November 22, 2012

Rendering Bees Wax

To get the honey out of the frame, beekeepers scrape off the outer capping. This capping seals the honey in the frame. When the capping is scraped off, it contains wax (bees wax). However with the bees wax, is also some honey, dirt, and a few dead bees. I am fortunate, that the local beekeeper GAVE me his entire seasons worth of cappings to play with. If I am going to make lip balms, soaps, candles and other products I might as well figure out how to render pure bees wax for myself. So here is my first attempt:

First off, I took the advice of those before me, and purchased all used equipment from Goodwill and the Dollar store. Once something is used for wax, it will never be good to use for something else. Also, I learned that if you think you may spill wax everywhere.... you will. So be prepared and lay down a plastic table cloth and line your floors with newspaper. Trust me on this one.

  So this is what the cappings look like. You need to melt is very slowly and never leave it alone. Bees wax is highly flammable.  Like I said, along with the wax there is a bunch of other stuff, so we need to separate it.

The plastic bag has all my cappings.  The pot is melting everything down. Once I got it all melted down, I poured it through the sieve, into a bucket. All the big chunks were caught, but notice the dirt particles settling at the bottom of the bucket. This is a good thing.

All the wax will float to the top. At the bottom you will have honey, water, and sludge. The wax on top will begin to harden and turn yellow. From there you just pop it off!

At this point, this is where I messed up.  I allowed some of the already separated wax to harden, then poured more melted wax on top.  NOT a good idea, as the second batch of dirt simply settled on the wax, and I made layers. This made things quite messy.

Next time I will pour the wax into smaller containers, and if I have more to melt down and add, I will use a different bucket all together. I think it would be easier in the future to have a giant pot and melt it all down at the same time as well.

This is an example of what it looks like if you pour one batch into a container. This is mostly all beautiful wax.

Once the wax hardens, you simply life it out of the container. We are not finished yet though, because there is still some dirt stuck to the bottom of my wax.  That is normal.  I did learn to ADD WATER to the wax when melting it, so the wax does not adhere to my container. So go back to the beginner, and add water.

To get rid of the rest of the dirt, all I did was melt the wax down in a double boiler, and strain the wax into a clean container through clean panty hose (dollar store), stretched over the container.  One again the wax will harden.  When I need wax I simple shave or break off a piece, melt it down and do whatever I want with it!!!

Here, I poured the wax into a log we found to adhere some thorny branches to it.  It smells heavenly!

The great part about all this is that Lara is learning right alongside me. Right now she is making lip balm in the kitchen. I'm trying to stay away so she can make mistakes on her own. I don't smell smoke so I think it is going well ;)

We figure that our current stove will become the 'shop' stove. Cleaning the messes we are making is NOT fun.

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