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Author Topic: Wax/Rosin woodenware dip: alt wax options (Palm, etc.,)  (Read 1018 times)
Dane Bramage
Field Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 509

Location: Portland, Oregon

« on: April 05, 2008, 12:55:33 PM »

I'm getting set to start dipping woodenware and, as usual, investigating all options in advance.  I'd like this thread to list all the wax and rosin/pitch options with any experiences and/or potential pros/cons of each.

I'll start off with the little research I've done so far.

Paraffin seems to be the most common choice.  I realize there is "food-grade" (non-toxic) paraffin available but it seems there is some variability as well as proprietary blends.  I understand paraffin to be a petroleum-based wax.  (off topic - are they any healthy petroleum-based foods??).

Beeswax would seem to be the obvious most natural choice, perhaps it has superior protective qualities as well.  Also - very expensive, even for a beekeeper with surplus when one weighs the opportunity (lost resale) costs.

There are quite a few other vegetable wax (even organic) options available, some at pricing less than paraffin.  If their protective qualities are comparable, this is where I'm leaning.  The leading contender thus far is:

Palm wax - "Palm wax is an all-natural, renewable resource that is obtained from the oil palm" & I have a local (imported) source for less than $1/#.  (there's an add running in the ABJ with 4000# for $.75/#).  Does anyone have experience dipping woodenware with Palm wax? 

Soy wax is another option.

So there's a few wax options.  As far as rosin, that seems to be very rarely used/available anymore (here in the usa, tons available as import from China).  Mann Lake offers gum rosin.  I found a local importer that has "Brazilian gum rosin" (quite a bit more expensive).  And then there is the unrefined pine pitch/tar (aka "brewer's pitch").  This is typically available at "Feed" (farm supply) stores (it's used topically on hooves and after de-horning).  I don't have any recipes for pitch vs rosin (anyone?), but I may add some just because it smells so good.  Wink


House Bee
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Posts: 181

Location: Mercer County, NJ

« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2008, 01:54:45 PM »

Take a read of this:
Dane Bramage
Field Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 509

Location: Portland, Oregon

« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2008, 02:23:04 PM »

Thanks for the Aussie dipping paper link.  A lot of very useful info!  The only mention they made of other waxes:

A mixture of microcrystalline wax and paraffin wax is commonly
used by Australian apiarists.
Both microcrystalline and paraffin waxes are sold separately and are
mixed by the apiarist to form a 50/50 mix by weight. The two
waxes are sold in either slab (block) or bead (pastille) form
depending on the grade of wax.
In Australia, paraffin wax is generally not used on its own. The
following scenarios can be expected if material is dipped solely in
paraffin wax:
• the surface of the dipped item may become very sticky in the
summer sun and can readily collect dirt and grime
• paint may not readily adhere to the surface of the treated item.
Microcrystalline wax may be used on its own, but few apiarists do

Also no mention of rosin nor pitch (they do mention using linseed oil as an an additive).

Michael Bush
Universal Bee
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Posts: 13989

Location: Nehawka, NE

« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2008, 10:55:43 PM »

I used two parts beeswax to one part propolis.

The bees liked it.  They keep gathering it off of my gloves for propolis.

Michael Bush
My website:
My book:
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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