helping me cleanup with his tong. So what I did get from pressing got given back to my bees.

But I think pressing got an extra lb+ of honey. And was definitely easier than squeezing some extra bee budget from "er indoors".

My other top tip - If you have a (unmodified) bucket of capping you intend to recover honey from, then store it upside down. That way when you tip it into the extraction bucket the gooey cappings will end up at the bottom and dryer cappings at the top.
 

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