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Author Topic: Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?  (Read 1656 times)

Offline gilligan

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Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?
« on: June 08, 2016, 08:44:46 pm »
So I built a small rinky dink solar wax melter.  Works well.

Put in a oven thermometer and I'm hitting like 225*F!

But I still can't seem to melt some old comb from a cut out.


Online cao

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Re: Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2016, 09:03:50 pm »
What you have left is the cacoons from the brood comb.  You won't get all the wax out of them. 

Offline gilligan

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Re: Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2016, 09:10:11 pm »
Are you saying all the wax has melted away from the cocoons at this point?

Online cao

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Re: Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2016, 09:11:33 pm »
Yes.  Probably all that you are gonna get.

Offline Rurification

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Re: Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2016, 08:44:05 am »
You can squeeze more wax out of the cocoons, but it will be HOT.  I generally just pitch them at that point.   I leave enough black stuff in the melter to draw heat faster when the sun comes out and then scrape it out of the way or take some out so the good stuff can melt.    Gotta love the sun for melting wax and leaving it a nice bright color. 

One more idea if you need firestarters.  You can take squares of fabric, wrap the gunk up and squeeze it out so the wax saturates the fabric, then pitch the cocoon garbage and you have a nice firestarter.   I love them.
Robin Edmundson
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Beekeeping since 2012

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2016, 09:35:03 pm »
The problem is not that there isn't any wax, it is that the cacoons act like sponges and absorb the wax. I have melted a bucket full of black comb down in a frier and got almost no wax because it is all sucked up by the cacoons.
They are not worth melting down when you are buying fuel to do it.
I have put black comb in my solar melter and I leave it in there for a long time, weeks on end to get as much as possible out of it.
By the way if you want white wax, leave the wax in the solar melter for a weeks or so and the sun will bleach it.

Offline CrazyTalk

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Re: Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2016, 01:02:05 pm »
I wonder if simmering in about 160-180 degree water would separate it. That's pretty much what we do to separate lanolin from sheeps' wool. The lanolin (which is a grease/wax) floats and the water drives it out of the fibers.

Might not be worth the time/fuel/etc though.

Offline KeyLargoBees

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Re: Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2016, 03:09:37 pm »
I use a turkey roaster and some of the garbage settles out but a lot of the cocoon material floats.....while wax isn't cheap its often not worth the effort to try and squeeze every drop out of old brood comb.
Jeff Wingate

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Offline Jim 134

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Re: Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2016, 02:56:07 pm »
           To get the wax out of slumgum you need a steam press. Is not worth it unless you have barrels full of slumgum. One of the last bee supply companies in the USA. I know to sell a steam press was Walter T Kelley.


               BEE HAPPY Jim 134 :)
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Offline Barhopper

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Re: Old comb not melting, should I get closer to the sun?
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2016, 09:32:56 pm »
Line your turkey roaster or crock pot with cheese cloth, add wax cappings and old wax, then add water, set it on low and a few hours later when it's all melted pull out the cheese cloth with all the cocoons and crap in it. Let it drain, squeeze it or not. Them let it cool and you'll have nice wax on the top.