Wax Processing

General Discussion of Diary Posts and Questions on Beekeeping Matters
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Countryboy
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Wax Processing

Unread post by Countryboy »

I run my cappings through a Maxant jr. cappings spinner. Then I dump the cappings into a 55 gallon drum on the back deck and let the bees scavenge whatever remaining honey they can. The cappings end up very dry this way.

I have been using a heated bottling tank with a ball valve to process my wax. I heat the cappings up with water until I have a tank of melted wax. Then I let it cool, and drain off the dirty water. Then I heat it up again, and then drain off the wax. (I have a screen on the inside of the tank to catch the slum when I drain off the wax.)

It works, but it's not very efficient.

I've seen on a beekeeping blog where another beekeeper melts his cappings, and then dips a bucket in to skim the wax off the top of the tank. That may be a more efficient method.

In the summer, I normally sell honey at an upscale farmers market. The other honey vendor is 78 years old. I know it is only a matter of time before Mother Nature retires him. I normally sell $350 a week in honey, and I know he sells more than I do. He also sells a lot of candles. He has told me that candles make up about 40% of his sales at the markets. When he retires, I stand poised to take over the sales he had, and I want to be in a position to take over candle sales also. I anticipate that I will need to buy in wax to make candles too. (I don't produce enough wax to sell a few hundred dollars worth of candles every week at a 30 week long farmers market.)

I have a bunch of wax cappings I need to process. Right now, I have a girl working part time for me. (She started out picking berries for me. Now she is doing fall pruning and painting some bee equipment. Wax processing and candle making would be one more task I could give her to keep her busy this winter.) I have the money to invest in more wax processing equipment right now, and labor to get things going.

If you were trying to set up a wax processing and candle making operation, how would you do it, and what equipment would you use? A Kelley wax melter? A Maxant wax melter? Keep using a bottling tank? Any recommendations for the best way of pouring candles? I think realistically, this could turn into a couple thousand pounds of wax a year. I'm not looking to get into it on a huge scale, but something more sideliner scale.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio
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Countryboy
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Re: Wax Processing

Unread post by Countryboy »

In the summer, I normally sell honey at an upscale farmers market. The other honey vendor is 78 years old. I know it is only a matter of time before Mother Nature retires him.
The other honey vendor was Barry Conrad. I just received word that Barry passed away Wednesday evening at his home.

Barry was a big fixture in the Ohio beekeeping community. He sold package bees and bee equipment, ad helped many new beekeepers get into beekeeping. He was one of the driving forces getting the Lithopolis Honey Festival going. I believe he had been a founding vendor at the Clintonville Farmers Market for over 15 years, since the market had first started.

RIP Barry.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio
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