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beekeeping 
3rd-Jan-2005 01:03 pm
Bee smoker

Used to pacify the bees by generating smoke, which makes the bees sleepy and not attack as much, makes the hives are more easily accessable. Traditionally it seems a common material for putting in the smoker is dried cow dung (which is nasty, and after i tried it once, will not persist with, when MANY other things surfice, and smell plesanter)

Having seen a number of pictures (footnote 1) of this basic smoker, and having spoken to Mike Reddy, (footnote 2) about smokers, I have realized this roman smoker.




I picked terracotta as i have seen it in use in many other pottery items used to contain fire (for example - footnote 3), and I had some at hand.
To start I cut a number of flat rectangular slabs, and noticing that the shape of this chafing dish is a ‘basic shoe’ I cut a bottom piece oval and then fitted another piece over my hand, wet all the surfaces that contacted and trimmed. I shaped to bind all the joining surfaces, and then punched holes in the top using a pencil.







The back ‘heel’ was a 3rd piece that again got fitted, wet down and joined.
I widened the hole in anticipation of having to get hot coals in and out of the device, added a ‘curl’ onto the back (although confidence is low on it’s usablity) and left to sun dry.









1 http://www.comp.glam.ac.uk/pages/staff/mreddy/skepFAQ/

2 The Kentwell Hall beekeeper, in email conversation 2/1/5, “ .. the smoker is in fact Roman, and there is no proof that Tudor beekeepers used one of similar design. I thought I would get away with it, as it looked rather like a shoe of the period, mixed with a religious incense burner. It does have a folded back, very sturdy, handle, as you described. I had it made at Kentwell Hall by one of the authentic potters; it was from dug clay, fired in a contenporary kiln of the period, and is a pride of work. When she - a lovely women, whose name I forget, to my shame - asked me what I wanted, I put my foot on the table and said "This, with holes and a handle!", but also showed her the picture from Alston. It is excellent with a few coals from a wood fire, as a portable fire maker; swinging it to and fro to keep the embers hot, you can start a fire anywhere within 20 minutes walk! I usually put in some hot embers - not too many - then stuff the thing with dried local leaves - less smell to the smoke - and slip it under the edge of the skep and GENTLY blow; blowing too hard can put sparks in the hive, which has the opposite effect! Burned bees are not happy!”

3) www.postex.demon.co.uk/thesis/ch7/7main.htm





all the bits required

Comments 
3rd-Jan-2005 09:33 am (UTC) - Re: hmmmmmmmmmmm
So you just had some dry cowdung hanging around huh? I thought you had to let it dry off the ground for awhile so it really lost a lot of moisture...

Have you tried Pliny's natural history for beekeeping stuffe?

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Plin.+Nat.+toc

And look - bee stuffe... Ha ha ha ha ha!

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0137&query=toc:head%3D%23607

Looks juicy...

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