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Old 9th December 2005, 10:17 PM   #1
drdavid
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Default Beeswax

Hi
having been told by a couple of forum members that the Mandau that I have has a beeswax ferrule and then looking at a fairly ordinary piha ketta I have, I realised that the handle repair job on that was probably also beeswax. What suprises me is how hard that stuff can get. Can anyone enlighten me as to how this stuff is used and how it is 'cured' to make it so hard and strong.
cheers
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Old 10th December 2005, 12:42 AM   #2
VANDOO
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NOT BEEING A BEE EXPERT I CAN ONLY GUESS .
BEE KEEPERS USUALLY PUT MANUFACTURED BEES WAX COMBS IN THE HIVES OF DOMESTIC BEES SO THE BEES WILL SPEND MORE TIME MAKEING HONEY INSTEAD OF WAX. THE WAX OF A DOMESTIC HONEY BEE IS PROBABLY DIFFERENT THAN THAT OF A WILD BEE, ESPECIALLY IN A HOT JUNGLE CLIMATE LIKE BORNEO OR MALAYSIA. I WOULD GUESS IT WOULD TAKE MORE HEAT TO MELT IT AND WOULD BE DARKER AND LESS PURE THAN DOMESTIC BEE WAX OR MANUFACTURED WAX. I DON'T KNOW IF THE MATERIAL IS WAX OR NOT OR IF SOMETHING HAS BEEN ADDED TO WAX TO MAKE THE MATERIAL BEING USED. I HAVE READ SEVERAL PLACES THAT IT IS BEES WAX BUT NEVER ASKED A DAYAK SWORD MAKER OR HAD SOME TESTED SO THE ANSWER IS NOT KNOWN FOR SURE.

ETHINOGRAPHIC WEAPONS COLLECTING IS NOT A EXACT SCIENCE SO MUCH IS LOST OR UNKNOWN BUT WE LEARN IT LITTLE BY LITTLE.
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Old 10th December 2005, 11:52 PM   #3
drdavid
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Hi all
I remembered I had a friend who keeps bees so I asked about the properties of beeswax and he told me quite a lot of interesting stuff including the fact that left to its own devices it will go very hard without any treatment at all. He said that if the beekeepers need to mould the wax they need to soak it for up to 24 hours to get it soft enough. Could not tell me if there was much difference between domestic and native bee wax other than more pollens,twigs etc in the wild stuff. He also pointed out that the mouthpiece of the indigenous australian instrument the digigeridoo which is very hard is made from beeswax. So I suspect that the beeswax on swords like the Mandau is just in its raw form and allowed to dry for a while to fully harden.
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Old 12th December 2005, 07:52 AM   #4
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I've used beeswax to make a lip on my Australian didgeridoo (as opposed to a didgeridon't ). Let me tell you - it either has to be melted and poured, dipped, or diluted with something. Any other way does not work (except carving). Most of the time I have seen pitch rather than beeswax.
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Old 25th September 2020, 06:40 PM   #5
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Bumping this oldie with a question. Has anyone here used beeswax to fill insect holes in horn? Wondering if it would make a good "patch" material.
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Old 25th September 2020, 07:35 PM   #6
Tim Simmons
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You need to mix beeswax with tree resin, various natural resins can be found with ease, you know where, I have not found one resin that much better than any other when mix with bees wax. Experimentation is needed in getting the correct mix to achieve the adhesive you want. You can make genuine authentic adhesives. It takes heat and careful handling for large quantities but even a small amount needs some preparation. Powdered charcoal is also an interesting addition depending on the job.
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Old 5th October 2020, 10:21 AM   #7
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Looking up "Cutler's resin" on Wikipedia may or may not be helpful. I can tell you: some of the "voids" on a few buffalo horn handles currently in my care have been filled in with some sort of dark grey/blackish and semi-solid mystery substance having a matte appearance and a softish and non-crumbly texture... Sort of like what I suspect might be had with a bit of charcoal and ashes kneaded into a bit of toilet bowl wax ring. I could be completely off here; it's just conjecture on my part.
Locating a tree which has been bleeding pitch which one can harvest is one thing; the beeswax might be trickier nowadays, unless your local community has a "Farmer's Market" on weekends in the parking lot of the shopping mall, or a Beekeepers Club which you can contact.
Charcoal can often be found in areas frequented by people "on or near the street". Or you can burn your own. About six and three quarter hours ago I was sawing up Mexican red oak and American white oak pallets to use as firewood... I also have numerous small containers and plastic baggies of sawdust which I've collected...ebony, ipe, wenge, various "mahoganies", rosewood, etc. (It's all MINE. I won't sell any. You can't have any); it's all potentially useful, depending on what you're trying to patch up/fill in. Collecting and making your own filler material is often much cheaper, and may yield better results than a can of some store-bought stuff. The unfortunate truth is: as society around the globe becomes increasingly urbanized, the path of least resistance may be straight to the "do it yourself" superstore down the boulevard (instead of to the pitch pine on the slope behind the superstore).
Your mileage may or may not vary.
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Old 5th October 2020, 03:08 PM   #8
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Thank you guys for the tips. I work in Cambodia and there is an indigenous market in tree resin that is harvested traditionally. Likewise there is a market in wild bee honey, may be interesting to experiment with. I will also have a range of tropical hardwood scraps to play around with. When I get back I will see what concoctions I can create.
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