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beekeeping wax 
18th-Feb-2006 07:12 pm

been looking into wax a fair bit lately. not an expected direction, but looking back a pretty obvious one.

have looked to many references for colouring of wax. the easiest is white wax.  basically it's boil it up (in seawater plus 'niter' - funnny how i have potassium nitrate lying around ;). once it's boiled ... ahhh pictorially this is easier:



 

based on:

How to make waxe whit. Chapter XXXVIII

Waxe, is made whitte in this maner first that binde of waxe (sete for this
purpose) ought to be whytter and purer, and brokine into little pieces, put after into a new earthç Panne, powringe upon sufficient salte or Sea water, and a little Nyter brused, which seath al together. When ý same hath boyled twise or thryse up, remove the panne frō the fier, the waxe beynge throughlye colde take furth of the Panne, & scrapynge of the filthe, if any such hang on, put again into new salt water, seathing it againe. And when the waxe hath so often boyled (as above was taughte) then take of the Panne from the fyer, and takynge the bothome of a new earthen Panne, melt it with cold water, which dyppe by lytle and lytle into the waxe, drowning it a litle, and that the water be above the waxe, wherby the waxe may become very thinne and be the soner coeled it self. And takyng by & by oute the Moulde or bothome, draw first the round Cake of, and wetting again the bothom in cold water dyppe it into the waxe, and the same so long doe, untill you have drawen of all the waxe, into Cakes of lyke sorte, which after stytche throughe with thread, hanginge the Cakes on a rope, one frô another, and that in ý day tyme often wetting them in ý Sunne, but in the night time in ý Monelight, & so lô doe this, untill the waxe be whyt. That if any desireth to have waxe whitter thç this, then let hym do the like, as above sayd, but boile the waxe oftner. Some in steede of ý Salte Sea water take strong Bryne water, in whiche they boyle the waxe in the same maner twise or thrise, as above was taught. And Paulus Iuardus in his boke of côfectiones, teacheth the makyng of waxe white, two maner of wayes.

see below for the this and other grand recipes from yesteryear



we start by boiling it all up. i collected seawater, and added 'a small amount of nitre' about a teaspoon worth. the wax that's being melted down is nasty. it's full of wax moth silk and grubs and general not fun to be stuff. it's going to be a challenge to make this white.i doubted this recipe would work.




after the 1st boil i left it to cool, still in the pot. i was amazed at how the wax clearly settled above the silk and crap.  i scraped the 'dross' off and set about another boiling



once that had cooled i discovered that the layers had clearly seperated again. the wax looked visably yellower and had very little in the way of bee bits left. again i scraped off the gunk from underneath and reboiled.



this is the junk from the 1st and second boiling. there is alot more wax in the second boil as it didn't seperate quite as seperately.  i left the image large coz when i made it 320x240 it was really hard to see the bits of wax moth grub in the 1st boil.




the 2rd boiling relly seemed to compress the wax tighter and there was very little junk left. it was a simple run under the tap to wash this remaining stuff off.

 


having been amazed at the interesting fact (wax floats and will seperate. unknown if it's sea/salty water that causes this. will bother another day to fine out)  passed down to me by a person from nearly 500 years ago i boldly moved onto the next step.

the wax is again melted down over water, and the a wooden spoon dipped in cold water is pressed into the top. it is then taken out and the bits cool on the spoon.

 

these 'cakes' are then place on paper to dry

 

with the remaining melted floaty i tried other named methods, and earthernware pot dipped in water then the wax this does pull off easily):

 


and straingin through cloth into cold water.

 

everything is then hung out to dry in the sun. the bigger disc is the strained wax. it's pretty thin.






below are the sources i took these from:


The Profitable Arte of Gardening, now the third tyme set fourth: to which is added muche necessary matter, and a number of Secrettes with the Phisick helpes belonging to eche herbe and that easie prepared. To this annexed. Two propre treatises, the one entituled The marveilous Government, propertie, and benefite of the Bees, with the rare Secrets of the Honny and Waxe. And the other, The yerely Conjectures, meete for husbandrie to knowe: Englished by Thomas Hill Londiner. Ars naturam adiuuans. Imprinted at London by Thomas Marshe.

This book attached:
A pleasant Instruction of the pafit orderinge of Bees, with the marveilous nature, propertie & government of theim: and the myraculous uses, bothe of their honny and waxe (serving diversly) as well in inwarde as outward
causes: gathered out of the beste writers.
To whiche is annexed, a profitable treatise, initialed Certaine husbandly conjectures of dearth and plentie for ever, and other matters also meete for husbandmen to know, &c. Which is now Englished, by Thomas Hyll, Londoner. 1568.

