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Mummzie

Making foundation

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Starting a new topic so to not hijack the broodless conversation

Have you considered a foundation press? There are quite a few on Alibaba- quality unknown

If you want to search European sites- foundation is called middle-wall (Mittelwand in German)

www.alfranseder.com-  not remotely cost effective but fun to play with over winter. (could be cheaper to bring your wax down here and play with mine!)

 

 

Foundation.jpg

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I have just bought a silicone press to try (for fun), which I bought from Thornes in the UK. I doubt the cost effectiveness but thought it would be something else to play with. Is yours a flexible one or solid?

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@milkandhoney by flexible, do you mean the silicone mats? 

Mine is solid. the website quoted in my first post contains a video of it and its use.

Which did you get?

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Yes I meant silicone mats. I can only dream of the Alfranseder :) 

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On 10/05/2019 at 6:17 PM, Mummzie said:

 (could be cheaper to bring your wax down here and play with mine!)

 

Thank you - that is a generous offer.

I hadn’t realised that anyone here made their own. I had a look about and they seem to cost about $1200-1500 from memory. 

How have you found yours? I’d certainly have a lower threshold for replacing frames if it was easier and cheaper to get foundation (it wasn’t always in stock at local suppliers and they often had low limits on purchasing).

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Cheaper will never apply- unless there is a secondary driver like your wax being organic and when you send it for processing you cant be guaranteed to get your own wax back.

Anyone who needs more than hobbiest amounts of foundation will have enough wax to send for processing.

Home processed wax is not as purified as commercial wax- I would love to know the process it undergoes, but that will be commercially sensitive. At the very least it will go thru finer filters than chux cloths.

Other than that- its been a fun challenge to work out- even if in reality it is back engineering already vastly superior processes. I get adequate foundation which the girls seem to respond positively to.

Besides-what else do you do on wet winter weekends? The girls don't want to play.

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hi mumzie, how many sheets a year do produce,

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I have a 4.9mm mill and produce roughly about 100 sheets/ year and the mill came out of Poland.

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@kevin moore Enough to maintain 6 hives. There's a few failures which get remelted. Its much slower without the air compressor.  I've only  set up for production twice last year.

With the air compressor its reasonable to expect 20-30 sheets in an hour.

I am taking a relatively clean frame approach- if the comb is black and cant show light thru- its out. I have no use for the volume of honey I get, so am happy for lower honey volumes in return for fresh frames.

@Bighands- would you care to share your wax clarification process?

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7 hours ago, Mummzie said:

 

Home processed wax is not as purified as commercial wax- I would love to know the process it undergoes, but that will be commercially sensitive. At the very least it will go thru finer filters than chux cloths.

 

@Mummzie, I am sure you can purify your wax as much as possible to be of a commercial standard.

 

The trick is to melt the wax 3-4 times, and scraping off the gunk (when the wax is cold) from the bottom of the wax each time. Initially, for the first two steps (or three, if you like), the wax is melted in water (use boiling water from the jug to speed up the melting).

 

Strain the molten wax through a wire mesh with approx 1mm square holes (heat the mesh prior to pouring), and for the latter stages I do the double boiler method, and again, I scrape off the gunk from the bottom of the wax. The final pour goes into silver lined containers (eg milk, fruit juice etc containers - the wax doesn't stick to the sides) - put in half a cup of boiling water first. Once cold, peel off the cardboard. There should be little or no gunk at the bottom - scrape off and/or melt again if needed.

 

A tip I learnt from asking a question on here - to prevent the wax from cracking, let the hot wax cool till there's a sheen on the surface in the pot before the final pour. 

 

I did try straining molten wax through muslin cloth, but while this worked okay, this left with wax stuck to the cloth which was hard to scrape off and hence wasted. Better to use metal mesh.

 

There's some Youtubes on melting wax should you be interested.

 

 

 

 

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Many thanks @John T.  Dave Cushmans site has good info  on wax and mostly what you have described, but you added a few good tips. I pour the clarified wax into silicone cup cake containers as  they  cool quickly, peel off easily and they are smaller block to re-melt when using.

For the first melt (solar melter), I have some nylon mesh bags designed to be put over fruit to protect them from birds and insects. Its pretty good at separating the rubbish and bodies, and the gunk peels off  easily into the compost. Not much wax remains on the bags.

 

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Yay just what my son and I were trying to do today, this should help us

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Mummzie ,I just melt the wax and.  strain through a stainless steel kitchen strainer. let it set,scrape the bottom of the wax and use.The bees will sort the rubbish out.

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21 hours ago, John T said:

 

@Mummzie, I am sure you can purify your wax as much as possible to be of a commercial standard.

 

The trick is to melt the wax 3-4 times, and scraping off the gunk (when the wax is cold) from the bottom of the wax each time. Initially, for the first two steps (or three, if you like), the wax is melted in water (use boiling water from the jug to speed up the melting).

 

Strain the molten wax through a wire mesh with approx 1mm square holes (heat the mesh prior to pouring), and for the latter stages I do the double boiler method, and again, I scrape off the gunk from the bottom of the wax. The final pour goes into silver lined containers (eg milk, fruit juice etc containers - the wax doesn't stick to the sides) - put in half a cup of boiling water first. Once cold, peel off the cardboard. There should be little or no gunk at the bottom - scrape off and/or melt again if needed.

 

A tip I learnt from asking a question on here - to prevent the wax from cracking, let the hot wax cool till there's a sheen on the surface in the pot before the final pour. 

 

I did try straining molten wax through muslin cloth, but while this worked okay, this left with wax stuck to the cloth which was hard to scrape off and hence wasted. Better to use metal mesh.

