Extracting honey is a messy job and anything that can cut down on that mess is a welcome addition to the process. This is a three piece wax cappings strainer is made from three food safe five gallon buckets. The middle and top buckets are the strainers. No modifications are required of the bottom bucket, it simply catches the drippings. It works really well and in most cases the honey that ends up in the bottom bucket does not require any further filtering.
- Three five gallon buckets
- #4 hardware cloth
- 8 bolts and 16 nuts (although you can do it with only 6 bolts and 12 nuts)
- A saw or boxcutter to cut a bucket in half
- A pair of metal shears or wire cutters
- A drill
Step 1: The Middle Bucket/Strainer (Optional)
The middle bucket will catch the finer drippings that come through the top strainer. This bucket is optional as oftentimes the top strainer will do a great job all by itself.
To the middle bucket we are going install bolts about half way up the side of the bucket. These will create about 2 gallons of room for the honey drippings when the middle bucket is nested inside the bottom bucket.
If you are using four bolts make sure they are all an equal distance from the bottom so the bucket doesn't rock when it is nested in the bottom bucket (if you use three bolts the alignment doesn't matter as much). Instead of using a ruler to measure the distance, I aligned the holes with the bucket's graphics to ensure the holes were evenly spaced from the bottom.
Then install a small bolt in each hole, with the bolt head to the outside, using two nuts (one on the bucket inside and one on the outside) to secure the bolts in place. Having the bolt's head to the outside helps keep the bucket from shifting within the bucket it is nested in while working.
Next drill a good number of holes in the bottom of the middle bucket to allow the honey to strain through. I used a 3/8 inch diameter drill bit for this project.
Step 2: Preparing Top Bucket/Strainer
The top bucket is the strainer that will catch the bulk of the wax cappings. It will need large holes to allow the honey to efficiently drip from the wax. You can make this by simply drilling large holes in the bottom of another bucket but I have found that a screen with #4 hardware cloth (1/4 inch square holes) works better.
Start by cutting the bucket in half.
Next, create the rim that will hold the screen in place by nesting the bottom of the bucket in the top of the bucket and marking where it extends from the top bucket. I add a bit of the screen in between the two halves to approximate how it will fit with the full screen is installed. This is your cut line for the rim.
You want your rim to be as tall as it can be as we will need to install our securing bolts in it. If it is too shallow it will be less stable when nested in the middle bucket.
Step 3: Adding the Screen to the Top Bucket/Strainer
Cut your screen so that it is large enough to cover the opening and sides of your rim. It should come to the very top of the rim when folded up the sides.
Then slip the rim and screen into the top half of the bucket and push it down until it is flush with the bottom.
While holding securely in place, drill holes for the bolts ensuring that the bolts go through the plastic and the screen (if the holes are above the screen, the screen will slip out when it is full of wax cappings and honey).
Install the bolts again using two nuts to secure them in place.
Step 4: Conclusion
You are done! Once you have it all assembled you have a ready to use Beeswax Uncapping Tub Strainer stack.