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Author Topic: Cleaning crush and strain super frames for storage  (Read 8924 times)
tillie
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« on: October 22, 2006, 09:20:25 PM »

After harvesting via Michael Bush's crush and strain method, I put the drippy frames back in the hives for the bees to clean up.  I left one super there for about a month and not only did they clean up but they made more wax:



I think frames like the ones above, I can just put in the freezer for the winter and give them to the hives when I super next year.

But other frames look like this:





How should I handle them for the winter?  Scrape off the wax remnants or leave them as starter for next year?  Should these frames be frozen for winter to discourage wax moths in my basement?  

Thanks as always for the help,

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2006, 09:19:20 PM »

Leave the wax for starters.  They will keep great in the freezer.  Does it freeze there?  Do the wax moths die from the cold there?  If so you can put them outside once you've had a hard freeze.
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tillie
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2006, 11:14:37 PM »

Thank you, Michael, for the response.  I thought you'd say to freeze them as is, to be starters for next year, but I wanted to know for sure.  

We do get hard freezes here in Atlanta but not usually until late November - it is, however supposed to freeze here tomorrow night.  I've spent many winters here only wearing my heavy coat on one or two days.  I'm going to rely on my freezer to get rid of the wax moth.

BTW, I did all of the honey from my two hives via crush and strain - with some cut comb.  Everyone who tasted the honey has said it is the best they've ever tasted.  I attribute that to the crush and strain - no air added to the honey via swirling around in the extractor.

Thank you for the inspiration and information on your website.  It was an easy way to get the honey - very interesting to do and I even shared the process one afternoon with some kids who belong to a friend of mine and we all had a sticky great time!  

I did extraction at the Folk School and found it quite messy - cleaning the extractor, leftover honey on the walls of the extractor, etc. and it still had to go through a filter - my crush and strain took less time and was much less sticky and messy.

Such fun - I can't wait until next year.

Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge with all of us newbees

Linda T - newbee in Atlanta
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2006, 02:19:45 PM »

linda

i wanted you to know that your blog is great.  all the pictures are really helpful.  as a new beekeeper, i find that seeing what someone is talking about helps a lot.  

thanks for keeping it up.  i look at if often!
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2006, 06:19:31 AM »

>I did extraction at the Folk School and found it quite messy - cleaning the extractor, leftover honey on the walls of the extractor, etc. and it still had to go through a filter - my crush and strain took less time and was much less sticky and messy.

But you can't convince anyone who hasn't tried it of that.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2006, 11:08:13 AM »

i think i'll try it next year.  i am not going to ever have enough honey to justify an extractor and i don't want to do the co-op thing.

i didn't have a good idea of what i needed or the process this year.  that's ok.  i only had 2 shallow supers to do.

MB, thanks for the info you post.  as i move along in knowledge, i find i get more and more out of your site.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2006, 07:43:11 PM »

I encourage you to try it, Kathyp.  Crush and strain is just a few steps - I did it with four shallow supers and had a great time - I don't know if I "did it right" but here's what I did:

First cut the comb from the frame into a pan with sides:


The mash or crush the comb - I used a wooden pestle, but anything you have that will do the job:


Then you pour the crushed comb, one crushed frame's worth at a time, into a filter over a bucket (I used ones I bought from Dadant)  The filter held all of the crushed comb from one shallow super:


I put the top on the bucket and a brick on top of that and left the whole contraption on my garden walk for an afternoon while the honey filtered through and then honey flowed out of the spout - easy as can be:


Try it next year - little equipment needed and lots of easy harvesting.

Linda T in Atlanta, enjoying delicious honey
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2006, 08:44:08 AM »

Good post Tillie, you should expand that into an article and post it at www.beekeepersvoice.com.  The pictures are indeed worth a 1000 words.
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2006, 05:13:48 PM »

what kind of foundation is best to use for the crush and strain
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2006, 05:59:36 PM »

I used a thin wax foundation from Dadant:

http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=138

You don't want any wire in the crush and strain comb, so using pure wax is the goal.

