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Author Topic: Wax Dipping Woodenware  (Read 21993 times)

Offline Sebashtion H.

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2017, 01:33:18 am »
being a woodworker i know the glues are water clean up, with that said in the video he glues them and seems to dip them the same time (no  24hr cure time) wouldn't this just void the gluing aspect, and the fact you are cooking the boxes at a high temp would that not just melt out the glue even if it is cured.

Finger joints don't need glue if you can keep the wood from rotting around the nails and mating surfaces.
thanks, not trying to be rude but that didnt answer or help with the question of hot wax melting or washing the glue out and some of us that don't build with finger joints but build with rabbits.

Offline Sebashtion H.

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2017, 01:34:28 am »
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Hives1.jpg

These were dipped in 2004 and have been in the weather every since.

thank you Michael they look great!!!!! I love the aged look on beehives!!!

Offline Acebird

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2017, 10:04:52 am »
thanks, not trying to be rude but that didnt answer or help with the question of hot wax melting or washing the glue out and some of us that don't build with finger joints but build with rabbits.

Most likely the glue is toast.
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Offline Live Oak

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2019, 03:53:20 pm »
I dipped mine in 2006 or 2007 and they mostly look like new.  Some grain seems to absorb it less and that has turned a little gray in places, but most looks like brand new wood.  People who do it seem to think it lasts a lot longer than that... I won't be able to say for a few more years... :)

Michael, I DO realize this is a very old thread but it seems that after I conducted a search that it is apparently the only one on this topic.  I recently purchased a 50 gallon stainless steel pot for Beverage Depot as well as about 200 lbs. of micro-crystalline and 240 lbs. of 130 degree paraffin wax from Aztec.  I already have a Bayou Classic KAB6 Bayou Cooker 210,000 btu propane burner.  I am going to try starting off with a 50/50 mix of the micro-crystalline and paraffin wax and adjust from there.  I am going to eventually experiment with gradually adding bees wax in place of the paraffin once I use up the paraffin wax as I found out it has an approx. 147 degree melting point.  In theory it should be a good fit with the micro-crystalline wax which as a 180 degree melt point. 

I guess my questions are, have you done any more wax dipping since back in 2007/2008?  Before I purchased the wax dipping equipment/supplies, I tried buying some wax dipped woodware that was dipping in a mix of 130 degree paraffin wax and gum rosin.  It felt greasy and I can already tell I will not like it once the temperatures are up in the 90's +.  Hence why I purchased the micro-crystaline wax. 

I see you have had a number of questions asking you about how your wax dipped boxes are holding up so I won't add to them but I WILL ask now that you have gone the wax dipping route and have had a number of years of use and experience with it, what if anything would you do differently, change, NOT do, etc. ? 

With over 100 hives and plans to double that this season, I am soooooooo tired of painting boxes only to see them last maybe 4 or 5 years and in more than a few cases much less due to fire ants and other ants hollowing out the boxes building nests.  I have 50 brand new 6 frame nucs that I want to start off with wax dipping and I hope to gradually phase in replacement boxes, etc. as my other woodware gets replaced. 

I tried starting off on the smallest scale I could think of with the 50 gallon pot and may consider upgrading to the wax dipping tank that Ian G posted over on Beesource.  He has over $5,000 tied up in that wax dipping tank and wax.  That was just a bit more than I wanted to try starting off with being that I have never used wax dipped woodware until this year and as I am apparently observing unless you tell me otherwise, you have not wax dipped any woodware since 2007/2008???  That is a LOT of money tied up in a wax dipping tank that gets use only a few times in 5 years unless I decide to wax dip for other beekeepers and I am not even sure there is much if any demand for it. 

Thanks in advance for your reply to this old thread and please feel free to include any other thoughts or suggestion you may have on this topic. 

Offline beeman2009

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2019, 10:55:35 am »
Live Oak,
beeman here from north of you in Portland. I built  my own wax dipping setup this past winter for the same reason. I have no hands on field experience yet but made my decision based on what I've read & know about wood properties. Also ran across a beekeeper in College Grove TN that showed me some wax dipped cypress boxes he was using that he said he bought over 20 years ago. All I can tell you is they looked almost new!!! He had some of them stored outside, uncovered & said he always stores them that way. So I thought I would try it myself. Was wondering if you would mind sharing your wax source info? That stuff is pricey$$$$

Thanks in advance. Let me know how it works for you.
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Offline Live Oak

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2019, 01:05:29 pm »
Was wondering if you would mind sharing your wax source info? That stuff is pricey$$$$

Thanks in advance. Let me know how it works for you.

Sure thing!   I purchased my wax from Aztec.  They are located in Knoxville, TN.  Here is a link to the waxes they carry:

https://www.candlemaking.com/candlemaking/wholesale-wax.html

Based on their recommendations and the best price I got the wax linked below:

https://www.candlemaking.com/igi-5715-microcrystaline-wax-66lb-case.html

https://www.candlemaking.com/best-seller-igi-1230-multi-purpose-wax-60lb-case.html

Yes INDEED it IS very expensive.  The wax typically will cost more than the wax dipping tank, lid, burner, gloves, and other things needed to dip. 


Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2019, 10:07:33 am »
>Michael, I DO realize this is a very old thread but it seems that after I conducted a search that it is apparently the only one on this topic.  I recently purchased a 50 gallon stainless steel pot for Beverage Depot as well as about 200 lbs. of micro-crystalline and 240 lbs. of 130 degree paraffin wax from Aztec.  I already have a Bayou Classic KAB6 Bayou Cooker 210,000 btu propane burner.  I am going to try starting off with a 50/50 mix of the micro-crystalline and paraffin wax and adjust from there.  I am going to eventually experiment with gradually adding bees wax in place of the paraffin once I use up the paraffin wax as I found out it has an approx. 147 degree melting point.  In theory it should be a good fit with the micro-crystalline wax which as a 180 degree melt point. 

>I guess my questions are, have you done any more wax dipping since back in 2007/2008?

Most every year since 2012.

> Before I purchased the wax dipping equipment/supplies, I tried buying some wax dipped woodware that was dipping in a mix of 130 degree paraffin wax and gum rosin.  It felt greasy and I can already tell I will not like it once the temperatures are up in the 90's +.  Hence why I purchased the micro-crystaline wax. 

That is not NEARLY hot enough.  I'm using beeswax and rosin, but anything below 250 F won't cook the wood which is what you need to do.  Anything significantly over 250 F causes issues with boiling over.  You need to cook them for 10 minutes.  If the water isn't boiling in the wood you're not really accomplishing anything.

>I see you have had a number of questions asking you about how your wax dipped boxes are holding up so I won't add to them but I WILL ask now that you have gone the wax dipping route and have had a number of years of use and experience with it, what if anything would you do differently, change, NOT do, etc. ? 

I'd love to have a slightly bigger tank and I'd love to make one that is heated by pressurized steam to 250 F and eliminate the open flame of my old gas stove.  But so far I haven't got that done.

>With over 100 hives and plans to double that this season, I am soooooooo tired of painting boxes only to see them last maybe 4 or 5 years and in more than a few cases much less due to fire ants and other ants hollowing out the boxes building nests.  I have 50 brand new 6 frame nucs that I want to start off with wax dipping and I hope to gradually phase in replacement boxes, etc. as my other woodware gets replaced. 

I wouldn't say that cooking them is less work, but I think the wood lasts longer.

>I tried starting off on the smallest scale I could think of with the 50 gallon pot and may consider upgrading to the wax dipping tank that Ian G posted over on Beesource.  He has over $5,000 tied up in that wax dipping tank and wax.  That was just a bit more than I wanted to try starting off with being that I have never used wax dipped woodware until this year and as I am apparently observing unless you tell me otherwise, you have not wax dipped any woodware since 2007/2008???  That is a LOT of money tied up in a wax dipping tank that gets use only a few times in 5 years unless I decide to wax dip for other beekeepers and I am not even sure there is much if any demand for it. 

Here we are dipping in 2016: http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeeCamp2016/DippingBoxes2.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeeCamp2016/DippingBoxes1.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeeCamp2016/DippingBoxes2.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeeCamp2016/DippingBoxes3.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeeCamp2016/DippingBoxes4.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeeCamp2016/DippingBoxes5.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeeCamp2016/DippingBoxes6.jpg

Here we are dipping in 2018: http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeeCamp2018/WaxDippingBoxes.jpg

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Offline Live Oak

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2019, 02:24:32 pm »
Thanks Michael!  That was very helpful.  I see you even got Hillary to help with the dipping.  Cool!  When I get started dipping, I'll get some pictures and post them for you. 

Offline William Bagwell

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2020, 10:06:27 am »
Noticed in Michael's 2018 photo they were dipping previously painted boxes. Can you also dip wooden ware that has been linseed oiled? Have very little painted equipment, just some I bought used. Very first hive was straight linseed oil, have since have thinned it with odorless mineral spirits so it penetrates better and drys quicker.

Do I need a thermometer? Or just gage the temp by how much it is boiling? Will be working outdoors in either case...

Have a long steam table pan on order so this will be a tiny rig to do one side / edge at a time. Mainly screen bottom boards and a pollen trap. Can not afford to fill a large tank even if I had one :sad:

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2020, 12:29:22 pm »
>Can you also dip wooden ware that has been linseed oiled?

I'm sure you could.  Yes, I dip old painted ones as well as new ones and sometimes if they were dipped before I might do it again if they start looking dried out.
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Offline William Bagwell

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2020, 09:56:44 pm »
Thank you! And I now know I do need a thermometer. Not sure how I missed that but it had been a few months since I read your page on wax dipping.

Disappointed in my stainless steel steam table pan. Just a tiny bit too short to do the long edge of thin wooden ware. Thought it would be ideal (other than labor intensive) for items with screens since you do not want wax all over the screen. Back to the drawing board...

