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Author Topic: Branding and Branding Irons  (Read 2009 times)
Intheswamp
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« on: March 19, 2013, 12:39:57 PM »

When I first started I decided that I would brand my equipment.  I pretty much have all of my equipment except my inner covers branded...telescoping covers are branded on the inside, bottom boards on the bottom, and boxes on the ends.  The large branding iron is kind of a "freehand" brand and cost me around $55...I bought it from this guy who sells on ebay:  razin .  When I got this brand a couple of letters were "low" (or others were "high".  What I did was get a flat file and file it until all letters were pretty much level with one another.   I heat the iron with an old gas heater (one of those un-vented, illegal to install heaters that we still use for heating) at our store...I take out a couple of bricks and let the irons sit over the flame.    I can get four good brands out of each heating, sometimes five....reheating takes just a few minutes....once the iron has been reheated several times it seems it reheats faster.  For my low volume of branding requirements this works well.

I had been scribbling my brand on the top bars of my frames with any ballpoint pen that I found...it "kind of" lightly engraved as I pressed down hard.   I recently splurged and bought one of Rockler's small branding irons for branding my frames and I'm well pleased with it.  The smaller letters are sharper than the letters of the larger branding iron which makes the brands look good and clear.  I found a coupon online that brought the final cost down to $53...almost as much as the large iron.  I can get a half dozen good brands out of the small iron before reheating and this one also reheats faster the more times it is reheated.

There's a small learning curve with both branding irons, but no biggie...if the brand is scorched around the edges that's ok with me...if it's a clean brand with no surrounding scorching that's fine, too.  I'm doing it for identification, not looks. Smiley  I was talking with Ted Kretschmann the other day, he is the largest (and only) commercial beekeeper in Alabama.  He strongly stated that equipment needs to be branded due to a high increase in hive thefts in the last few years...with this year being the worst yet.

Anyhow, here's some pictures of woodenware that I've branded so folks can see what the end results look like from these irons.  There's other places to get them, better brands, etc., but this will give you some food for thought....

I've also got no interest/connection with either of these two sellers other than being a satisfied customer (even if I did have to file down the large iron)...  Smiley

Ed









These boxes only have primer on them...with a good exterior latex paint on them they look a lot better.


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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 12:44:46 PM »

That worked great for me also when I first started out, Ed. last year I branded 200 frames. I just finished putting together 270 medium frames and their supers and I didn't brand even 1 of them. Takes a lot of time.
Jim
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Joe D
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 09:36:46 AM »

Looks good Ed.




Joe
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 10:15:20 AM »

Jim, I branded a few more frames yesterday and turned the burner up on the heater.  Heating with the hotter flame I can easily get 10+ frames per heating with only a couple of minutes of heating time in between.  It takes a minute to brand ten frames and I did forty frames in +/- ten minutes including re-heating times.   I do a little all along...get a batch of frames together and brand them...put together some supers and brand that batch.  It does take a while, though, I agree.  I really made me smile when I "turned the heat up" and got more brands out of each heating.  My large branding iron maxes out at around 4 good brands per heating, though, but there's only two brands per box.

I like the added security of branding the equipment.  We've had our house broken into, a go-cart stolen out of the yard, other odd a end things stolen, and most recently a compressor and generator stolen out from under our attached garage.  There are several new beeks around here (including me), one of which is the son of a female canine that I've had *serious* problems with in the past.  So, a little extra time and investment and I sleep better.  The irons will last my lifetime and when I'm gone somebody else can  have'em. Wink  But, unless I end up with many more hives that I anticipate, I feel that if I ever have a problem it will be from vandalism rather than theft.  Undecided

Thanks, Joe.

Ed

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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

"Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they wont come to yours." - Yogi Berra
Moots
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 10:38:33 AM »

Ed,
Nicely done!  I was looking at the Rockler's link you provides and saw that they offer an electrically heated option...Granted, a little more expensive but wondering if you have any idea of any other advantages or disadvantages of going that route?  Cost to heat, work time, etc. etc.....
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RC
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 10:50:27 AM »

Jim, I suppose you branded your FL registration # into your boxes? I've been thinking about one of the Rockler branding iron myself.
I had one made at a local welding shop, but the thing turned out huge. It works ok, it's just too big.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 11:06:47 AM »

Jim, I suppose you branded your FL registration # into your boxes? I've been thinking about one of the Rockler branding iron myself.
I had one made at a local welding shop, but the thing turned out huge. It works ok, it's just too big.

RC,
I made the mistake of putting my name and the FL req # on mine and it is too small and hard to read.
Be sure to only put the number and in order to be to regs it is supposed to have 1/2" letters.
Jim
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 11:10:58 AM »

Moot, I really don't know what to tell you about the electric brander, sorry.  Naturally, the cost difference was a factor for me, but I also know that I can always come up with a hot fire to heat my iron...not much there to malfunction.  Something else that I thought about was that these small branding irons probably were designed for branding a few wooden projects at a time....I'm not sure if they're intended for branding a large batch of items at one time.  But, no longer than it takes to brand the frames it doesn't seem like it should be a problem for the electric model...a possible concern would be how well the electric model holds a constant temperature or how quick it recovers from branding a couple of frames.   I guess my biggest thought is KISS.  grin

Just my thoughts. Smiley

Ed


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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

"Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they wont come to yours." - Yogi Berra
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 11:31:40 AM »

Moots,
I have the electric model. You do have to go slow to allow the iron to heat up between brandings. Often times I do 2 maybe 3 frames then I have to stop and put it back in the hear shield that I made with scrap pan material. I small coffee can would do. The heat shield speeds up how fast you can brand. With out it it seems to take forever. The one I made is just a 3"x 15" piece of metal folded like a small box with the top and bottom open and then laid on it's side, It is just a little bigger than the iron.
I work in my shop, with lots of sawdust and wood tables, so open flame is not a good idea for my situation.
I did use an open flame branding iron to brand our club apiary hives (outside in the apiary) and it worked real well and the iron was very large, about 1" x 5" high. Used the burner from a deep fryer. still have to wait for the iron to hear up after branding 2 to 3 hives.
Jim
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hardwood
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2013, 07:54:00 PM »

I've got an lp model and can brand as quick as I can set up the frames. The regs for FL numbers are now at 1/2" tall letters I think (used to be larger) but with the recent rash of commercial thefts in FL the brought it down so you can brand the bottom bars too. That's how they nailed the thief in putnam county 2 years ago...thieves don't look for I.D. marks on the bottom bars.

Scott
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 10:30:37 PM »

For the would be theives I do not have time to brand hives; note the hive may have a Pet Tracker Tag (they are cheap) aka when the hive is moved from a location I get a text message for a nominal fee from the service provider kinda like LOJACK then you know what happens? No not 911
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gefdef
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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2013, 08:47:55 AM »

I use a 1/4 inch router with a 45 degree router bit.  Brand every thing.  Just use it freehand , (may draw lines for boxes)  Best done before assembly .  I put my registered brand RO1 and the month/year (3/13) of assembly.  I also number the boxes. !  So on boxes RO1               375        3/13.   Frames   RO1     3/13,  takes 20 seconds per frame.





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