Next year, I'm going to use the comb the bees make from the remnants of the comb left behind after my crush and strain (see earlier in this thread)

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2006, 07:28:30 AM »

None works pretty well:

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm

Thin surplus works fine.  Starter strips work fine.  You can use any kind of wax. Some people have scraped it off of plastic foundation with a spatula.  I have never tried that, but it sounds very messy.  Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2006, 05:19:07 PM »

Linda, I would be curious if you used the wax after you crushed and strained for candles or what.  I have quite a lot of cappings left from when I extracted and I see that they STILL have some honey residue.  I want to use this wax for candles pretty soon and wondered what you did to get the rest of the honey off the wax.  got some ideas?  Great day. Cindi
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2006, 07:02:05 PM »

After the straining process, here's what the filter looks like:



I squeezed the last few tablespoons out with my hands and then washed the wax and froze it.  I understand that I could have made use of the honey-sweetened water that I washed through the wax, but I didn't.  You know, in the South we make complete use of every part of the pig except, they say, for the squeal, so I feel somewhat challenged to figure out what to do with that water next year!

I have about 2 1/2 gallons of wax remnants in my freezer.  I plan to find out how to make candles next year, but don't have the equipment this year - I've bought a used, beaten up double boiler and I think one of my daughters is giving me a mold for Christmas, but I don't have enough wax to do anything much with - so that's a next year's project! 

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2006, 09:32:46 PM »

Linda, you took some groovy pictures.  Tomorrow I'll take a picture of my wax cappings and post it for you.  Mine kind of look like yours, but they are in a cheesecloth ball in a bucket.  Think I may try to squeeze it too, but I remember (and I can't remember who) was involved in a post that he was talking about pressing the wax inbetween two pieces of plastic cutting board.  Oh ya, I could just go to the post about it because I participated in one of the posts, hold on...gonna have a quick look back...OK, so it was one that Mick talked about.  He said....."What say I get two plastic cutting boards and trim them to fit exactly inside a frame. I place one ontop of a brick in a metal dish. I put the frame of honey on this. I then put the other board. Then I apply weight. Im looking for all of the honey to be pressed out of the frame leaving a flattened sheet of wax, still with the wires embedded, ready for re use."  So, in a nutshell, I wonder if it worked for him if he tried it.  I might give it a try.  Great day. Cindi
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« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2006, 09:52:10 PM »

That water could have been fed back to the bees. They wouldn't have minded that at all.
Some spread cappings out for bees to clean also...
Of course all this should be done some distance from the hives, cause the girls will get a bit excited. . . . .

Regards,
Trot
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« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2006, 11:01:58 PM »

couldn't you melt the cappings in water just as you do other wax?  the wax would separate from the honey/water and be pretty clean, wouldn't it?

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« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2006, 06:08:16 AM »

I squeezed the last few tablespoons out with my hands and then washed the wax and froze it.  I understand that I could have made use of the honey-sweetened water that I washed through the wax, but I didn't.
Two obvious options, here:
A. Feed it back to the bees. They won't complain.
B. Add yeast, put it into a fermenter and wait. In a few weeks, you'll have a lovely young mead.
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« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2006, 06:44:03 AM »

Frank, I think that putting the cappings out for the girls would be a great idea, except for right now, I wanted to use this wax to help my grandsons, neices and nephews make a couple of small candles for their mums, so I have to get on with the wax cleaning stuff.  If it were spring, surely it would be set out for a lovely dinner for them to participate in (LOL).  Great day. Cindi
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« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2006, 08:17:36 AM »

Sorry, Feeding in the free is considered as bad beekeeing practice. Putting cappings and other wax in the free for bees to clean up can/will produce problems. Spread of diseases, starting robbery and why feed the neighbours bees. Melt the wax as normal in a stainless pot with water. let it cool. cut of the dirt in the botom of the waxblock. Use it for candelmaking or what ever you can think about. Clean cappings is excellent for cosmetic use.
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« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2006, 08:22:05 AM »

