I am running several flow hives- but also some standard good old langstroth. Over time I plan to expand my collection of flow frames- but I am also running a hybrid super. To cut a long story short- very soon I am going to have some fullly capped regular frames. I don’t plan to harvest many of these- but am considering getting a cheap two frame spinner so I can harvest some if I want to- does anyone have experience using a spinner like the one linked below? Can you do a single frame if you want or will the balance be too off? Is the hand crank too weak? Any thoughts or advice appreciated:
A hand crank is fine. That’s what they are designed for after all. Your spinner, looked after, may well last longer than your Flow frames.
I’d be having a closer look at the design though, buy from a reputable source and get a guarantee
Yes you do have to balance it
We used a hand crank spinner for many years, but it does get tiring after a while. For $100 more on eBay, you can get a motorized one - that would be my preference.
You do need to balance the spinner, but the balancing item doesn’t have to be a frame of honey. You are handy with wood, so why not make a follower/dummy board to use on the other side? As long as it is within about 500g of the frame you are spinning, it should be OK. You can tell when you are spinning if it is out of balance - always start slowly, and if you are using the dummy board, continue slowly because the balance will be off for most of the spin.
I only use a 2 frame hand spinner, it works well for me. There has been two of those spinners sold. The feedback was good & bad. One person gave it 77 out of 100, while the second person only gave it 20/100.
It IS best to use 2 frames of equal weight, however what I do if I finish up with one frame is spin it with an empty frame & crank slowly, turning the honey frame around several times until it is finished. By then, it is easy to turn.
If you’re handy with your hands & metal, you might be able to beef it up if you find some things are a bit flimsy. The main thing is, you have the drum. It all looks fairly sturdy to me.
I’ve had my spinner for nearly 30 years & it’s still going strong. It must have been over 30 years old when I bought it. I had to fix a few things over that time. It’s a beauty. In that time I have never contemplated buying an electric one, even though people tell me I should have one.
Good luck with your decision. cheers
I am a strong advocate for spending decent money on a quality extractor that will last forever, but can understand if you are only doing a few frames.
Some name brands are (warning they are pricey):
Lega (made in Italy, sold by becs beehives)
Saf Natura (made in Italy, sold by hive works)
Maxant (made in USA)
To solve the balance problem, a plastic chopping board from the kitchen usually does the trick, and it’s easy to clean up.
I have a Maxant 3100P and love it.
Maxant stuff is definitely top of the line but it is an absolute pain to get it in Australia.
I attempted to get a 3100p last year (at great expense with shipping + import) and waited so long for the local distributor that I gave up and bought a Lega. For a 3100p landed in Australia you’re looking at around $1700AUD.
This year I attempted to get an uncapping plane direct from Maxant in the US and they have failed to respond to two email requests for international shipping quotes…so I’ve given up again.
If you have access to this gear, consider yourself lucky!
jeff- I seem to recall you saying you have 60 hives- and you average 100kg’s per hive- are you saying you spin all of that honey on a two frame hand spinner??? Wow! No wonder you look so fit in your videos. Well done sir!
Given just how cheap the one that I linked is- I wouldn’t be surprised if the quality is not so great. However I think I might grab one to try it out. In a few weeks I will have half a dozen fully capped frames- so it will be fun. Thanks for all the tips everyone.
Hi Jack, I spin that all by hand. I regret saying that I get a 100kgs per hive now. Since I said that, the honey flow has been non existent.
One day someone offered me a free electric honey spinner. After working out the pros & cons, I decided to turn it down. I got Wilma to time the actual spinning of the honey, & it turned out to be about 10 or 12 seconds per side. The rest of the time I spend is used up with decapping etc.
We timed the extracting of a single 8 frames of honey one day. It worked out to be around 90 minutes from start to finish. We got 20 kilos of honey from those 8 frames. That’s 90 minutes doing the whole thing. Lighting the smoker, putting the bee suit on, taking the frames out & replacing them back into the hive, straining the honey & cleaning up the mess. We did that after someone said that if a person was well organized, that job should take 6-8 hours by hand.
Howdy Jeff- I imagine there is little collection to Budderim bees and adelaide bees in terms of the honey flow- or even the seasons. However- in Adelaide this year was slow to start by all accounts but I think we have just turned the corner. The frames are being filled and capped rapidly- I hope you have a late season surge too.
I have somewhat coincidentally had experience with a generic two frame extractor over the last few days… not exactly the same as above but similar.
There were several issues with it mainly to do with build quality that you need to be careful of. All the steel work was rough cut and not adequately deburred, resulting in metal splinters/swarf throughout the drum that required cleaning out thoroughly. The same was true for the cage, with much of the cage wire not filed resulting in a lot of sharp edges. Other edges weren’t rolled (legs) which again meant sharp/exposed edges.
Functionally it extracted ok, but definitely built to a price with some finishing touches skipped in manufacturing.
If you only have a few frames, why not crush-and-strain? Simple, cheaper and less to clean afterwards.
I had though of that- but I would like to be able to re-use my sticky frames. Also I plan to do a reasonable number of frames over time- and the two frame spinner was so cheap I decided to bite the bullet and grab it. I will do a little review of it when I get it.
You have shown yourself to be pretty handy with building hives, so I am sure that if the metal parts need some filing, grinding or smoothing, it would be a piece of cake for you! I like reusing stickies too, and I think I get more honey from the frames using an extractor than crush and strain. The other benefit of the extractor is that if you have any frames which were once brood but now have honey in them, you can extract the honey without extracting the cocoon/larval poo mixture. Crush and strain mixes it all in…
I can’t believe you said that!
I did it just for you! [Sighs with satisfaction] Another cage successfully rattled!!!
I noticed that Becs Beehives have removed the 4 frame Lega extractor from their website, but are still selling the 2 frame.
I’m the type of person who places emphasis on quality over cost and the Lega extractors seem to be a quality product.
I know that a 2 frame vs 4 frame extractor will increase the amount of time spent extracting, but a large part of my beekeeping endeavours involves the intention of staying busy during my impending retirement.
I have 1 full flow hive but, due to the cost of the flow hive system, my other hives are a more traditional set up.
Can anyone recommend a decent quality 4 frame + extractor available in Australia?
There are 3 brands I would recommend (from experience)
Maxant is difficult to get into the country in a cost effective way. Bindaree (http://bindaree.com.au) just outside of Canberra often have some in stock, or you’ll be waiting for next shipment or ordering direct (http://maxantindustries.com) + customs costs.
If Bec is out of Lega, pretty sure they have them at Redpaths in Melbourne (confirm brand before ordering).
Lega 4 frame can also be easily upgraded to motorised. Only criticism I have of the Lega is the choice they made to go nylon gearing. Hasn’t caused any functional issue, but the rest of the extractor is absolutely mint… so the nylon feels cheaper than it should.
SAF Natura are also nice and I noticed a new place http://hiveworks.com.au was stocking them.
I actually haven’t dealt with any of the above suppliers, but have seen all the above extractors in the metal.
I’ve been looking at extractors, like you I’d like to reuse the comb. How did the el cheapo go?
I have only done one extraction with it- and it worked OK- but three frames split and bowed in the middle. I think this was mostly my fault- and because there is no support for the frame face in the basket. I will add some cake racks to both baskets to better support the frames next time… the actual drum is made of reasonably thick stainless steel- and the base is convex to make getting the honey out easier. The crank is pretty simple but works. Overall I would say I got what I paid for…