In this article I share my experiences of a solar beeswax extractor. For the avoidance of doubt, this piece of kit is sometimes referred to as a solar beeswax melter, a solar beeswax rendered or even a beeswax solar extractor. They are all the same thing.
About The Solar Extractor
I purchased the solar beeswax extractor from a company called Thorne, and the link to the product can be found <here>. There is no affiliation to this company or product.
The solar beeswax extractor comes with a double-glazed lid, metal trays and a wood-chip body. Generally, it is pretty sturdy but the one small gripe I have with it, is that only a short baton of wood prevents the glazing from sliding from the lid. Something to be mindful of when handling the top.
For the extractor to work well, you need blue skies and a blazing sun. In addition, the unit needs turning periodically to face the sun. Furthermore, it must sit on a flat surface, otherwise the liquid beeswax won’t run into the collection tray or in an extreme example, it might spill over the side of the metalwork and into the base unit.
A Few Improvements
I painted the woodwork black to improve its efficiency; black if you remember from science lessons absorbs heat. It is worth noting that the melting point of beeswax is 60 degrees celsius, or 140 degree fahrenheit, so I use rubber gloves when handling the hot metal trays.
Be careful where the liquid wax drips, because it is akin to glue when it sets. Therefore, I put vaseline on the edges where the lid meets the base, otherwise removing the top will be difficult and/or damage the paintwork.
I am looking for a effortless way of turning the solar beeswax extractor. One idea was to repurpose an old swivel chair, but that didn’t prove successful. Maybe I need to buy a small turntable? For now, I lift and position the melter to face the sun.
Solar Beeswax Extractor – Is it worth it?
One thing you might need to consider is storage. It is likely that from autumn through to spring, the days won’t be warm enough to get full benefit from the extractor. Therefore, if you don’t have somewhere to keep it during the colder months, then maybe this melter isn’t worth it.
On the other hand, the extractor is useful for converting the contents of my crud bucket into a compacted form. I place a lot of value on having an easy way to dispose of burr comb, foundation edges and general crud from the hive. This solar device doesn’t refine the beeswax, so I use my warming cabinet and sieve for purifying.
Overall, I am very happy with my purchase.