Have you been wondering how to melt beeswax without a double boiler? I’m sure you’ve already heard of melting wax in a crockpot and perhaps you’re thinking there must be a better way to render wax from comb on large scale. I found myself with a large amount of comb to render after a season of harvesting honey (crushed comb honey extraction method) and from various failed hives. In pursuit of the easiest and best method for extracting wax from dirty, decomposing comb in large quantities, I watched dozens of Youtube video tutorials and read many blog posts from beekeepers and craft enthusiast alike.
In my research, I stumbled upon a very popular (but seemingly not-often-attempted) “Burlap Bag Method” written up by Dave Cushman somewhere between the years of 2000 and 2005.
On that page, Mr. Cushman writes:
“An empty oil drum with one end cut off can be used as a vessel to heat water over a bonfire… the sack is filled with the old comb, dirty wax and a few bricks or stones and then the end is tied closed. The weighted bag will not float… the whole lot is heated by building a fire under the end of the drum. The bag is raised from the metal surface by a few bricks so that the water temperature does the melting and not the heated steel base of the drum. The wax melts and being less dense than the water it will percolate through the coarse cloth and rise to the surface. The majority of the impurities will be entrapped inside the bag.”
So, I decided to give it a try! In the video below, I walk through ––in great detail–– the burlap sack method for rending wax in bulk: