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Making and Using a Honey Press

Building the Press

I have tried to extract honey from the combs that I take from my tbh's by squeezing by hand. That's sitcky and tiring. I also tried to use paddles that were hinged and had grooves through which the honey ran out . That was better, but it still left a lot of honey in the comb and in the bag holding the comb. I needed something that would put more pressure on the bag.

This photo is of my honey press
which was made using a scissor-type automobile jack 
to apply pressure to two vertical plates.  The honey bag is squeezed between the vertical plates.

I devised this press, and it works very well. It is built around a scissor-type automobile jack. The frame is of 2x4 inch wood. Vertical pressing plates slide on a section of pipe as pressure is applied to the plates by the jack

I don't have any plans for the press. Most any design should work, and it could probably be made much smaller.

Photo of a closeup view of the
press plates and the jack

The automobile jack is from a Nissan. I bought it at an automobile "junk yard" for $5.00 US

In this closeup of the pressing plates and the automobile jack, you can see the blue knob and lever arm which is turned to press the bag of comb. Turning the blue knob forces the vertical plates together which will squeeze the honey from the bag suspended between the two plates. The yellow plates were cut from an old dining room table top.

The press works well, but I think that I will replace the lever arm and the blue knob with a wheel. A wheel should be less tiring to use. This press gets most of the honey out of the comb.

Using the Press

Photo of comb being cut from top
bars

In the above photo, I'm cutting beautiful comb honey from the top bars of a super that was on a small tbh. The comb could be used in cut comb honey or can be cut into strips for chunk honey jars. It seems a shame to press such beautiful comb honey, but many of my customers prefer "strained honey", and the pressed honey *does* retain the wonderful flavors of comb honey.

 

Photo of me putting the honey
comb into a pressing bag

Next, the comb is put into a bag for pressing. The bags I use are nylon mesh laundry bags that I purchase at local discount stores . Similar bags are sold in SCUBA diving shops.

 

Photo of the press in use

In this photo the blue knob is used to rotate the lever arm and open the jack which puts pressure on the bag. I have used wax paper on either side of the bag to keep the pressure plates free of honey. I'm not certain that this is necessary, but it makes separating the plates much easier.

 

Photo of the press in use which
shows the honey streaming down from the press plates

In this closer view, honey is streaming down from the bottom of the press plates. I have angled and beveled the plates at the bottom so that the honey tends to run off at a central point.

After pressing, you're left with a flat bag with wax inside and sticky honey outside. Honey has also collected in the tub below the plates. What can be done??

 

Photo of me straining honey
through a knee-high hose into a bucket

The honey is collected from the catch tub then strained through 'knee high" panty hose into a bucket. The honey is never heated, nor is it subjected to mixing with air to the extent that occurs in conventional extraction. I think this accounts for the wonderful flavors of the honey I harvest.

 

Photo of the pressed wax and
sticky bag being washed off in a water tub

After pressing the bag is washed in water by dunking it up and down in a tub of water. This gives honey water which could be used to make mead, honey pop, or be fed back to the bees. I expected the wax to be difficult to remove from the bag, but it " peels" out very easily. Now I'm left with beautiful virgin wax that is almost the quality of cappings. Wonderful! I love beeswax.

 

Photo of my solar wax melter
with discarded combs inside

The wax goes into my solar wax melter. In this photo you see old, discarded combs. If I am melting wax from the virgin combs, I will put the wax inside a section of old panty hose, place it on clean paper, and have it filter though a paper coffee maker filter before it is caught in the bread pan. This is a front view of the wax melter, and perhaps it is not clear that it is inclined. I prop it up on a cement block, and I change the angle of propping as the sun changes with the seasons.

 

 

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James D. Satterfield email: jsatt@gsu.edu