 

There's some Youtubes on melting wax should you be interested.

 

 

 

 

hi john ared you making your foundation ?

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Hi @kevin moore, no, not making foundation but I have thought about it - especially since I thought wax prices were going up (still?). Someone here a few years ago was making foundation and was going to offer them for sale - I will have to do a search for that thread.

 

But here's the link the of the mould making process I think the forum member was using: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j35YXwcP2E 

 

It seems since then, there are new Youtubes on making foundation. Thanks to this thread, I'm now re-looking into this issue.

 

 

 

 

 

Found the thread - here - https://www.nzbees.net/forums/topic/7959-silicon-moulds-small-cell-for-casting-foundation/?tab=comments#comment-122892

 

 

@Matthew Brajkovich and @HSV_Darren, are you still around?

A correction - I was meant to say:  Someone here a few years ago was making foundation MOULD and was going to offer them for sale - I will have to do a search for that thread.

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@John T the moulds made by Matthew B look very similar to the ones available from Thornes as mentioned by @milkandhoney.

Great info about cooling slowly to retain some flexibility. 

Its a delicate balance to have the wax warm enough to pour and not harden before you get the lid down and having it too hot that the foundation is like filigreee lace.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Mummzie said:

@John T the moulds made by Matthew B look very similar to the ones available from Thornes as mentioned by @milkandhoney.

Great info about cooling slowly to retain some flexibility. 

Its a delicate balance to have the wax warm enough to pour and not harden before you get the lid down and having it too hot that the foundation is like filigreee lace.

@Mummzie, do you find the DIY foundation is more brittle? The NZ Beeswax product is manufactured using the 'Weed' process which is double rolled to reduce that - according to their website blurb. It's definitely way ahead of the locally produced rubbish I started beekeeping using.

Edited by Sailabee

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29 minutes ago, Sailabee said:

The NZ Beeswax product is manufactured using the 'Weed' process which is double rolled to reduce that - according to their website blurb. It's definitely way ahead of the locally produced rubbish I started beekeeping using

Then stay with the NZ beeswax product.

There's nothing wrong with commercial foundation- except that your own wax is sitting unused. DIY might be locally produced rubbish- but the DIY was the more important part.

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3 minutes ago, Mummzie said:

Then stay with the NZ beeswax product.

There's nothing wrong with commercial foundation- except that your own wax is sitting unused. DIY might be locally produced rubbish- but the DIY was the more important part.

 Sorry, crossed lines, the locally produced rubbish was brown, overheated wax from when we only had one bee gear supplier company locally. I'm all for DIY in general, but worry that if the foundation was less malleable, could have trouble extracting with electric extractor.

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17 hours ago, John T said:

Hi @kevin moore, no, not making foundation but I have thought about it - especially since I thought wax prices were going up (still?). Someone here a few years ago was making foundation and was going to offer them for sale - I will have to do a search for that thread.

 

But here's the link the of the mould making process I think the forum member was using: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j35YXwcP2E 

 

It seems since then, there are new Youtubes on making foundation. Thanks to this thread, I'm now re-looking into this issue.

 

 

 

 

 

Found the thread - here - https://www.nzbees.net/forums/topic/7959-silicon-moulds-small-cell-for-casting-foundation/?tab=comments#comment-122892

 

 

@Matthew Brajkovich and @HSV_Darren, are you still around?

A correction - I was meant to say:  Someone here a few years ago was making foundation MOULD and was going to offer them for sale - I will have to do a search for that thread.

 

Yes, I can make silicon moulds from any frame. They end up exact copies. One sheet for each side so the lay up pattern is the same. All made from food grade silicon. Slow process to cast but works well and you can make nice heavy foundation and the bees draw it out fast.

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1 hour ago, Matthew Brajkovich said:

 

Yes, I can make silicon moulds from any frame. They end up exact copies. One sheet for each side so the lay up pattern is the same. All made from food grade silicon. Slow process to cast but works well and you can make nice heavy foundation and the bees draw it out fast.

Does the silicon shrink at all? Most of the moulding resins shrink 10 - 15%.

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There will be a lot who disagree with me but I have always processed wax with water, never boil it or it will emulsify and the longer it takes to cool and settle (ideally several days) the cleaner the wax will be. It should be poured into moulds just as it is starting to skin on top. Pressing wax (from old combs) will always be darker than cappings wax. Cappings wax is necessary for making thin super foundation which is used for comb honey but personally I prefer pressing wax  when it comes to foundation. I have seen foundation made commercially but have never tried it myself. The leftover wax from the distilling of propolis is not suitable for foundation.

New Zealand beeswax foundation is sought after because of its quality and purity compared to the rest of the world. Adulteration with paraffin wax is something there must never be allowed to happen.

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On 14/05/2019 at 12:31 PM, Matthew Brajkovich said:

 

Yes, I can make silicon moulds from any frame. They end up exact copies. One sheet for each side so the lay up pattern is the same. All made from food grade silicon. Slow process to cast but works well and you can make nice heavy foundation and the bees draw it out fast.

whats a set of moulds cost ?

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It may not be the right thread however I don't want to open a new one just for a post.

Admin please remove if not in compliance with the rules.

 

I have a few years old solar beeswax melter to give away for free. Lately I don't have enough sun in my backyard(large trees shading) so I changed method.

It is made of pine wood(18mm thickness) well painted. Inside has corrugated steel sheet + some stainless steal and a 6mm glass on top. The top edge is sealed with wedge.

At the bottom end it has a compartment that fits three ice-cream containers to collect the beeswax. Inside loading bay 900mm x 500mm x 180mm.

Pick up in west Auckland.

Melter.JPG

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