The weather has been so appalling that it has been impossible to do anything in the apiary other than hefting and clearing hive entrances of snow.
I have therefore been back in the workshop trying to work with freezing cold tools. The solar wax extractor has been given a new lease of life. This started off about thirty years ago as an ex RAF carpenter’s tool box and rather than have it sitting empty under the bench I jig-sawed a hole in the lid, fitted a pane of glass and a Heath Robinson interior. This lasted for several years until the lid rotted away and I built another lid. This was followed by a rotting box which was replaced to fit the existing lid. The story now becomes a bit like Gerard Hoffnung’s barrel of bricks.
The last two lids were double glazed but not with a properly sealed unit so they soon got full of condensation which speeded the rotting process.
We were having the local glazing company make up several replacement double glazed units for the house so I tagged another unit on to the order fit the existing lid.
Of course, you’ve guessed it. The lid was too rotten so I had to make yet another one to fit the new glazing and the existing box.
The result is illustrated below.
This wasn’t prohibitively expensive and something I should have done long ago. I’ve tested it in our present cold weather and provided the sun is shining it will melt a stocking full of scrap wax in a few hours; so much more efficient.
A note of warning to those of you about to build your own wax extractor. Make sure the box is wide enough to suspend your hive’s sort of frame from it’s lugs so you can completely clean out and sterilize the frame simultaneously.