      The maner of drawing and making waxe of the Combes. Chapter XXXIIII.

The honnie being drawen from the Combes, althoughe some Bees hâg on them dead, yet put altogether into a fayre panne or Cauldrone, into which power so much water or more, as the quantitie of the Combes be. This sette over a soft fyer, untill the same what it be, is throughlye heated and meltine in the panne, and in the melting contynually sturre the same about, with a big splatter or some staffe, leaste, the waxe cleaveth to the Panne sydes, throughe the flame or heate of fyer, and appereth burned, after powre the whole substâce into a course bearen Bagge, pressyng it furth into a Troefe or other like vessell made for the only purpose, on whyche powre two or three kettils full of hotte water, that no dregges hange after on the waxe, and by that meanes shall you have the waxe both pure and cleane. But if you will have it caste into fayre round Caekes, and to be cleaner & purer then mealte the waxe again, and being moltine, powre it into a cleane vessell, which washed the like with warme water (as above was taughte) set after in the Sunne, by which meanes the Cake wil continew very long faire of colour.

      How to make waxe whit. Chapter XXXVIII

Waxe, is made whitte in this maner first that binde of waxe (sete for this
purpose) ought to be whytter and purer, and brokine into little pieces, put after into a new earthç Panne, powringe upon sufficient salte or Sea water, and a little Nyter brused, which seath al together. When ý same hath boyled twise or thryse up, remove the panne frō the fier, the waxe beynge throughlye colde take furth of the Panne, & scrapynge of the filthe, if any such hang on, put again into new salt water, seathing it againe. And when the waxe hath so often boyled (as above was taughte) then take of the Panne from the fyer, and takynge the bothome of a new earthen Panne, melt it with cold water, which dyppe by lytle and lytle into the waxe, drowning it a litle, and that the water be above the waxe, wherby the waxe may become very thinne and be the soner coeled it self. And takyng by & by oute the Moulde or bothome, draw first the round Cake of, and wetting again the bothom in cold water dyppe it into the waxe, and the same so long doe, untill you have drawen of all the waxe, into Cakes of lyke sorte, which after stytche throughe with thread, hanginge the Cakes on a rope, one frô another, and that in ý day tyme often wetting them in ý Sunne, but in the night time in ý Monelight, & so lô doe this, untill the waxe be whyt. That if any desireth to have waxe whitter thç this, then let hym do the like, as above sayd, but boile the waxe oftner. Some in steede of ý Salte Sea water take strong Bryne water, in whiche they boyle the waxe in the same maner twise or thrise, as above was taught. And Paulus Iuardus in his boke of côfectiones, teacheth the makyng of waxe white, two maner of wayes.

      How you maye make red waxe. Chapiter XXXIX.

That you maye colour & make waxe redde, take to one pounde of waxe, three ounces of very cleare Turpçtine, if it be Sumer but if it be winter, then take fower ounces. Now these disolve & melte together over a softe fyer, and taking it from the fyer, let it coele a lytle, after whiche put in your vermylone finelye grounded on a Marble stone, and of sweete Salate Oyle, of eache one oûce, myring these wel, stur altogether diligentlye. But some in the steede of Vermilon do take the red Leade, which is little commended, excepte ther be three times so muche of the redde leade, as of the Vermione put in. And in the lyke sorte may you make ý Grene wax, if in steede of ý vermylone, you take so much of ý Green Coprose finelye grownd, as you dyd of vermylone.

****

The Feminine Monarchie, On A Treatise Concerning Bees, and the dve ordering of them, Wherein The truth, found out by experience and diligent observation discovereth the idle and found conscipes, which many have with tem acent this subject. By Char: Bulter Magdi. At Oxford, Printed by Ioseph Barnes. 1609.

Chapter 10, Pg 3.

26
This natural yelow wax is by art for certaine purposes made white, red, and greene.

27.
Wax is whited after this manner. Take the whitest and purest wax, which, being cut into smal pieces, put into and earthen vessel, & powre sea-water or brine into it as much as may suffice to boile it. And cast in also a little niter: al set this over a soft fire: when it hath boiled up twise or thrise, lift the vessel frô the fire, &, the was being presently cooled with cold water, take it out, and when you have scraped of the drosse, if any such hang on, & put it into other salt water, seeth it againe. And having boiled up twise or thrise, as before, lift it from the fire againe: and then take the bottome of an other earthen pot, or a little round bord with a handle in the middle like a churn-staffe, but without hoales: and having first wetted the bottom of it in cold water, dip it into the hot vessel, & aslone as this wet bottome toucheth the wax, pul it out againe, and you shal have sticking to the bottome a thin cake, which whç you have take of, wet the bottome againe, and dip it as before: and thuse do til you have taken up al the wax in cakes. These cakes hange in the open aire upon a live drawne through them, so that they may not touch one an other, besprinkling them with water in the sun-shine until they be white. If any man would have waxe whiter, let him boile it oftner, & do all other things in like manner as before.

28
To make waxe red, Take to one pound of was, in sommer three ounces of cleere turpentine, in winter fowre. These dissolve over a soft fire, and by & by take it of to coole a little. Afterward mixe ther-with the red root of anchusa or vermilion, well grounde on a marble or glasse, & sweet oile, of each one ounce: stirre al these and mix them wel together. For want of vermiliô they take three time so much red lead but that is not so good.

(Note, there is a note the first time just before Vermilion saying “Cinabrium” – could this be what the “red root of anchusa”  is?

29
To make greene wax take in steed of vermilion the like quantity of vert-degreece.

*****

The Office of the Good House-wife: With Necessary Directions for the Ordering of her Family and Dairy, and the keeping of all such Cattle, as to her particular Charge the over-sight belongs. Also, The manner of Keeping and Governing of SILK-WORMES, and HONEY-BEES; both very delight-some and Profitable, By F. B., London, Printed by T. Radcliffe, and N. T? for Richard Mills at the Pestle and Mortar(?) without Temple Bar, Anno Dom. 16?

133
…after that the Combs are thoroughly pressed and washed in sweet water, they shall be cast into a Copper or Brass Kettle with some water, and so set upon a soft fire to melt; this Wax thus melted shall be strained, letting it run out into water, and then being melted again with water, you shall make it up into what form you will.

The Perfect Husbandman, Or the Art of Husbandry. In Four Books.
I.    Of the Farm, or Mansion House, Offices, Accommodations of Arable
Ground, Pasture, and Meadow.
II.   Of Gardens, Orchards, and Woods.
III.  Of Breeding, Feeding, and Curing of all manner of Cattel.
IV.   Of Poultry, Fowle, Fish, and Bees, with the whole Art (according to
these last Times) of Breeding, and Dyeting the Fighting Cock, and the Art of Angling By C.H. B.C. and C.M, Ingenious Artists, London, Printed and are to be fold by Thomas Buffet in St. Dunstans Church-yard in Fleet Street. 1657.

p.372 …The drosse that remaineth, after the pressing, after that you have diligently washed it in sweet water, must be put in a brasse Caldron, & putting a little water thereto melted upon the fire, which when you have done, you must straine the Waxe through a Sive, or such like thing made of Straw, or Rushes: and after seeth it againe, and powring it into some vessell with water, from whence you may easily take it, make it up in cakes, or what fashion you like. Pliny writeth, that the Coames must first be washed well, and afterward dryed in the darke, for the space of three dayes, & the fourth day set upon the fire in a new earthen vessell, so as the Coames be covered with water, and then strained through a Sive: last of all, boyled againe in the same vessell, and the same water, and powred into vessels with colde water, having their sides nointed with hony. The Waxe will be very white after it hath stook in the Sunne, and beene twise
sodden: you shall make it blacke with the Ashes of Papre, and being mingled with Vermillion, it will be red, and so otherwise coloured as you list.

****

The ordering of Bees: Or, The true history of managing them From time to time, with their hony and waxe, shewing their nature and Breed. As also what Trees, Plants, and Herbs are good for them, and namely what are
hurtfull: together with the extraordinary profit arising from them. Set forth in a Dialogue. Resolving all doubts whatsoever. By the late unparalelled experience of Iohn Levett, Gent. London, Printed by Thomas Harper for John Harison, 1634.

