Introduction: How to Render Beeswax From Honeycomb
There's a couple of different ways to acquire solid beeswax - from specialty woodworking stores, to apiaries, to health food stores. But if you happen to know someone who works with bees, you can render wax from honeycombs directly. And that is what we'll cover in this instructable.
Step 1: Cheesecloth
The wax is distributed throughout the honeycomb, so in order to separate it, you need to boil it in water. To make it easier to separate the unwanted solids from the wax, it's a good idea to first wrap the comb in some cheese cloth. I had both large chunks of honeycomb as well as some processed, and I wrapped both up, in a couple of packages to make it easier to deal with.
Step 2: Boiling
Fill a pot with water and wait for it to start simmering. At this point you can start adding the honeycomb. The cheesecloth packages are quite bulky initially, so start with adding one package at a time and then you can add more to the water in stages as it softens up. Now you just wait for the honeycomb to break down, and the water to turn oily and yellow.
Step 3: Rendering
Once the wax is rendered and you can squeeze no more wax out of the cheese cloth, pour the wax water into plastic containers and let it solidify. You can see here the wax floating to the surface and any solids falling to the bottom of the water. At this point it's still quite dirty, and you need to further clean the wax to be able to use it.
Step 4: Clean the Wax
To clean the wax, first remove the wax cake from the dirty water. Then re-melt it in a double boiler so any solids or dirt fall to the bottom again. To further clean, you can gently pour through a filter. Here I'm using a coffee filter - and make sure you only use a dedicated filter for this, since the wax is very difficult to clean off completely. Once the wax is clean to your satisfaction, pour into molds or paper cups.
Step 5: Using the Wax
Now when you have clean wax, there are lots of things you use it for, however I'm going to turn it into wax polish which can be used on furniture, woodworking projects, metal and more.
To make make linseed oil beeswax polish, I first melt the wax again over a double boiler and then I combine 4 parts raw linseed oil with 1 part wax by volume. Then I slowly heat that until combined, and pour into containers. Once the wax has solidified it's ready to be used for any project.
Beeswax is really cool for a lot of uses. Rendering your own wax is quite interesting, however you need quite a lot of honeycomb to render a decent amount of wax. But if you have access to some, why not try it, plus it gives you a lot of control in terms of the purity of the wax.
Step 6: Conclusion - Watch the Video
For a more in-depth look on how to render the honeycomb into beeswax, make sure you watch this video that goes over all the steps!