Also waiting to hear back from a local source for wax. They also have gum rosin which the candle supply company Live Oak posted does not. If their prices are not too high can save a bit on shipping by picking it up.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #31 on: September 25, 2020, 11:43:02 am »
As for the question of how long wax dipped woodware lasts.  We have boxes that were dipped 25-30 years ago that have been in continuous use as brood chambers ever since. Exposed to all weather extremes. Based on time elapsed and current condition, my thumbmeter says they will easily last another 10+ yrs.
Painted boxes start deteriorating at the corner joints between 5-10 years. And those see only intermittent summer use as honey supers.
Deck and siding oil-preserve stained boxes hold up into the 10-15 year range in continuous use, then start rotting along the bottom edges of the box.
In summary, if you want to do it once and have the boxes last as long as you will, then do the hot wax dip. Do not skimp on the equipment setup. As per Mr Bush, high temperature 250-275 F is necessary.  Full immersion is necessary.  Do it right.  Do it once. Or do not do it at all.

CAUTION:  Like a turkey pot fryer or fries deep fryer, the wax level needs to be low with lots of head room in the tank or it can overflow. When the woodware is put in and comes up to temperature the moisture within it will boil out.  This creates bubbling and foaming as the water vaporizes.  If the tank level is too high, hot wax spits droplets and foam will overflow out the top.  MAJOR FIRE HAZARD!   Wax fires are near impossible to put out, they have to be left to burn out.  Only do this operation outside and well away from buildings and other assets.  An overflow WILL destroy your shop, your house, your neighbours house, etc.

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 06:28:15 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2020, 07:51:18 pm »
I agree with all of the above.  I have a used propane stove that I bought cheap and I have it thirty or forty feet from any building.  I have a long hose going to a BBQ size propane bottle.  If I ever had a fire, I'd turn off the propane, disconnect it,walk way and let it burn.  The important thing is to never leave it unattended.  The flashpoint of beeswax is 400F (204C).  If you keep a thermometer and don't let it get over 275F or so then your only issue is boiling over or running over.  I find at 275F it tends to boil over.  That's 2 parts beeswax and 1 part rosin.  It would be different with different mixtures of different waxes.  Paraffin and gum rosin is common.  Micro crystalline paraffin is another.
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Offline William Bagwell

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #33 on: September 26, 2020, 09:51:31 am »
What is the minimum safe 'head room"?

Still looking for a cheap improvised tank to get started. Have priced metal to fabricate a full size tank. Ouch! Not wanting to spend that much for just my own equipment. Will ask around the local clubs and if no one else close is doing 'dipping for hire' may build one in the next few years. Getting close to retirement so this might be a good side line for later.

Local wax: Asked for price and minimum quantities on paraffin, micro-crystalline and gum rosin. Got a partial answer...

Gum rosin is $1.85 per pound with a 55 lb minimum and in stock. 130 degree melt paraffin is $1.53 per pound with a 50 lb minimum. This is only a few cents a pound more than the source Live Oak posted. Unfortunately the brand I asked about is not stocked in Georgia. The micro-crystalline is sold by the pallet not box so a 1,675 lb minimum. Nor was a price quoted.

Then inquired about a higher melt paraffin or a comparable product in a different line. (They sell several...) Sales person then asked how often I would need the micro-crystalline and did not answer my question.

And yes, know I do not need both gum rosin and micro-crystalline. Have not decided which mix to use.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #34 on: September 26, 2020, 02:00:25 pm »
Head room.  1/3rd
Your cheapest tank is a standard steel honey drum filled to half along with the barrel lid.  For heat retention and keep the operating bills down wrap it with 2 to 4 inch mineral wool insulation, outer aluminum shield, and a fairly wide rim flashing around the top ledge of the insulation to prevent drippings or overflow from getting into the insulation.  You can go with electric or propane/gas for heat underneath.  Do not use an immersion heater.
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Offline William Bagwell

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #35 on: September 26, 2020, 10:00:33 pm »
Thanks for that info HoneyPump! A barrel is certainly cheaper than fabbing a rectangular tank. Downside is it will take almost as much wax to fill to 21" as a tank and only do one deep at a time. Decisions decisions... Do like the insulation idea. Never would have thought to look for mineral wool. Local building supply even stocks one size and can order others.

Just re-read this thread from the beginning and Grandpa Jim (Reply #9) back in 2012 mentioned using a pan made of 1/4" aluminum. Think I have found my improvised tank! Exactly what it is and why I have it would best be discussed down below in one of the non bee subfourms . But will get me started without spending a dime on a tank and half or less on wax. Plus it will still be still be useable for its intended purpose if I ever want to restart that boondoggle.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 05:52:19 pm by William Bagwell »

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Wax Dipping Woodenware
« Reply #36 on: October 04, 2020, 04:25:03 pm »
>What is the minimum safe 'head room"?

First, just be sure to insert anything slowly and pay attention so you don't overflow.  Second, allow another two or three inches after it is full of boxes for it to boil.  I put four boxes in, but not all are in and not all of the box is in.  My tank does two and two halves of eight frame medium boxes.  The bottom box is all the way under.  The next box in the stack is half way under.  The next box is there to hold the other two down.  One box is on end in the middle and it is halfway immersed.  With that I need about six or eight inches.  But it will depend on how much bigger the container is than the boxes how much the level goes up when you add the boxes.
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