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Author Topic: Comb honey. A journey of learning  (Read 22007 times)

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #60 on: December 21, 2021, 04:09:46 pm »
I just placed some rounds into the modified frame ready for placement on a hive.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #61 on: December 21, 2021, 06:06:26 pm »
> When I use thin foundation to fill the cavity, the problem disappears.

Very encouraging!

>My next thought was to have a circular starter strip running all the way around the inside of the round. This would be a tremendous guide for the bees and also give them wax to play with to help fill the gap. In other words, I wanted a washer of wax to fit into the round. I mentally designed different sized cutters to perform the task but eventually dismissed the idea due to the extra time it would take.

Sound reasoning!

>Pretty cool hey.

Very

>The bees were like kids in a lolly shop. They loved the wax an started drawing it overnight. I'm hoping for good results when I check today. 

I am hoping you get the results you desire Les... All ideas above sound good to me... The inner wax ring starter you have described and pictured, is a good idea I am thinking. You should know soon..
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 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.

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #62 on: December 21, 2021, 09:44:23 pm »
Just got back from the hive. Pulled out three frames from the super. The first frame is one of the early timber rounds. It was filled with foundation. An interesting point to note is area close to the round was not filled completely.  There is a slight yellow appearance to the cappings wax. This is caused by a weed that the bees work during the hotter months.

The second photo is the foundationless rounds put on the hive in the 29th of November. There was some evidence of bee access holes but the couple of holes were quite small. There were some areas (especially lower on the rounds) that were not completely filled. This could be a trait of the timber rounds. It would be interesting to see if they would get filled if the frames remained on the hives for a week or two longer.

The rounds were located either side a foundationless frame that the bees filled last month.

This was also harvested.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #63 on: December 21, 2021, 10:33:32 pm »
Les in comparison to everything you have posted of your experimentation process so far, I like the picture of the rounds which feature thin foundation in your reply #14 and 15, which was a result of your reply #13. The picture of the final results show the natural beauty of the comb displaying the clear vision of the side view/edges of the combs themselves. The transparency of the plastic is the key to the added beauty in my opinion. Adding complement to the top and bottom of the comb, giving a 3D appearance with nothing to hide, and everything to please. 

Do you anticipate the bees finishing the wood rounds you have just posted in your last reply #62? I would really like to see these in a similar picture as that you posted in reply #13, for curiosities sake. 

Thanks,

Phillip


I attempted featuring all three pictures here but I failed. Sorry.

Reply #15
« Last Edit: December 21, 2021, 10:55:37 pm by Ben Framed »
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 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.

Online .30WCF

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Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #64 on: December 21, 2021, 10:55:25 pm »
Les in comparison to everything you have posted of your experimentation process so far, I like the picture of the rounds which feature thin foundation in your reply #14 and 15, which was a result of your reply #13. The picture of the final results show the natural beauty of the comb displaying the clear vision of the side view/edges of the combs themselves. The transparency of the plastic is the key to the added beauty in my opinion. Adding complement to the top and bottom of the comb, giving a 3D appearance with nothing to hide, and everything to please. 

Do you anticipate the bees finishing the wood rounds you have just posted in your last reply #62? I would really like to see these in a similar picture as that you posted in reply #13, for curiosities sake. 

Thanks,

Phillip
Seeing them out of the frame would give a good comparison.
I?m picturing attempting something similar for some hives in the spring. I might bore out the centers of some of the limbs I?m cutting for fire wood and build frames around them. Just a few. It would be cool to give someone a log round with the bark still on it filled with comb. Kinda like a small version of the natural cutting boards, but hollowed out and filled with honey comb. Might just wrap it it in waxed cloth and hand it to them that way.


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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #65 on: December 21, 2021, 11:02:25 pm »
Les reply #15

2 Chronicles 7:14
14 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.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #66 on: December 21, 2021, 11:05:05 pm »
Les my apologies, my copies did not come out as good as your originals. If you would like to add yours go right ahead, If so I will delete these copies..

Phillip

2 Chronicles 7:14
14 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.

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #67 on: December 21, 2021, 11:13:02 pm »
Hi Phillip,

They are back on the hive. Will give them a bit more time to see if there is any change. I do agree that the clear rounds with the view into the cell structure is a really magnificent sight. The foundationless frame will be cut into chunk honey this afternoon. Thee work never stops. At this time of year chunk honey is a bit of a winner. It is still a good value adding way of presenting comb and honey. I will post some pictures of the timber rounds in a couple of weeks for comparative purposes.

If I were to evaluate the process so far, there are a few areas I would like to comment on.

