Anyone who produces honey is going to have granulation problems. If you are a larger producer you will need equipment to handle drums of honey and there is equipment that you can order and place in service that works well. However, if you are a small producer, it is a different story. Years ago when I had only a few honey producing hives, I would use the large pot of water on the stove top with the 5 gallon tin can setting inside of it. This worked fairly well when I only had one can to do at a time with a total of 4 or 5 for the season. Like most other people with 3 or 4 hives, my hives grew into a dozen and then more. A friend of mine has described, on more than one occasion, how he heats his honey in a large pan over direct heat on the stove. I just cringe every time he tells people about his system and I try to visualize the kitchen scene. I think that is a no-no on page one – line one. But he’s happy. I “moved up” to the four can liquefier that Dadant used to sell back in the late seventies and continued with that for several years. It did a good job but you had water dripping off the cans when you picked them out and then you had to drain it with a hose to the outside. It beat the daylights out of picking those cans out of the pot on the stove top but it still had some shortcomings. I don’t like the idea of all the moisture, even though the lids are on tight, and I don’t think the heat was even throughout the unit. Just putting a blanket over it seemed to make it work much better. The worst part for me was I had to baby-sit it to make sure it did not overheat and damage the honey. I could just plug it in and forget about it until the next day. Like I said, it worked but I wanted something better.
In addition to bees, we also hatch birds (chicken, pheasant, bob whites, etc.) on our farm so we have incubators. One day, I thought that they would make a good liquefier if they were constructed a little differently and maybe I should build something. I designed this one as a four bucket unit because I wanted to have good, even temperature everywhere inside. But when I used it the first time I wanted to see if it would work with six buckets and it performed wonderfully. The honey was stored in an unheated building for months and was granulated like a brick with a temperature of less than 20 degrees. I placed the 6 buckets of granulated honey into the heater and installed the cover in an unheated building during February, set the temperature at 100 degrees and left it alone for 24 hours. I then poured them into my bottling tank for further packaging. Only a few crystals remained on the bottom. There were no hot spots, no lumps of granulated honey and no fear of overheating. All of the working parts came from G.Q.F. Manufacturing, Savannah, GA 31402 (Phone: 912-236-0651). There are two things I would do differently if I built another one. First, I would use a thermostat (#2E206, 30 to 110 degrees from Granger, phone 814-693-6800) because it would be easier to adjust. Second, when I made the insulating cover of 2” blue board, it was constructed as one piece. It is not heavy but very large to handle so I cut it into a top and bottom piece making it much easier to handle. This stuff cuts beautifully on a table saw but be very careful it doesn’t bind or grab – go slow!
If you have questions, I can be reached at 570-725-3682