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Author Topic: Double boiler wax melter  (Read 906 times)

Offline Lesgold

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Double boiler wax melter
« on: January 08, 2023, 05:23:10 pm »
Hi folks,

I?ve decided to refine my cappings melting operation after thinking about how much time is actually spent on the process. What I currently do takes a considerable amount of time and still results in honey and some wax being lost. A wax melter will cut my time considerably and still allow good recovery of both cappings honey and wax. The unit I purchased is an electric double boiler melter with a tank capacity of 25 litres. It has a digital controller which will allow for accurate temperature settings. The unit cost about $850 delivered and should arrive in a day or so. I will post some pics when it does and eventually run through the operation of the machine. I?m already thinking about ways to utilise and modify the boiler for refining wax, warming cappings for better raw honey recovery and sucking the last drop of wax from slum gum etc. I?m sure that many of you currently use a similar style of boiler and will have ideas and methods that you use. I would love to hear about them. Any technique that is efficient and saves time would be of interest to all of us.

Cheers

Les

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2023, 08:42:25 pm »
Les have you seen the type seperator that works kind of like the spin cycle of a washing machine? Jeff Horcroff has one, and when finished the cappings look to be dry to the touch. As he demonstrated in a video.

Phillip
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2023, 09:03:52 pm »
Hi Phillip

Yes, I have thought about a cappings spinner but it still left me with the cappings to deal with. If I had a larger operation, I would probably have both. In my situation, draining the cappings and then heating them in a controlled manner will allow all honey to be recovered. A small proportion of that honey will be cooked but that?s OK. I currently press my cappings to remove most of the remaining honey but it is labour intensive and the recovery rate in not all that good. This new method will give me some raw honey at low temperature settings as well as cooked honey and liquid wax at higher temperatures. I should save a lot of time and get more honey and good quality wax with less work with this method.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2023, 12:43:46 am »
Sounds good Les...

Phillip
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2023, 07:13:10 pm »
The wax melter arrived this morning and has been unpacked and cleaned. Just heading off now to buy some demineralised water to fill the jacket.
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I have some wax blocks that are partially cleaned which will be melted in water and cleaned in the next day or so. Will report on the process as it occurs.

Cheers

Les

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2023, 03:31:09 am »
Time to run the melter for the first time. Since my accident, I haven?t had much time or the capacity to finish some beekeeping tasks. Decided to clean up some wax that I?d gathered from cappings at the last extraction. It had been melted once but was still quite dirty.
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It still had some propolis and slum gum attached as well as a bit of internal dirt. I should be able to clean it up quickly with minimal effort on my part. Here is the process as I go through it.

Step one was to fill up the melter with clean rain water to just above the top tap.
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Step two was to set the temperature. I decided to set it at 73 degrees C as this would give me a melt temp close to 70. (There is some thermal loss as the temperature reading is set on the water jacket rather than product temperature)
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The final step was to load the wax and put the lid on.
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Less than 5 minutes work and the prep is done. I?ll come back in 12 hours and the wax will be melted. As this is the first time that this melter has been used, a temperature check will be made in the morning and slight adjustments will be made before I move on. Will keep you posted.

Cheers

Les

Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2023, 08:46:35 am »
Les,
Have you watched the old skep series videos on YouTube? There is one video on processing wax. The last step shows the senior beekeeper taking the wax blocks and scraping the propolis and dirt off of the wax blocks with a pocket knife. They then sell them as high quality wax.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2023, 03:14:20 pm »
I?ll have a look and check them out. I normally scrape propolis and dirt off after the final pour. There is still a lot of wax in the dirty sections on the blocks that you see so I didn?t scrape too much off these at all. Todays pour should get the blocks quite clean.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2023, 04:40:33 pm »
Just watched the video clip. It was a cracker. Thanks for that Jim. Just checked the boiler to see how the wax was going.
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As you can see from the photo, it was sitting at 69 degrees. Turned the thermostat up a touch and will let it sit while I have breakfast. Looks like a jacket water temp of about 76 C will give me the product temperature of 70 degrees. There is a few floaters that I will skim off before the pour. Instead of using a strainer for this purpose, I decided to make a skimming tool from a bit of fencing wire and some metal flyscreen mesh. The flyscreen is simply bent over the wire which means it can be replaced if needed.
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I?ll get back to you in an hour or so to show you the pour.