p.51
Petralba: After what manner doe you deale with your Combes to try out the waxe.
Tortona: The manner thereof is so common and well knowne to every one, as I shall not need (but for forme sake) to say any thing thereof. And therefore I will be the more briefe. When the honey is all gotten out, put all you Combes (as well those that had no honey in them as the rest) into a good quantity of faire water, (of this water some make a kind of drink called
Meath) which if you doe change your Combes into other water, and boyle them a little while, till the Combes are well melted, then put the Combes and water together into a Canvas bagge, made like an Ipocras bagge, viz. narrow at the lower end, and straine as much as you can thorow the same, letting it runne into a vessell of cold water, casting away the rosse that remaineth in the bag. After this, gather the wax well together and melt it in a posnet or such like at a soft fire, and let it be made into what forme you please, but if it be not purified at the first trying well enough (as peradventure it will not be) then try or melt it againe, first having scraped or pared of the rosse that settleth at the bottome. But if you will have your waxe very yellow, you must not put to it the Combes, of your swarmes that you drive, but try that by it selfe, for the waxe of swarmes is muc whiter then the waxe of an old stocke; and being tried with it, will make it have a more pale colour then otherwise it would have. And this is as much as (in my conceit) shall be needfull to be done concerning the well keeping and ordering of Bees.

****

A Discourse or Historie of Bees. Shewing Their Nature and usage, and the great profit of them. Whereunto is added the causes, and cure of blasted Wheat. And some remedies for blasted Hops, and Rie, and Fruit. Together with the causes of smutty Wheat: All which are very usefull for this later age. Written by Richard Remnant. London, Printed by Robert Young for Thomas Slater, dwelling in duck lane at the white Swan. 1637.

p.36.
      How to make wax.
In making wax, you must put both your pulse and dry combs together into a kettle, and put an indifferent quantity of water thereunto, and make it boyle on the fire: then take a thin cloth bag very strong, or a haire bag, and crush it as hard as you can; and have seething water ready by you to put into the bag, and to cast on the outside of the bag, and wind it up close, and crush and squeeze it hard. This do three or foure times, and the wax will come clean away. Then let it stand in the keelar or bowle till it be cold; and then take up all the wax from the water, and melt it again with a little water in the bottom to keep the vessel from burning; and being melted put it into a pan or vessell, of what size you think fit to make your cake or tren of was: but first annoint the vessell by the sides with a little hony, or butter, and so the wax will come clean off.

beesuit
Comments 
20th-Feb-2006 08:34 am (UTC)
Wax floats on ordinary water too- that's how I used to make dip candles. Use a large narrow pot (to get longer candles using less wax), or my fav method was to use a tall tomato or fruit juice can sitting in a pot of hot water. Mostly fill the pot with water, but add enough wax to get a layer about an inch thick. Heat until the wax melts, then start slowly dipping your wick in the wax. Each time you dip & pull the wick out it gets another coat of wax, and gradually a candle builds up. If you dip for too long, the wax already on the wick starts to melt, and your candle gets skinnier! Ditto for if you don't leave enough time between dips. After a while you get into the right rhythm.
For speeding up the process, tie 2 or more wicks to a pencil or stick & dip them both at the same time (you may need a wider pot).
20th-Feb-2006 09:06 am (UTC)
oh yeah! why didn't i think of that *grin*

that's pretty much what is happenign here, aside from the complete lack of wick.


PLUS if i was going to do that i wouldn't use MY wax, i simply don't have enough. i am thinking of looking up some references of candles for timing (alfred, um.. other ppl?)
20th-Feb-2006 09:30 am (UTC)
Plus beeswax usually burns really fast!
20th-Feb-2006 09:53 am (UTC)
does it?!?

jesus i have never paid attention to all this technical wax stuff! my list of wax knowedge was; it burns, candles; it's waterproof; you can harden armour with it, my leg armour; it floats; bees made it.

i had never realised it's hard to make it turn colours, burns slow, or made my medieval fortune!

WAX! that's not chance, who could honestly doubt of god's existance?
20th-Feb-2006 11:52 pm (UTC) - Wax
This is very cool! These are the sorts of things I was talking about when I said you had more potential information than you thought you did. It is not my wax, but I would be inclined to experiment with burning times. Make candles with diffrent things, wax, tallow, etc and compare burning times. You could go for small ones to not use up too much of your wax, Or you could just buy some beeswax so as not to use any!
21st-Feb-2006 05:21 am (UTC) - Re: Wax
heh heh heh. yeah. but this was always on the cards, it's just been upped on the achievable ladder, as a lot of it could be done at night.

as for more candle experiements, i am planning on buying some extra wax and ... have plans... *wink wink* but branching into a full all sing and dancing candle bonanza, no. chandlers did that. beekeepers kept bees ;)

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