1) The frame design works extremely will. Rounds come out easily when the are full of honey. The idea of bee access holes needs further exploration.
2) The clear rounds are easy to construct and look the part when taken out of the frame. They may end up as a better proposition than the timber sections at this stage. Sourcing new material for the rounds will be essential if they are to be made commercially.  PLA bio plastic may be a good option in this area.
3) Thin foundation gives a more consistent result compared to starter strips. The homemade foundation did not impact on the taste or texture of the comb. (There were no negative comments made by people sampling the comb in this regard) Use of foundation does require a bit more work.
4) correct bee space is essential if the comb is to be well formed.
5) A strong hive and a good honey flow are essential if good results are to be achieved. Bad weather and rainy periods cause a break in the honey flow and can result in comb shapes changing slightly.
6) Swarming during the flow also causes shape changes in the comb. (Both appear to be caused by partially consumed honey being eaten by the bees and then cells being prematurely capped)

I will keep experimenting and trying to improve results. I am sure that there are other comments that people would like to make to improve the process. Please contribute as we can all learn from this.

I would like to present another idea that I have been working on. I have also been playing with square sections. This is a different design altogether. I haven?t looked at the frames that I placed in a hive for about 3 weeks now. I might go and drag one out so that you can have a look at it.  The square frame comb section idea is not new, I?ve just adapted it to suit my needs. I?ll see if I can get one to show you. Will get back to you in a couple of hours.

Cheers

Les

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #68 on: December 22, 2021, 12:21:45 am »
"Lesgold"
I will keep experimenting and trying to improve results. I am sure that there are other comments that people would like to make to improve the process. Please contribute as we can all learn from this.

I would like to present another idea that I have been working on. I have also been playing with square sections. This is a different design altogether. I haven?t looked at the frames that I placed in a hive for about 3 weeks now. I might go and drag one out so that you can have a look at it.  The square frame comb section idea is not new, I?ve just adapted it to suit my needs. I?ll see if I can get one to show you. Will get back to you in a couple of hours.

Cheers

Les



Thanks Les, I am glad you chose to join and contribute here at Beemaster.

Phillip

2 Chronicles 7:14
14 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.

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #69 on: December 22, 2021, 12:50:14 am »
Thanks Phillip.

I am happy that a number of members have contributed and put forward a range of excellent ideas. 

.30WCF, you make a good point about the comparison. My wife did take a couple of photos before I put the frames back on the hive. I decided not to post them as the sections were not completely filled out. I?ll grab one and pop it up shortly.

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #70 on: December 22, 2021, 12:59:55 am »
Here it is. It doesn?t look too bad but would it would be better if each cell was filled and capped.


I?ll put up a link for the starter strip construction. Sometimes a bit of video explains more than what my rambling would ever do.

https://youtu.be/jbcJFBqHrME

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #71 on: December 22, 2021, 06:20:56 pm »
Hi Folks,

Time to start looking at the square comb sections. Again, it was something that I experimented with a few years ago. I attempted to use timber strips that folded to a square. Saw cuts were made part way through the timber to act as fold or hinge points with the final joint being a butt joint that was glued. A saw cut was placed on one face to hold foundation and then the squares were fitted to a standard deep frame with packing blocks, wedges etc to hold everything in place. I struggled to get the accuracy needed and found that every deep frame that I used was slightly different in size. I made a block of 8 squares and put it onto a hive but gave up after that as it was going to be a lot of work. After that disaster, I decided to make cut comb instead and bought a collection of packaging containers. I made some cut comb for a while and when the flow finished, I put the remaining empty containers into storage. When I undertook a workshop cleanup during lockdown, these containers turned up. It was early spring and the bees were actively bringing in nectar. I thought it was time to put these containers to good use. I had already started making rounds at that point so I thought it could be a good comparison and test if I were to make square comb sections at the same time. The first task was to come up with a simple frame that I could make quickly and accurately. I thought about all types of fancy joint work and joining techniques but they would take time. A simple butt joint was the answer. A staple placed in each corner was more than strong enough to hold the square together. A simple jig to hold sides together while stapling was constructed and I was up and away. Timber prep was so easy. Long timber strips were cut on the saw bench and then the drop saw was used to cut material to length. Here?s what I ended up with. You will notice that I have already put starter strips on each comb section.

8 frames then butt together  to fit inside a deep frame.

Each frame is exactly the same size and is square due to the jig that I made. Just for reference, the squares are 105x105mm. Each frame is 30mm deep and the thickness of the pine is 4mm. Full sheets of thin foundation or starter strips can be installed using the same process as the rounds. That was the easy bit done. The next part of the design process was the frame to hold the squares. I?ve just pulled one off a hive so I?ll get a couple photos and show you how it works.  Will be back a bit later on.

Cheers

Les

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #72 on: December 22, 2021, 10:55:20 pm »
The 8 squares were just placed into the frame. Time taken to perform that task was about 30 seconds. Here it is ready to go back on the hive.

The overall dimensions match that of a standard deep frame. Just for a bit of eye candy, this is what the frame looked like when I took it out of the hive.

And one of the honey sections when removed from the frame.

The secret to this frame is actually hidden from view.

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #73 on: December 22, 2021, 11:10:13 pm »
The top and bottom bars of the frame are actually linked by a piece of threaded rod hidden inside of the end bars. Tee nuts on the bottom and wing nuts on the top allow pressure to be applied the the square sections.

If you look carefully, you may just see the ends of the tee nut and the wing nut. The end bars have a slot cut in them to cover the threaded rod. High density foam is attached to the end of the bars to allow help hold them in position. The end bars can also be pushed to apply some pressure to the sections as you tighten the frame up. The end bars were needed so that correct bee space could be maintained and the threaded rod covered.