Jorn, OK, excellent advice and I listen, no disease or problems desired within my apiary.  When melting wax that still has honey residues, could or should the water be strained, frozen and used for making sugar syrup for bees in the spring?  I do think they would love it even better than plain s.s.  Great day. Cindi
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« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2006, 06:14:21 PM »

Yes Jorn, I agree with you.
But than, each keeper is the boss in one's own apiary and does as he/she will. I have left many a comb/cappings to be cleaned by bees.
A lot of pollen is being fed to bees in "communal" feeders?! For that is sometimes the "more sensible" way of feeding pollen to those bees who need it.  It is a "take it - if/when needed" approach... Some feed ss exclusively out in the "free" as you put it. All this is done to no ill affect to one's bees...

I have no neighbouring bees for close to 100 km in one direction and for hundreds of kilometers in every other.
Disease? One should - and will certainly know about it long before harvest time and hopefully react accordingly...
Overall, a great comment, Jorn. I certainly stand to bee corrected...

Cindi, your way of using this "honey-water" for ss is sure, by far, better way of using it up if disease and/or neighbouring bees are of concern. 
As for making a few candles with your grandchildren?  Just put a small pot in a bigger pot with some water... Sorry, I will not attempt to go in to your kitchen...
I am certain though, that you and the little people will have fun at this... Isn't what beekeeping is supposed to be all about?  (Those making a living at it, can perhaps disregard this ?)

Regards,
Trot
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Jorn Johanesson
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« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2006, 06:30:25 PM »

about melting wax!

just be sure of that what comes in contackt with wax is not iron. It will interact with the wax and make it black or dark. Alu pots or better stinless stell are to be prefered.
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Jorn Johanesson
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« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2006, 06:37:29 PM »

With more than 4000 beekeepers in our little country Denmark 300km north south 300 km west east, we have to take care not to harm neighbours bees. That is also the reason why we have Strict beekeeping rules by law to be followed. If they are always followed is another story.
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« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2006, 09:16:25 PM »

Thanks to you both Frank and Jorn.  I am considering using a large coffee tin within a water pot in my kitchen, the coffee tin (TIN, I do not think would react with wax, correct?).  I thought that I could use this a permanent dipping container for the wax to make candles.  We will all have fun on that day.  I've never done it, so we will all learn something new to put another feather in our hats.  Awesome day.Cindi
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« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2006, 02:02:27 PM »

For making candles my mentor taught me the old fashioned way.  Heat wax in a double boiler.  Use string or flax for wicks and weight one end with split shot sinkers from the tackle box.  I a string 3 times longer than the depth of the double boiler is used 2 candles can be made at a time by looping the string over a board.  It is eash to make a hanger for the candles ( simple T will suffice).  If you have enough room you can make as many as a dozen candles at a time, dipping, parking, dipping, parking, etc over and over up and down the line of candles.  You can make them as thin or as wide as you like by how much you dip.  Its fun (especially as a childs activity) and cost much less than making or buying molds.
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« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2006, 08:57:08 AM »

Brian, nice advice, I will follow what you say.  Great day. Cindi
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« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2007, 01:53:57 PM »

If I need to attach foundation, I chew the wax left from crush & straining and use my "gum" to attach the foundation to the frame. One way of using up a little of it! Also let bees clean it up. I have had less luck melting and using for candles, I will read up here to get tips.
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« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2007, 06:33:54 PM »

Great stuff everyone: Linda I love your blog and Photos! I plan on using MB's crush and strain method, but I already put wire frame foundation on my frames. Will this be a problem? Can't I just unpeg it and crush and strain as usuall. Cleaning and melting the wax later will probably require a bit more effort.

I also plan on trying to make a few candles with the kids. Can regular ( tie up the roast string ) be used as wicks? Can candles be molded in regular tin cans?

Thanks in advance for your knowledge.

