The following description of rendering beeswax, written by Sergey in California, landed in the comments section this morning. It is very similar to something I read about once before, but since I had lost those directions, this rendition is most welcome. I particularly enjoy Sergey’s attention to detail.
Here is the complete message with only a little editing for clarity: [line]
My technique is simple. You need:
- honeycomb or other wax-containing materials
- metal pot approximately 3 times bigger than amount of wax to melt
- plastic bag made out of heavy plastic mesh, usually used for citrus (any bag made from mesh material/fabric would work)
- rock or other heavy object
- some sort of “clips” to keep bag closed
- piece of wood or glass/ceramic plate, which could cover most of the pot’s bottom
- Place wax along with the rock into the bag.
- Use clip(s) to close the bag. Some soft wire may work too. Just make sure that bag is tightly closed; bag should not occupy more than half of the pot’s volume.
- Put wooden or glass plate on the bottom of the pot; it prevents bag from damage by the heat.
- Place bag into the pot and add water. You should have a few inches of water on top of the bag.
- Slowly heat pot on the stove. Do not boil water! Use low heat! Wax will melt and float to the surface. The garbage will stay in the bag (with the rock). Wax, moving through the water, will be additionally purified.
- When most of the wax is at the top, remove pot from the heat and let it cool down overnight. Do not disturb! When cold, remove nice “wheel” of the wax from the water. Scrape off some junk from the bottom of the “wheel.”
- Discard the bag; keep the rock if you wish.
- For additional purification you could re-melt wax in the water again in a similar manner.
To make candles from the wax “wheel,” melt the “wheel” in a double boiler; do not mix wax with water this time! Good luck!
Editor’s Note: When I try this I’m planning on using cheesecloth instead of a mesh bag because it has smaller holes. I’m also thinking of using a canning rack instead of a plate at the bottom of the pan, although I’m not sure I want to sacrifice another kitchen utensil. Still thinking . . .