Sunday, November 9, 2014

Minding my Beeswax

I bought some beeswax....awhile ago.  As in a year ago.  A friend of mine in the honey business was learning how to take care of the beeswax and had lots of extra.  Local beeswax?  At a good price with no shipping charges?  I was in.  As it turned out, she had done for the first step in cleaning it, but to get the best quality, cleanest beeswax, it needed a second step.  I finally got around to doing it this fall, as I'd run out of my previous stash and all the cleaner pieces I had.


Yellow jackets that died a waxy death.
Cleaning beeswax isn't hard, but it does take a lot of waiting.  The first step for me was cutting it into smaller chunks to melt it down.

Wrenching off pieces of beeswax with a butcher knife is a workout like no other.
 


My "double boiler"--a #10 can in an old saucepan
Melting the beeswax down took awhile in my makeshift double boiler.  When melted, the pure beeswax stays on the top while the junk and bugs sink to the bottom.  I could then pour out the wax into silicone mold shapes and it wasn't long before I could pop them out.
 
For clean-up, I found a heat gun to be the handiest thing ever.  It was easier to wipe up melted beeswax than scrape it off the counter, floor, and stovetop.  I also used it to melt bits of beeswax off the blade and handle of my butcher knife, one of the few pieces of equipment that I've re-used.  On the plus side, I think the handle is permanently waterproofed!
 
 
Now I have a couple of bags of beautiful, dark golden beeswax in smaller, more manageable chunks.  (The honey scent is incredible, by the way.)  So what do I use beeswax for?  Several products--lotion sticks, lip balms, and sugar scrubs.

3 comments:

  1. Beeswax is so great to work with – thanks for the behind the scenes look at rendering and cleaning it. It has so many uses. Your bags of shapes are so cute =)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! They may not melt any differently, but there's no fun in boring-looking chunks of beeswax. :)

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  2. Wow! That looks like a lot of work! The finished beeswax looks great.

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