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« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2007, 07:36:36 PM »



Tillie,

Great pictures I am in my first few weeks of beekeeping and hope I have some comb to crush and strain as you have shown.  Thank you for the pictures.   
I also noticed the "Y"'s marked on the top bars of your frames.  Is this housel positioning?   Have you been doing housel for any length  of time and do you think it helps?

Thanks,

Ski
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« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2007, 08:03:27 PM »

couldn't you just use an extra super with a tray covered with the cappings and/or crushed comb inside to allow the bees to clean out the extra honey?  That would eleminate the open feeding problem and get the extras back to your bees.
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« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2007, 10:24:00 PM »

>I plan on using MB's crush and strain method, but I already put wire frame foundation on my frames. Will this be a problem? Can't I just unpeg it and crush and strain as usuall.

It would be easier without the wire, but if you are careful and don't stab yourself, you should do ok.
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« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2007, 10:41:06 PM »

Thank you to everyone who commented on my blog - I'm learning by making hundreds (at least) of mistakes and figured if I share it with others, maybe you'll at least make your own mistakes rather than repeating mine!  I appreciate your visits....

Ski,  I did try Housel positioning last year but since it was my first year I wasn't really in a position to determine if it made a difference (nothing to compare it to), but I did learn a lot trying to "see" the Ys in the foundation and then when I made chunk honey later in the harvest, the ways the Ys went determine if you pass the judges keen eyes or not!  Since I'm moving to small cell over the next season or two, I probably won't focus on Housel positioning again for a while.

I'm so glad I saved the wax cappings from last year because this year that is what I am melting to attach my small cell starter strips.  One of my last fall investments was a junk double boiler to melt the wax in.

I haven't put the frames cleaned by the bees back in the super for this year.  I never had the honey dripping frames in the open - I always put them back on the hive in a super with the cover over the whole thing.  The bees not only cleaned the wax but repaired it as well.

Linda T always learning in this beekeeping world

 
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« Reply #32 on: April 06, 2007, 11:00:38 AM »

Tillie-
You have a great site, i been reading your blog for the past two years, I will be getting my package of bee next week.  So hopefully everything goes smoothly.  You can never plan anything with this Ohio weather lol.  Anyway keep up the good work with the blog, your pictures are great to use as a references.   Wink
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« Reply #33 on: April 06, 2007, 01:17:11 PM »

Thanks for visiting, beekeeperookie - good luck with your bees!

Linda T in Atlanta where it's a lot warmer than Ohio
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« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2007, 10:53:27 PM »

This is a fabulous thread, just what I needed to see!  Since I plan on not having more than 3 hives ( who knows )...I would like to do crush and strain as well!  Fantastic!

Sharon
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« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2007, 11:07:46 AM »

Maybe I should make the point.  If you PLAN to do crush and strain, it will go SMOOTHER if you either use plain wax foundation (with no wire) or no foundation.  The plastic foundation requires scraping off the foundation and it leaves a lot of honey on the plastic.  The wired foundation requires working around the wire when cutting or tearing it out with the wires and risking getting poked by a sharp wire.
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« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2007, 01:08:18 PM »

I may be brave enough to trip placing strips in as Linda did with the $^*...

Thank you muchly
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« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2010, 08:43:04 PM »

Resurrecting an old thread:

>I did extraction at the Folk School and found it quite messy - cleaning the extractor, leftover honey on the walls of the extractor, etc. and it still had to go through a filter - my crush and strain took less time and was much less sticky and messy.

But you can't convince anyone who hasn't tried it of that.  Smiley

I think I might be convinced. I just did one face of a frame, because this is a new hive this year and I don't want to risk taking too much from them. I'm also worried that the super is going to be filled with goldenrod and I hear Bad Things about that. So. They won't miss one or two frames, right?

I used a rubber spatual, like your video, Linda, and cut around the uncapped cells. There was an awful lot of pollen mixed in, which was capped so I couldn't tell what was what. But since I have allergies, I'm happy to get a little boost from the bees. Or that's what I hear.

I do have an extractor that a lovely neighbor loaned me, but I clearly won't need it this year.

