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Author Topic: Okay let's flame about smokers  (Read 13561 times)
Understudy
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« on: February 26, 2006, 01:21:46 PM »

Hi everyone.
I need some details on smokers. I have one. I use it pretty well but probably not as well as I would like to. So in order to improve my smoker skills, I am going toask you to give in detail how you use your smokers. The biggest issue I have is the amount of time it smokes for. Nothing like being 30 minutes into an inspection and to have it run out. Also how to get it started properly so it will burn longer. I have discovered that if I get a good hot ash base going and then add my smoke mix it will smoke longer. But that means I have to wait 20 minutes for it to get to that stage and then if it is windy it can suck.

Basically I use a mix of pine needles and dry long fibered sphagnum moss.

I put the grate with legs down into the bottom of the smoker. I some pine needles down on top of the grate and leave a hollow spot in the center. I will put a small ball of paper in the center and then I start that. Once the fire is going on that I will add some more pine needles once the pine needles have burned to a hot glowing stage I will gradually add sphagnum moss. Once the moss shows signs of starting to smoke I will close the lid and gently press the bellows a couple of times. I usually get good smoke out of this. The problem is it dosen't last.

So share you details on how you use your smokers and what materials you use. Also what I can do to improve mine. Also I would like to find a way to get it to start quicker.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Finsky
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2006, 01:38:39 PM »

Quote from: Understudy

Basically I use a mix of pine needles and dry long fibered sphagnum moss.


Sphagnum turf is ok but needles are not good at all.
Strong smoke is "tar vapour". When smoke touches cool surface tar attaches on surface.  Aroma goes into honey.  When you uncap frames you will notice chimney aroma in the honey from  cappings.

Furthermore tar will run along the smoker and makes hands and hives dirty.

So choose the stuff which gives less smoke and less tar. Rotten wood is good. We have birches where we get "high quality rotten wood".  Local beekeeper will tell what is good.

Modern bees are very tame and they need very little smoke. There is no need to push them away with smoke.
.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2006, 01:39:48 PM »

I really haven't noticed any difference between useing and not using a smoker. If the bees are calm at the time I start messing with them, they usually stay that way with or without. (Until I do something they don't like) If they are in a bad mood it seems the smoke doesn't make a difference in their attitude.

But I usually have sticks like three quarter inch square or smaller around the outside edge. I'll light a piece of rolled newspaper and place it in the center and puff the thing for awhile until the wood starts burning. Sometimes I have to add more paper, but after awhile when the wood gets to burning I'll fill the center with more small sticks  close the lid and go for it. It usually stays burning longer than I need it.
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Finsky
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2006, 01:50:06 PM »

I like to use Trunk Rot of Birch  (Inonotus obliquus )
http://www.pfc.forestry.ca/diseases/CTD/Group/Canker/canker6_e.html

Piece of that fungus smolds long time, even half an hour. It gives enough smoke and makes tar not at all.
 http://www.hanbangchaga.co.kr/img/sub_img01.gif

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TREBOR
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2006, 02:29:29 PM »

I use pine shavings from the feed store, you get alot for cheap!
 I light some newspaper and throw it in, then some more, then wood chips
puff lightly then more chips, puff puff, chips, until it gets good and going then I pack with chips, alittle tighter then loose.......then puff every so often after that, while I'm working...............
  next year I may add sumac berries to that mix for mites
ya, it takes mine about 20 min . to get going too. but I just use that time for getting ready...... and try to think of what I might have forgotten.... Cheesy
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2006, 02:34:57 PM »

My prefered fuel is burlap.  I love the Rauchboy smoker and I also made an insert from a can to simulate it.  You also need to put the right amount in. It need to be like when you fill a washing maching.  Full, but not packed.  It needs air.  A couple of coals in the bottom (from a bag of charcoal or from building a small fire in it with small dry sticks) really helps keep it lit.  An "instant on" torch is sure the cat's meow for lightint them.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/SmokerInsert3.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/SmokerInsert2.JPG
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Understudy
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2006, 02:43:27 PM »

Quote from: Michael Bush
A couple of coals in the bottom (from a bag of charcoal or from building a small fire in it with small dry sticks) really helps keep it lit.  An "instant on" torch is sure the cat's meow for lightint them.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/SmokerInsert3.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/SmokerInsert2.JPG


I have often thought about using charcol or no scent incense pieces. I just haven't done it. Burlap is not something I frequently come across here.

The pine shavings isn't a bad Idea I might try it.

Keep those ideas and information coming. This has to be helping someone besides me.
 
Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2006, 03:24:51 PM »

My Favorite is paper from the shreader then add some twigs then I put thee dried horse turds in light it with a long match let it burn for a while then
put the top on good for a hour or so
kirko
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Jay
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2006, 03:40:51 PM »

Staghorn Sumac is a great fuel for your smoker. Make sure the buds are nice and dry so they will burn more readily, put two or three buds in your smoker (large smoker stays lit better than small and holds more fuel) light, and away you go! Cheesy

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Understudy
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2006, 03:52:34 PM »

Staghorn Sumac  doesn't grow in Florida. Sad
Maybe the snowbirds can bring some with them. Smiley
Keep the information coming.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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banjojohn
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2006, 05:32:31 PM »

I have used burlap or old blue jeans tightly rolled and held with wire. My favorite is the pressed cotton rolls the local bee store sells. I keep a propane torch to light it with, it seldom goes out and I put it in a jar with a lid when I'm through( you could probably just stuff something in the smoker spout to extinguish it ) . They sell a 3'' x 6'' tube for about a dollar. It last a long time, a few hous total anyway.
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2006, 05:55:05 PM »

Quote from: Understudy
Staghorn Sumac  doesn't grow in Florida. Sad
Maybe the snowbirds can bring some with them. Smiley
Keep the information coming.

Sincerely,
Brendhan


First, take some locally grown cannibis, dry and cure it, roll same into a blunt and smoke away.

After awhile any bee stings you may get will act like a soothing supplement to your already airy feelings.  wink

Disclaimer: Not recommended when driving.
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Apis629
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2006, 07:27:22 PM »

All I've ever used is pine needles.  To light gather a clump of a few so that when you hold them together they easily enter the smoker.  Light the bottem and throw them in.  Grab a larger clump and with your hive tool force it on top of and into the clump you put in seconds earlier.  Then puff the bellows for about 2 minutes untill the smoke starts to build up...then you can repeat the second step untill the smoker seems solidly full.  I've had my smoker burn for  an hour and a half doing this assuming it's puffed at least once every 20 minutes or so.  To deal with tar accumulation, I either scratch the insides with steel wool to scrape it off or, start a wood fire, move the coals and twigs into the smoker and let them burn it off.
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Finsky
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2006, 08:23:35 PM »

Quote from: Jack Parr

First, take some locally grown cannibis


Yeah! Act locally, think globally! smiley
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2006, 06:42:12 AM »

Quote from: Finsky
Quote from: Jack Parr

First, take some locally grown cannibis


Yeah! Act locally, think globally! smiley


Your Hockey team came close, Finsky.

For those who make their own equipment with wood; Cut up the scraps into small pieces and use that in the smoker.  Some wood has a pleasent smell when burned.  In particular, mahogany. But, Cannibis... cheesy

Burning wood last a long time in the smoker.
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ian michael davison
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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2006, 08:32:20 AM »

Hi all
Why not just use grass cuttings(or has that allready been suggested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) evil
I mean those off the lawn of course.They are free and need cleaning up anyway.

Regards Ian
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2006, 08:56:41 AM »

Quote from: ian michael davison
Hi all
Why not just use grass cuttings(or has that allready been suggested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) evil
I mean those off the lawn of course.They are free and need leaning up anyway.

Regards Ian


MY GRASS is blended in the lawn and flower landscape. I select the cuttings.  Cheesy Of course.
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Understudy
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« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2006, 09:26:53 AM »

Quote from: ian michael davison
Hi all
Why not just use grass cuttings(or has that allready been suggested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) evil
I mean those off the lawn of course.They are free and need leaning up anyway.

Regards Ian


Sorry, Florida does not have real grass. We have something known as Floratam or St. Augistine grass. You refer to it as crab grass.  

I am thinking that the piece of charcoal (Santa leaves me enough of them each year) and the sphagnum moss may be a good combo. The cannibs smoker would be excellent except for the fact that law enforcement would require a cut of all my honey produced. Also having to keep a constant supply of doritos and salsa would not do my waistline any good. Wink

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Andrew Tyzack
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« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2006, 09:28:05 AM »

I once heard someone saying that using tobacco in the smoker is a good way to 'stun' varroa mites. Is there any truth in this?

I also read about some trials on the use of grapefruit leaves in the smoker, for varroa treatment - anybody heard anything?

Andrew
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amymcg
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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2006, 10:35:12 AM »

Keep puffing the smoker for a couple of minutes so you get a nice wall of smoke, then when you're not using it, open the lid up so it can get more oxygen and it won't go out as quickly.
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