Cheers

Les

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2023, 06:20:20 pm »
After skimming the wax and checking the temperature, most of the waste water was drained off using a tap that is about 25mm lower than the product tap.
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The water is drained until a small amount of wax and slum gum exits via this tap. This means that most of the slum gum sits in a narrow band in between the two taps. The small amount of wax that comes out with the waste water will be added to the next melt. A small amount of wax is then drained into the waste water container from the product tap to clear any debris that may be behind this tap.
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The wax can now be poured into clean containers. I use a chux super wipe as a filter to catch any fine bits of rubbish still in the melt.
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About a cup of boiling water from a jug is then tipped into the wax. It will settle to the bottom and catch most of the really fine dirt that is still in the wax. The water also aids as a release agent when removing the wax from the container.
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There will still be 25mm block of dirty wax that will set in the melter. It will be removed tomorrow and also be added to the next melt. I will post the results tomorrow when the wax cools.

Cheers

Les

Offline max2

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2023, 01:15:24 am »
Looking good, Les.
My waxmelter from " Quality Beekeeping" works a bit different.

It does have heat control but no thermostate - simply numbers form zero to High.
I use a thermometer to get the right temperature.One of these infrared types.
I place about 30 cm or a bit more  of water at the bottom and then fill the rest with wax.

As it starts to simmer I take any floating rubbish off with a sive I purchased in Cambodia. Works a charm.

As all the wax is melted I have an attachment at the bottom for a garden hose and slowly let water lift the level of wax.
The wax overflows via a designed lip at the top into my container.
As soon as some dirt starts to overflow, I turn the water inflow off.

I have to let some of the hot water go to make more room for the next batch of wax. This also allows we me to discharge some of the dirt which has accummulated at the bottom.

I have had this wax melter for many years and it has been great to not only make very clean wax but also  clean frames. Worth every dollar I paid for it.

For small batches - eg when i make tealights - I only patially fill the melter and place a SS container with clean wax in the middle and then ladle the wax into the tealight cups.




Offline paus

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2023, 11:10:19 am »
When using any kind of remote temperature device, they must be used where there are no vapors between the device and the object to be read.  I tried to use one on a fish fryer and I read vapor from the surface of the oil, or vapors from the burner, when I tried to shoot the side of the stock pot that contained the oil and fish.  I am sure that vapor from the top of the wax melter will alter the true temperature of the wax.  I would only trust a contact type thermometer.

Offline NigelP

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2023, 03:02:35 pm »
Been watching this thread with interest as I purify my wax slightly differently. I use my air heated MelliFlow Pro (Lyson) to melt and filter. Essentially stick a little water at bottom of bucket, fix filter (usually close weaved hessian (burlap) to top of bucket add blocks of wax above filter and set if off at around 80C. Next morning nice clean wax in bottom and gunge in filter.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2023, 04:53:46 pm »
That?s an interesting method Nigel. I think that would work quite well. I?m just using the technique recommended by the manufacturer and it appears to work well. I haven?t checked the wax yet but will do so after breakfast. In saying that, I am already considering a few method changes to suit my situation. What I have noticed already is the time saved by using this style of melter.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Double boiler wax melter
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2023, 06:19:32 pm »
Just finished cleaning up the melter and popping out the wax blocks. As you can see from the photo, the wax set without cracking and the only fine grit was in a layer formed below the hot water line. This wax is now ready for use in candles. The melter worked exactly as I hoped it would.
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Next time I use it for cleaning wax, I will vary the technique slightly to recover the last remaining wax that sits in the melter below the top tap level. I have made a strainer that will push slum gum to the bottom of the melter and the water level will then be raised to bring the wax up above the line of the top tap. The remaining wax can then be poured off. I believe the best time saver will be when I use it to melt sticky cappings. It will be about a month before I have to perform my last harvest for the season. (And I still need a bit more time for my sore hand to heal). Please share any variations you have to this technique as we all look for time efficiency and quality of product when melting wax.

Cheers

Les