What I want to know, though, is whether it's better for production, in the long run, to give them back a drawn frame which has been run through an extractor, vs giving them open frames or foundation. I guess I want to save them the work when I can. Like they'll stop if I give them drawn frames.  rolleyes

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« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2010, 08:24:07 AM »

I make cut comb and crush and strain the edges and bad squares.   To clean I set the supers out for the bee's to clean up.   The following year I add a new starter strip of thin surplus.  This year I am just going to leave about 1/2" of comb under the top bar. It will be my starter strip for next year
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« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2010, 09:38:26 AM »

I do crush and strain with my plastic pf120's and my foundationless. I just do the scraping in the yard, right into big 5 gal bucket with lid to keep girls out in between frames. Then I put the frames right back into hive for the girls to clean up. Takes less time than an inspection. No mess in kitchen, and contrary to what you might think very little upset from the girls.

Then I take the bucket inside and dump the whole thing into another bucket that has holes drilled into the bottom and let that drain into another bucket for a day or two. Then that goes through some filters and then bottled or gets heated, fast cooled, and seeded to make creamed honey.

The scrapings I dump into a bucket with some water and put that into a big canning boiler with the canning wire cage underneath the bucket so that it doesn't come into contact with the bottom of the canning boiler. The frosting buckets that I get from the bakery can take a lot of heat but I did melt one once,what a mess!, thus the wire to keep it off of the bottom. I heat till all melted then I let cool, when it cools it is all separated. From bottom to top it is water then honey then pollen then wax.

I pull out the wax it will have the pollen stuck to the underside I scrape and cut it off. Then I melt it down again and run it through a cheescloth to remove any more impurities as I pour it into a bucket with a little water in the bottom and I get a nice wheel of wax.

Once the frames are clean I stack the supers on a pallet outside, cover with a tarp and leave till next summer. In the past I have not rewaxed the frames before reuse but next year I think that I might just to encourage more even comb building.
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« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2010, 10:02:43 AM »

Great post! Especially as it provides just the excuse I need to buy that canner I want.  grin
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« Reply #41 on: July 26, 2010, 12:49:05 PM »

Couple of things I left out...

Before I scrape the pf120's or foundationless I remove the frames to an empty super one at a time and brush or shake all bees into the hive as I go. I did'nt want to leave the impression that I simply open the hive and begin scraping frames, although I have done that when it was just one or two that I am taking from the super. I don't use queen excluder so there are always a few frames in each that have some brood. Those go back in the hive untouched. I go through each super and collect all of the frames that I am going to harvest and then I take them to a table off to the side of my bee yard and scrape then I take the super of empty frames back and put them on top of the hive. Or some times leave in a separate stack a little away from the hives for them to clean.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2010, 04:23:46 PM »

My current method of honey extraction is using my cider press.  Cut the combs into the basket, turn the press, and filter output through a double screen into your choice of container. You can package anything from single jars to 5 gal bucket.  When your done you have a lump of pure wax in the bottom of the basket that can easily be placed in your solar melter.  As for clean up, just hose it down.

It is so much less fuss and mess than using an extractor that I can't begin to tell you the difference.  Since my cider press is a double hopper (basket) I can be loading one hamper while compressing another.  One hamper holds about half of a medium super full of capped combs, or 4 to 5 medium combs. Takes about 10 minutes per super for extraction.

 Place the supers back on the hive for clean or as an addition super.  Since I use foundationless frames for the most part, except in the brood chambers, I find that if I take off 3 supers from a hive and put them all back on the hive that they clean up 2 and begin to re-draw the combs in in one which can then be used as extra winter feed for other hives to fill in for undrawn combs or just to leave a little extra for insurance.
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« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2010, 05:38:42 PM »

That looks pretty cool. I bet it's messy though.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #44 on: August 05, 2010, 05:41:20 PM »

That looks pretty cool. I bet it's messy though.

A  lot less than using uncapping knife, capping collection container, and extractor.  A a lot less clean up afterward, just hose it all down.
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