Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Solar Beeswax Melter

Recently, the beekeeper who has hives in my yard brought over some comb for the bees to clean up. The bees eagerly went to work cleaning the honey off this sticky wax.

After they were done with it, I put some of this wax in my solar wax melter to melt and filter the comb and hopefully end up with nice clean beeswax.  I had all the parts to make this solar wax melter so it cost me nothing. It's made from a large Styrofoam box that my medicine comes in, a piece of plexiglass that was laying around, some nylon door screen that was also laying around, a piece of paper towel to filter the wax and a bungee to hold the plexiglass on.

First, some water was put into the Styrofoam box, after which the door screen was put across the top of the box and held in place with sewing pins. After that, I laid a paper towel on the screen and put the messy comb on that.  Finally, the plexiglass was placed on top and held in place with the bungee cord. The box was placed in full sun and allowed to sit there all day. When the wax melted through the paper towel, it dripped through and fell into the water, where it hardened. The wax floated to the top and any honey still in the comb  sunk to the bottom. Later the next morning, when it had all cooled down, I scooped the wax out using a little fine mess strainer. 

Here is the fresh, unmelted comb:

Here is what's left, a day later. All brown stuff is junk I don't want in the beeswax. But I saved this dirty waxy paper towel to use as a fire starter for when we want a fire in the back porch fire pit.

And here is the nice clean wax that I will use to make candles with: