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Beeswax: is there a difference?

Discussion in 'Sanding & Finishing - Woodturning' started by chippin-in, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. chippin-in

    chippin-in Founding Member Founding Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    I read a few old posts about using beeswax and how expensive it was in certain places. My question is when it comes to using beeswax does it really matter if it's yellow or brown or purified or just plain beeswax? I found it for sale for 12.95 a pound, and then Rockler has it for 27.95..."purified". I found cosmetic grade etc. Does it matter for use on turnings?

    Thanks
    Robert
     
  2. gman2431

    gman2431 Member Full Member

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    I use Georges that is a combo of beeswax and mineral oil. That little tub has lasted a long time for me. Works great at high speed on the lathe to get it hot and soak in if thats what your intent is.
     
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  3. chippin-in

    chippin-in Founding Member Founding Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    That is one of the waxes that people here have mentioned before and I will quite possibly use that, but I've also seen guys on YouTube just use straight beeswax and it looks as though it's pretty simple for use on a decorative piece. I am sure georges is simple also.

    Thanks
    Robert
     
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  4. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    I'll sell it to you way cheaper than that! How many thousand pounds you looking for?

    Yellow or Brown... The brown is typically caused by miniscule, often times even microscopic impurities in the wax Robert. It is possible to scorch wax and turn it brown, but what actually turns brown is usually the impurities in the wax. You can take really nasty looking beeswax, ugly, brown, chunks of goodies floating in it, and heat it in a manner where there is little or no movement, and render beeswax that will come off pretty and yellow every time. Solar melters are great for that... (Black box, metal lined with a spot for wax mold to sit under the metal pan, double paned glass lid pointed toward the sun. Just a little fall on the metal tray so the wax runs off real slowly. This allows the impurities to settle out, and clean wax to run off. )

    In the initial rendering process, while extracting, we wind up with a pile of what is referred to as Slum-Gum, combination of wax, dead bees, bits and pieces of wood and assorted other impurities, mix in with a little honey, assorted fine wire out of the broken frames, you name it. Looks terrible, usually smells not so good, but you can toss it in half a drum of water, drop a steam line in it and let it melt. Then remove steam, and let it settle a few minutes, and dip many many pounds of pretty pure yellow beeswax out of it.

    Cosmetic grade... There you're looking at wax with very few impurities. It'll be pretty and bright yellow with virtually all impurities removed. Do the cosmetic companies pay a premium for such wax? Yes, as a matter of fact they do. Do they pay $27.95/lb. for it? HELL NO! Not that I'm aware of!!! If they do I can hook them up with several thousand pounds of cosmetic grade wax! They may be running it through a high micron screen to filter impurities out, but I'd guess they're selling a line of B_S_ and jacking the price way up for plain old clean beeswax.

    We were told by the folks at Sue Bee Honey that there are a few producers that Wax Buyers specifically request their wax when they call up, because it is typically cleaner and has fewer impurities in it. Ours is as a rule amongst the top 5 on their list of most requested producers.

    What are the impurities? - microscopic bits and pieces of bees. Feet, wings, legs, bits of wood, little pieces of grass and leaves, bits of the cocoons spun inside the cell walls when brood is reared, pollen, dust, dirt... The impurities as a rule float or sink to the bottom in the melter. The beeswax and the vast majority of the impurities it holds, will float to the top of the honey where it contacts a set of coils and melts. Honey exits through a partitioned stand pipe in one corner, the pure beeswax floats off. End of the day you work the remaining wax out of the "Slum-Gum" as best possible, then drop your honey level below the coils before shutting down at night, and break the "slum-gum" out in the morning.

    Does the color of the wax have any impact on your project when using beeswax to finish?

    Yes and No... depends totally upon how high a luster you want out of your finish. If you're looking for a dull hand rubbed wax finish; it's not going to make a lot of difference. If you're looking for buffed high gloss sheen, it may cause some loss of luster. The impurities will be picked up in your buffing wheel and may impart fine scratches in the finish.

    The cleaner the wax, the better the shine you'll get.

    If you need some wax, I can certainly hook you up. We have it available in 1 lb. blocks, unless you want 40 - 50 lbs. of it. I can squeeze 1 lb. in SFRB, 2 lbs. in padded envelope, or 9 lbs. in MFRB. In another month or so we'll have some fresh stuff, that'll make you want you want to go hunt a biscuit every time you rub it into anything on the lathe.

    Color varies a little, but most of it will look like this if I dig it out of the bin for wood workin buddies.

    Beeswax.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  5. chippin-in

    chippin-in Founding Member Founding Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Well @rocky1 I guess that answered that. Im guessing your a beekeeper or make honey? LOL.
    Anyway, I might like to try a pound when it is available.

    Thanks
    Robert
     
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  6. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Beeswax and boiled linseed oil on Oak
    DSCF4396.JPG

    Beeswax and boiled linseed oil on Walnut

    DSCF4414.JPG


    I rub the oil in by hand, stick the chunk of wax up to the piece while it turns, and lay it on thick, then apply pressure with a rag or even by hand to melt it into the pores. No magic to it. After I'm done, typically put it on the buffing wheel, hence the fuzz on the calls above. These are some of my very early pieces... I clean the fuzz off them now!

    A more recent pair of Walnut Calls.

    NCM_0852_W.jpg
     
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  7. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Uhmmm... Yes sir, been involved in the business to some extent pretty much all of my life, doing nothing but that for the last 12 years.

