Ok, so the idea here is to end up with pure yellow beeswax by removing all of the impurities in the raw comb and honeycomb cappings from the extraction.
You will need:
- 1 Pot
- Baking Cheesecloth
- 1 strainer
- wax mold or something to contain the melted wax
The steps involved are:
- Adding honeycomb, cappings from extraction and any wax from the hive into a pot
- Filling the pot up half way with water
- Slowly melting the wax
- Straining out the larger dark pieces by dipping the strainer into the wax after it has melted
- Letting the beeswax harden
- Removing the hardened beeswax and draining out the water.
- Putting the wax back into the pot without the water and melting it back down.
- Pouring the melted wax through your strainer lined with cheesecloth into a mold.
- That’s it!
All of the honeycomb and cappings from extraction, including this thick brown brood comb can be used. I put everything from the hives that is wax into the pot. The bad stuff will be filtered out in the end.
After you add the wax to your pot fill your pot up about half way with water. It is not crucial that you add a lot of water you just want enough to cover your wax. Set the temperature to a medium heat and just let it melt slowly. There is no need to boil the water to get it to melt.
As the wax melts there will be dark pieces that float to the top and a lot of fine dark material that will lay beneath the melted beeswax. You can use a small strainer to scoop into the pot and remove the larger pieces. It is not necessary but may make the filtering process easier.
Here is what is removed when you use the strainer. It is called slumgum. It is comprised of everything in the pot that is not wax and can be used as a fire starter or in your smoker just to name a couple of ideas.
Here is the melted beeswax after I have strained out the larger pieces. Now it is time to turn the burner off and let the wax harden so that it can be removed. This particular amount of wax took about 2 hours to harden.
Here is the hardened wax. You can now press down on one side to release it from the sides and so you can get a hold on it to remove. The water underneath the wax may be hot so be careful. After you pull the wax out set it aside and dump out the remaining water.
This is the hardened disk of beeswax after I have pulled it out of the pot. The brown stuff on the side is fine debris that my strainer didn’t catch. Here is a picture of the same disk from the front.
Now it is time to break this up and put it back in the pot for the second melting. I was going to try to scrape all the brown stuff off before I remelted it but it turn out it doesn’t matter as we will filter this out after it is remelted.
This the hardened beeswax melting for the second time. I nice low heat is all that is needed to melt it. It may take a half hour or so to completely melt the picture below shows just a little wax that remains to be melted.
At this point take your strainer and fold in 4 – 6 layers of baking cheesecloth and hold over your mold and pour the warm beeswax into the mold. If you see any brown debris let it harden and the remelt it and use more cheesecloth when you filter it back into the mold. 2 layers were not enough but 4 worked great for me.