This system is very simple. The frame works well and does away with the need for any custom packing blocks etc. The squares take very little time to assemble and the results are obvious. Each square sits nicely in a cut comb box ready for labelling.

Cheers

Les

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #74 on: December 24, 2021, 02:30:49 am »
Sorry to back track but I just pulled another one of the frames with the plastic rounds in it. They filled this one right to the edge (as they did on the last test frame) This frame came from a different location to the earlier one shown. The results appear consistent at this stage. The honey flow will finish within a week so things will slow down considerably. Hope you all have a merry Christmas. Will catch you in a few days with another idea that I have developed.

Cheers

Les

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #75 on: December 27, 2021, 08:06:09 pm »
Hi Folks,

Time to show you the last style of comb honey that I?m experimenting with. This type of frame is actually a mini frame that sits in a specially made super. There are a lot of advantages to this type of comb honey production but I?ll talk about that later. We have all seen frames from mini nuc?s and that was the starting point for this design. I took a standard frame and thought to myself ? how can I use some of the critical measurements used here and come up with a small, uncomplicated frame requiring very little time and effort to construct??  The solution was surprisingly simple. First of all the complex joint work had to go. As these frames were throw away items that only had to be manipulated and moved a couple of times, strength was not a major consideration. Butt joints utilising a staple on each corner was the chosen option. Top and bottom bars were constructed from 25x6mm material and end bars were made from 35x8mm pine.

A simple jig was constructed to hold all components in place.

And then each corner was stapled with a 16mm staple.
 
The top bar has a 4mm overhang that allows it to sit into position within the box. Thin foundation or starter strips are then added before it is placed into the super. Each super holds 30 frames. I don?t have a spare super to show you. The two that I have made are on hives at the moment. I will grab some photos tomorrow or the day after when the cold, rainy weather disappears.

Cheers

Les

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #76 on: December 28, 2021, 08:26:57 pm »
Good morning Folks,

Just had a look in one of my mini frame supers to see how the comb is developing. The flow has pretty well stopped and I will have to wait 2 or 3 weeks before the next one starts. That?s not an issue as I?m hoping that a lot of the comb has been formed in the frames ready for the next lot of nectar to come in. Here?s what the half box looks like.



It?s 120mm deep and is made to the usual 10 frame dimensions. Where it changes is on the inside.



As you can see, there are two 19mm dividers and small rebates to act as frame supports. The small rebate on the ends are 8x8mm. The dividers are dropped 8 mm from the top edge of the box.



From this photo you can see how the frame sits on the support rebate. You may also notice that there is no bee space allowance on the ends of the frames. All bee movement occurs between the frames. Any propolis buildup is basically restricted to the bottom corners of each frame (and a little bit  on the top bar/ frame support) I allow about 1mm gap for the frame. This allows for frame or box expansion/ contraction and also for any construction error. This system has worked perfectly so far.  You will also notice the two stapling methods I used for frame assembly. Originally, 2 x narrow crown staples were used on each corner but after some testing, I found that a 16mm wide crown staple was more than strong enough to do the job.

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #77 on: December 28, 2021, 08:46:31 pm »
As I?m always testing and looking for improvement, I decided to use 50% thin foundation and 50% starter strips on this box to see how they compared. The box was placed on the hive about two weeks ago (just as the flow was slowing) The foundation was drawn faster than the starter strips but I?m assuming that when a flow is in full swing, there wouldn?t be a lot of difference between the two methods. Most of the starter strips are at least 90% drawn with only a few that are at about 25%. As you would expect, all starter strip comb is large cell which implies it is the most efficient way for the bees to store honey. Here is a pic of one of the thin foundation frames



And one of the better foundationless frames. Notice that the bees are already starting to cap this frame.



The bee access points will be filled in as more nectar comes in. I have yet to pull anything but full, complete frames using this approach. What I do like about this method is the ability to move frames around so that the bees draw and fill them evenly. This allows for good comb shape which is critical for the appearance of the final product. I will pull some capped frames from another hive in the next couple of days to show you what the end product looks like.

Cheers for now

Les

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #78 on: December 28, 2021, 11:56:54 pm »
Thanks Les!

Great job mate.

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #79 on: December 29, 2021, 03:45:13 pm »
Thanks Bee North. I?m really pleased with how this method is working out. The bees love working the mini frames and take to them quickly. This is what they look like when I pull them from the hive.



The comb consistently comes out looking like the one above. The beauty of this system is that you can take small quantities of comb as they are capped and replace them with empties. I did find however, that you must take 10 at a time and manipulate the frames so that all new empties are in one block. If you don?t, it upsets bee space and distorted combs will result. This is how I have started packaging them.



They are lightly vacuum sealed so that most of the air is removed. (If you go too far, the comb gets crushed) They are easily frozen this way. Labelling can be added later. When sold from home or at the markets, this method is readily accepted by customers. If the product were to be sold in a retail environment, something more substantial may be required.

Cheers

Les

 

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