    We do have some available now Robert, it just isn't as fresh and the aroma of honey isn't quite as strong. Still smells awesome when you heat it up on the lathe, just isn't quite as much honey smell to it. I'll shoot you a PM.
     
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  8. gman2431

    gman2431 Member Full Member

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    I might need some also Rocky if you're digging it out!

    Misewell use a product from a WB member since my George is getting low!
     
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  9. CWS

    CWS Member Full Member

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    Rocky
    What is the appox. cost get started with a hive of bees.
     
  10. chippin-in

    chippin-in Founding Member Founding Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Is that a 1:1 mix ratio?

    I thought this posted earlier. But now I get to ask another question with it.

    I noticed that some people mix turpentine with it. Is there some reason why they use turpentine in there? or is it just as good with just boiled linseed oil and beeswax?
     
  11. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    PM headed your way in a minute gman!


    Way more than we recommend anyone spend in this day and age Curt. Even with decades of experience it is extremely difficult to keep bees alive. While some hobbyist do well at it, because their bees aren't stressed like those in a migratory commercial operation, and may be isolated to some extent, most will lose their hive(s) within the first year, and definitely inside of 2 years.

    Cost of the hive of bees itself is now up around $150 for an established hive of bees. Additional boxes for your honey dependent upon what size they are will run you $25 - $35 apiece, you'll need 3 - 4 per hive. Queen excluder on each hive is advisable, another $10 - $12 per hive. Then you'll need a bee smoker, hive tool, hat and veil at minimum, bee jacket or bee suit if you're scared.

    Average hobbyist invests somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000 to $1500 to play with a hive of bees for a year Curt. Then the wax moths and mice get in it and eat everything up before they realize it. If you manage to keep them alive, you can split the hive and raise your own once you have one, but then you've got to spend $25 - $30 for one bee, plus overnight shipping, so upwards of $50 for 1 bee! Unless of course you want to get real serious and raise your own queens. Wherein you'll need cell cups, grafting tool, book on queen rearing. There's no end to it.

    It used to be really rewarding, we used to promote it, we still sell bees to people all the time, but we tell them flat out, if you're doing this simply to have honey, you can buy a LOT of honey for what you're going to spend on a hive of bees. If you're doing it to pollinate your garden, see if you can find a hobbyist or beekeeper locally that will bring you a hive of bees or two.

    If you're dead set on getting into it, do your homework BEFORE you buy a hive of bees. Try to find a local beekeeping club, hobbyist or beekeeper locally you can visit and get a little hands on experience, search the internet, talk to your local county extension agent, see if the local college offers a short course in beekeeping. Buy the "Beekeeping for Dummies" book, and read it cover to cover at least twice before investing in it.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  12. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Usually a 1:1 ratio if you're mixing it yes...

    Turpentine thins it makes it easier to apply. 1:1:1 ratio from what I've read. Don't know that I'd use the turpentine on anything you're going to put food in, but I'm sure some may.

    I'd probably thin it with a food grade mineral oil if using it on salad bowls or kitchen utensils instead.

    Some folks add Carnauba to it to afford a harder more durable finish to items that will see a lot of use in the field, like game calls.

    I haven't blended any yet myself, simply rub the BLO in, apply beeswax and rub it in, repeat several times until all pores in the wood are filled, then buff. As a rule I rub it by hand. Beeswax melts at about 115 - 120 degrees Robert. That's within the range of maximum SAFE setting for hot water heaters on a new install, so specified to avoid scalding anyone. It gets warm no doubt, but hold it as long as you can and switch hands, or use a rag. Keep using the same rag, the oils and wax in the rag will reduce what you need on each piece once saturated.
     
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  13. bamafatboy

    bamafatboy Member Full Member

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    I have a friend of mine that is a bee keeper and I get my wax from him. I do mix mine with mineral oil for my bowl finish.
     
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  14. Mike Mills

    Mike Mills Member Full Member

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    When I made some a few years back I used turpentine. Because that is what I was told. Seems to work just fine. I put a jar with the wax into a pot of water on low heat to melt the wax then poured in the turpentine.
    Maybe 25% turp. I took off the heat and allowed to cool. You can redo and add more wax or more turp for what you want. I added small amounts of turp twice so when cooled it was about like thick ketchup or yogurt. Stores well in an old liquid dish soap bottle.
    For food items I would use the mineral oil approach.
     
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  15. CWS

    CWS Member Full Member

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    Thanks for the information Rocky. This has been a great help. My plan was to set up a hive on my 30 acres of clover and let one of friends manage it and I would take some of the honey and let have the rest. Our apple tree .is in bloom and I have not seen a single bee. Thank again for sharing your knowledge.
     
  16. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    I'd seek out local hobbyist Curt, they'll probably offer you a jar or two for the use of the site, if they don't tell them you'd like a jar or two, I'm sure they'll oblige.
     
  17. Jeberly

    Jeberly Member Full Member

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    Rocky could you send me the price of your beeswax per lb. and do you sell packages of bee's say a 3 lb with queen?
     
  18. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    No sir Jim, we don't sell package bees, but I know a gentleman that does and I believe he gets up there somewhere in Ohio, I can forward you his number. Not sure whether he ships small orders, I do know he hauls a bunch of them up there himself. But, if he's close enough you maybe meet up and pick up a few.

    PM headed your way!
     
  19. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Looks like you need another post or two before we can do the Private Message routine Jim, make a few more posts!
     
  20. Jeberly

    Jeberly Member Full Member

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    Thank you
     
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