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Author Topic: What size extractor?  (Read 580 times)

Offline Sledin

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What size extractor?
« on: April 16, 2019, 02:13:57 pm »
I what to keep my question general so others can search it later and use the information.

I know this is a question of opinion.

What number of hives make sense for what size of extractor?


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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2019, 02:58:32 pm »
Sledin,
When I first started out, I paid a beekeeper to extract my honey. I helped him do it. I only had 20 deep frames. He had a 4 frame motorized extractor. When we finished, I knew right then that I needed at least a 18 frame motorized extractor. I normally extract from 12 or more hives. The 18 frame does a great job. I would not want a bigger unit until I have a honey house due to storage requirements. I keep it covered up in my garage. Another factor is weight. This one is light enough to move around and load into my truck. The bigger ones are not.
The 18 frame motorized extractor from Mann Lake paid for itself the next year when we extracted 1200 pounds, 3 pulls that year.
Hope this helps.
Jim Altmiller.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2019, 03:43:12 pm »
I never bought an extractor until I could afford a 9/18 motorized radial.  I've never regretted it.  Until then I did crush and strain.

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Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 02:22:13 am »
I started with a present of an old 4-frame extractor made a 100 years ago.
then I got a 4-frame hand-cranked one. Used it only one year, cause
then I got a 6-frame self-reversing extractor from a friend - till I could afford a larger one. He had been extracting 300 hives with it. It runs for about 4 minutes on flower-honey. it is a matter of timing, really.
Now I got a 12-frame reversible (it holds two combs each in a pocket) which does the job in half the time. it can extract in 4 minutes, too, if honey will flow easily. We got 75 hives right now. It can do more. I won`t need another one. It yields up to 24 kg of honey in 5 minutes. this amount has to be handled!

BUT:
If the extractor stands still during work, there is one of two things wrong: either the time needed to uncap or move boxes to the uncapping procedure. or you can`t sieve or whatever the honey not fast enough.
so the size of the extractor is one thing. the timing of in and out is just as crucial.

The 12-framer we got now was standing still too much, I knew that in advance. And knew I had to refine the in and out so it won`t stand still other for unloading and loading. I hope I can have it humming continuously this season.

as I figure you guys are usually using radial extractors (mine is tangential), the diameter of the drum is a limiting factor. radial extractors have to have a certain size for good results and little breakage of comb. if using comb which has been bred in, this doesn`t matter much. But for good tasting honey, "virgin" comb is better and they tend to break in a too-small-radial extractor.
or the honey won`t come out enough for satisfaction, if you can`t speed it up more.
I went for the tangential one cause we got a lot of forest-honey, which is not so very fluid...

hope that helps.
I heard: 3 feet or a tad more would be minimum for good results for radial extractors. larger is better. but being able to handle - I don`t know - 100 pounds of honey running out of the machine in a matter of minutes should be considered.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2019, 06:38:32 am »
This is an interesting video with a really nice extracting setup.


Offline Acebird

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2019, 09:22:31 am »
It is not so much the number of hives per say as it is the time you have to get the job done.  If you are paying someone to do it then labor costs come into play.  I think multiple 4 frame extractors will service any sideliner's needs better than any single larger unit.
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2019, 09:27:46 am »
I have a 9-18 Mann Lake. I would not want anything smaller that that if you have five hives or more.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Sledin

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2019, 10:26:10 am »
It is not so much the number of hives per say as it is the time you have to get the job done.  If you are paying someone to do it then labor costs come into play.  I think multiple 4 frame extractors will service any sideliner's needs better than any single larger unit.
I was wondering if two four frame extractors would better serve me than one eight frame.
In that video it looked like they spent a lot of time doing loading and unloading an over size machine.


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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2019, 10:32:59 am »
The thing that takes the most time, on small scale operations is decapping.
Once decapped, you drop the frame in. When you are done extracting, you pull all of them out and drop them in a super. 18 at a time is really nice.
Jim Altmiller

Offline beemantn

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2019, 06:19:49 pm »
As you stated, this is mostly a matter of opinion, however some very valid points have already been made. With that being said I will tell you what an old beekeeping friend told me when I started. "Buy as big as your budget will allow!" I bought a 9 frame radial. Wish I had bought much bigger.

Offline Acebird

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2019, 07:20:23 pm »

I was wondering if two four frame extractors would better serve me than one eight frame.

It would if you spent the rest of the money on an uncapping machine or anything that improves the uncapping operation.  I had 3-5 hives and built a four frame extractor and uncapped by hand.  If I wanted to be a side liner I would get another 4 framer and an uncapper.  The next improvement would be buying equipment for drying out the  wax.  Big machines require capital and space.  You can produce a lot of honey without getting big.  I wouldn't even consider a big machine unless the operation was full time.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2019, 07:28:49 pm »
The thing that takes the most time, on small scale operations is decapping.

Which is why you don't need 18 frames to decap.
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2019, 09:38:57 pm »
Ace, we have had 230 frames to recap. I sure would of want to have to extract them 4 at a time. When I take them out of the radial extractor they are pretty dry. I worked with my father in law with my wife a few years ago extracting 4 frames at a time and having to rotate them. I could not believe how much honey he left in the frames with that machine.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Acebird

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Re: What size extractor?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2019, 08:29:34 am »
Jim, 230 frames divided by 4 is 57.5 cycles, times 6 min/cyc= 345min = 5.75 hours. One person for the uncapping and extraction.  Could use a helper for moving boxes.  What did it take you with an 18 framer?  We are only comparing radial extractors.
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