IanJ

Beeswax pellets

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I've noticed a few comments on here about how to break up beeswax blocks, and figured I'd throw in some info, and a question. The info: if you load up everyone's favorite internet retailer, Amazon, and search for beeswax, there are lots of vendors selling beeswax pellets for about $12/lb. Sounds easier to me than trying to break up a block of wax. The question: where are you guys getting beeswax blocks, and how does the price compare to $12/lb? (The beeswax I most recently used came from a farmer's market honey stand, and was perhaps $3 for a 1 oz stick, so pretty spendy compared to the pellets.)

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 I just used a hatchet to break up the +/-  25# block of "slum gum" (the wax at the bottom of the hive, I think). Then ,melted it down in boiling water to let the junk bee parts and trash to settle out. I let it cool, broke it up , melted again and poured into an old muffin pan for a mold and more convenient size to use. I paid $25 for the block, from a beekeeper I met at a craft show. He told me nobody really wanted it. After the boiling clean up, my iron can't tell the difference. I finally made my first batch of BLT yesterday with it. Can't wait to try it also.   Take Care            Dave

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Certain food industries uses pelletized beeswax. We used it at Jelly Belly for the final polish. I saw a fairly full fiber drum -10 gallon size or thereabouts one night at work. I asked the morning supervisor about it a day later when I saw him, and he told me that they had tossed it the day before because it was out of date. Rats!

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D'oh!  Certainly no problem with any expiration dates if you're just going to melt it over hot iron... ;)

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I get mine from the ladies in the hive out back.  

 

If buying get it in block form as that's the cheapest.  Freeze the block then use a cheese grater to make shredded beeswax.  

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I keep bees, so no problem there, but Dadant sells beekeeping supplies and sells a lb of the yellow stuff around 7 bucks a lb. 8 for the white, but you're not making candles, so who cares?

 

I know I've seen it about 5 bucks a lb in some supply catalog or another recently, but you might try various beekeepers in the area.

 

I end up tidying up the hives from time to time, and replacing a few of the frames once in awhile, plus you get some when you uncap the honey (by removing the wax caps with a hot knife) to harvest it.

 

Breaking up a block of wax should be easy. Heat a junk kitchen knife with a torch, wear a welding glove, and apply a small amount of force. Or just apply pressure with the point straight down a bit, then change to the blade and watch it break up like a hard cheese.

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Most beekeepers have some nasty beeswax that's half bee parts and other detritus. Especially the hobby keepers. Your metal couldn't care less if it's not candle grade wax. About a $1 a lb or better yet, free. Its almost always has a dark tint to it too which can help darken the metal.

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I bought a good-sized block of beeswax from a blacksmith supply shop. Can't remember the price but I thought it was pretty cheap at the time.
I figured it would be the bee's knees (sorry!) for a quick off-the-forge finish.
Used it once, but never again. I must be doing something wrong because it was not a finish anyone would admire ... just a sticky, gluggy mess. The metal was warm (not screaming hot or anything) enough to make it smoke a bit. Tried buffing it up. but still no good.
Anyway, I left it sit in my toolbox. One hot day it melted in the sun and glued all my punches and stuff to the floor of the box.
My relationship with beeswax is not a happy one.

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Sorry to hear that Ausfire. For straight beeswax you need to be pretty hot. The viscosity needs to be like hot oil and you should wipe off the excess. For small items i heat and rub solid wax directly. If I have to cover some serious ground i melt a pint or so and brush on hot metal. I used to used paste wax but it's not as hard of a finish. I also would mix in black shoe polish to darken iron, but dirty, unfiltered/unstrained beeswax seems to darken better. Smells a world better too vs paste wax. I like its finish better than oils also.

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I just read back over some old posts with the 'beeswax' tag. Seems I'm not the only one who finds it sticky and an attraction for dust. The answer may be to break it down with some turpentine and linseed as suggested there.
Alternatively, there are probably some commercial preparations (floor waxes and car polishes) that would do a good job too.

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I just read back over some old posts with the 'beeswax' tag. Seems I'm not the only one who finds it sticky and an attraction for dust. The answer may be to break it down with some turpentine and linseed as suggested there.
 

 

That is what we use at the shop I volunteer at. I'm pretty happy with it, although with the turpentine in it, it's not enjoyable to breathe. :blink:

 

I prefer to put it on at a black heat that's cold enough that it only smokes gently. Much like seasoning a pan. Then I'll keep checking it until it's allllllmost cool enough to handle, and I wipe it down. Other guys in the shop put it on hot enough that it burns, and makes for a really black finish, but I can't say I'm a big fan of the look, and those are the guys who say their work rusts quickly.

I'll note that with my method, I've had stuff hanging on the side of the barn for three years now, with only the faintest trace of rust beginning.

 

 

Edit: I should have mentioned that what we use has the consistency of paste wax, which makes it a lot easier to use than straight beeswax. IMHO.

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