Bee's Wax

Michael

Active Member
I went to a BPCR match last weekend in UT, (110 shots for score, 2 days, 10 targets, 200 - 1123 yds) and came home with about 10lbs of bees wax that a fellow shooter figured I needed and gave me, this has not been cleaned.
Any suggestions on a good way to clean/filter the dirt, dead bee parts, etc. I have some of buffalo tallow that I can put with it along with maybe some lanolin, or something else to concoct some BP lube.
Many thanks.
 

Snakeoil

Well-Known Member
I imagine that you melt it and the debris floats to the top. I'd give that a try. Another option is to contact a local beekeeper and ask how he does it. If you were to strain it, I would think that the strainer would have to be hotter than the wax or you'll just end up with a plugged strainer. I know that they extract honey with a centrifuge. But I can't see that working for wax.

I know a couple beekeepers I can ask if you strike out locally.

And for what it's worth, I've used beeswax that had propolis in it. It is more of a tan color wax than the pure yellow beeswax. I would assume that the two separate when the wax is melted. But I've used it as-is and it made good lube using Paul Matthews recipe.
 

Dusty Bannister

Active Member
The time I cleaned beeswax was sort of a two part process. I am going to suggest that you break up your wax to make it easier to handle. In a disposable pan set up as a double boiler place the dirty wax chunks and then add water to a safe level below the rim. There is a candle hobby thermometer that might be helpful, but not necessary as long as you use a double boiler set up.

After the wax melts, let the pot set until the wax is firm but not hard. Remove the wax which is floating on the water and allow to cool further. You will see a layer of bee parts on the bottom of the layer and you can scrape that off. You have just removed the sugar from the honey and the bee parts and most of the dust.

The next step requires a double boiler so you can heat the wax a second time. While preparing the wax, fabricate a wire frame to be covered with old T shirt or similar material. Also assemble the flexible plastic molds so you can pour the was through the fabric filter and it will drip into the molds. It will be helpful to be sure the "molds" you use are dishwasher safe of the plastic might melt and then you can learn how to clean up beeswax from counters and floors.

I would recommend that this be a fall, winter or early spring project.
 

Snakeoil

Well-Known Member
old T shirt or similar material
Never would have thought that liquid wax would pour thru something that fine without simply plugging it up. Thanks for sharing that process.
 

Dusty Bannister

Active Member
Pour the wax hot, have some sag in the filter material, do not stop until done filling molds or out of wax. Once you stop, the wax will harden and you need a new piece of shirt. Material makes nice fire starter strips. Personally, the more worn out the shirt, the better. I have some cheese cloth that gets used with several layers to filter out parts, etc.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
I am by NO means an expert on this and have in fact learned a bit already in this thread, but I would offer one suggestion which one might find helpful.

I had a large cake-pan-shaped block of bees wax once, and one of my wife's friends wanted to come over and make candles, so I donated it to them for the project. Her friend, who was an incredibly sweet person, unexpectedly replaced the wax - went out and bought a big hunk and brought it to me.

It was pretty cool, because it was easier to stash than the big, flat slab I was using prior. It had been poured into a bread pan as a mould.

Getting some amount of wax off that big hunk is as bad as trying to cut or split a big hunk of lead into bits which will fit into a pot. In my ignorance and inexperience, I'd suggest casting/moulding the bees wax into pieces roughly the size of what we cast our lead ingots into. For what uses I've had for bees wax, it would be enormously beneficial to have smaller chunks to work with.
 

Rally

NC Minnesota
I’ve used cheese clothe with decent results , but was straining it mainly to use for traps. I have a friend that recommended using a cone shaped metal juice strainer with a coffee filter inside it. The “dollar store” filters seem much coarser, so I’ll try those first. For the record, a few “bees knees” doesn’t seem to make any difference in my bullet lube!
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
Dusty's way works very well.
i pour onto a big cookie sheet when i strain it and then cut it into about 1" strips just before it hardens.
 

Ian

Notorious member
Dusty has it right. FIRST, gently simmer it in a pot of water, stir the melted wax through the water for a while and then shut the fire off and let it cool overnight. Mainly, you're trying to get rid of the honey and there will be plenty of it in there. Taste the water after it's cooled and you'll know how much.

Next, strain it. Yes, the wax hardens in the cloth if you stop, but if you actually line a warm, empty pot with cloth, pour all the melted wax into the pot, and then bunch up the cloth like a paint strainer and slowly pull it up and let it gravity strain, the wax won't clog the cloth by freezing as quickly.

Fine, well-worn cotton cloth is best if you want bright yellow wax. The absolute best material I've found is well-worn, many times washed, high-thread-count cotton bed sheets. One layer is enough. If the wax starts freezing near the end or the cloth plugs up, put the whole strainer back in the pot that you had melted the wax in, warm it back up, shift the cloth around to a fresh section, and repeat the straining process. I took some dark brown (not scorched, just filthy old frame wax) and turned it into beautiful, lemon-yellow cakes by straining it three times through a 600-count bed sheet.
 

Snakeoil

Well-Known Member
Good discussion. Never considered that the honey would be contaminated with honey. But it makes perfect sense. I might just try to refine that wax I have, if for no other reason than to learn/try the process.
 

Mitty38

Premier Bigfoot Hunter
I get caps every once and a while.
Like was said double boiler, or at least heat slow and controlled.simmrr in water first to draw out the honey.
Then I just run mine thru the free hardware store cone type, paint strainers. If one gets plugged toss it to the side and grab another. You can save the wax coated paper cones to start fires with.
 
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John

Active Member
I have used uncleaned beeswax for flux. Bee parts, old comb parts and a little wire off of the frames it works well. I was given a bucket full several decades ago and I just keep it shut til I need it.