Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fun with Beeswax

    We are very busy this time of year at the Beez Neez rendering out cappings wax so we will have a sufficient supply of beeswax for the coming season.  My personal production of beeswax would not constitute a drop in the bucket of our need for rendered beeswax. Fortunately I have a friend, a local Ukranian, who is a small scale commercial beekeeper.  He has about 600 hives and has neither the inclination or equipment to render out his cappings wax.  We are in the process of rendering out about 4 fifty gallon barrels of his cappings wax.  We will end up with about 450 pounds of beeswax by the time we are done.  My employee, Quentin, who is quite particular about a good many things, has worked out a good system for rendering the wax with our Walter Kelly Cappings Melter. We sell a lot of the unfiltered wax to beekeepers who melt it and paint it on to plastic foundation.  We also use a lot of it to make candles in the fall and winter months when things are a bit slower at the bee store.

Our Walter Kelly Cappings Melter

A portion of this years beeswax production

    The other day we had a minor accident with the cappings melter. We underestimated the amount of wax we had put into the cappings melter for the second melt and the five gallon bucket overflowed onto the concrete floor of the shop.  That is really no big deal as we can simply scrape the wax off the floor and melt it again. What was cool was this long thin blade of beeswax that formed as the wax ran over the side of the bucket.  I once saw a similar ribbon formation in the Sonora Caverns in Texas.  The cave formation took a very long time to develop while this happened in a matter of 20 minutes.
A wide ribbon of beeswax that formed from an overflow

The photo doesn't do this justice.

    I have to admit that I really do enjoy playing with the beeswax.  I like making candles and pouring the beeswax into molds.   That is one of the main reasons I do the candle classes. They really don't add much revenue to the store but I enjoy teaching the classes.  Its hard to beat beeswax candles and honey as Christmas gifts.  To plagiarize Jonathan Swift, it is the gift of "sweetness and light".  

1 comment:

  1. And I love the candles you send us! They smell so great!