Thursday, September 10, 2009

When Life Gives You Honeycombs, Make Beeswax!

I made this yesterday.

What is it, you ask? Why, it's a bar of beeswax! I melted it down from this:

Dave brought home a bag of honeycomb that his colleague had given him. The bees ate all of the honey that was left after the comb was harvested, so it was just a bunch of wax. I melted it down, sorted it out, and rigged up a mold. I've never done anything like this before so I decided to just jump right in and figure it out. I messed up several times, but finally got to my desired end result!

I needed to put the honeycomb in something i could boil it in. It wasn't going to fit, so I grabbed some tongs.

Filled the jar.

By this time, my water was ready!

In went the jar!

Progress check:

After about 15 minutes, all that was left was a jar of sweet-smelling goop.

Here was my first mess up. I let the wax harden in the jar and realized I couldn't get it out! I put the jar back in the boiling water just long enough for the outside to melt. Then I tipped the jar up so the wax came to the front and stuck a butter knife in and cut it in half. I sliced off the bottom where solid particles had settled in the wax.

I wanted to create some sort of mold so that I would end up with a solid block of wax. I thought that putting some Saran wrap in a little container and re-melting the wax would work well. I shoved my solid pieces in here and popped it in the microwave.

After I took it out of the microwave, there was this weird brown stuff in there! I grabbed a fork and scooped it out. No big deal, right?

Wrong. The wax had gotten so hot in the microwave that it melted the Saran wrap. That's what that weird brown stuff was in the cup!

Whoops. I had to think fast, because the wax was cooling. My next great idea was to make a bar-shaped mold out of tin foil. I had wanted to make a foil mold in the first place, but knew I couldn't put it in the microwave. It should have occurred to me to make a tin foil mold and melt the wax in a different container. Oh well. I'll remember next time!

I was able to pour the wax into the foil with only a couple of drips on the counter!

Then to let it set...

After it cooled, I peeled back the foil to expose my solid bar of beeswax!

Then I attempted to smooth the edges by running the bar under hot water until it was pliable. It was still a little bumpy and fingerprint-y but it was good enough for me.

So that was my first experiment with melting down honeycomb for beeswax. I wasn't looking forward to cleanup, but I found that if I ran the dish or utensil under really hot water and then scrubbed it with LOC kitchen cleaner, it came off quite easily! (But you have to use the LOC. I tried it without and it didn't work, hence the reason I used it!)

Dave said he will probably be bringing more honeycomb home, so I'm looking forward to perfecting my technique! I don't know what I'll do with all this wax... Maybe I'll make a candle when I get enough, beeswax smells heavenly!

1 comment:

  1. That was awesome, good job on the problem solving. You should definitely turn some into candles. And then post pictures! I want to see how you do it.