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Hello again,

As I hinted in my earlier post, I would like to start some discussions with 
a more positive spin.  Hopefully we can share some new or even resurrect 
some old ideas to make beekeeping easier and more fun. This one is going to 
be on my favorite tools used in beekeeping but not designed for beekeeping.

Air Compressor:  This is by far the leader of the group.  For years I 
painstakingly nailed frames together, 10 nails per frame, plus 3 or 4 to 
hold the foundation cleat.  It seemed to take forever.  I then bought an air 
compressor for an unrelated job.  Coupled with a pneumatic stapler I can 
whip out frames at an alarming rate compared to the old method.  This year I 
built a frame nailing jig.  That added to the speed. The only problem is all 
the boxes I have to paint to keep up with the frames.  When I purchased my 
compressor they were still somewhat expensive.  Now, because of imports, the 
price has dropped substantially making the compressor an affordable tool to 
anyone.  While these newer less expensive models may not hold up to 
industrial-like tasks, they should be more than ample for the use an average 
beekeeper will have. For the price of what you get for a few cases of honey 
you can purchase a complete kit.

In addition to nailing I have used it to pry apart two stuck five gallon 
buckets.  One little blast of air down the side will free any set of 
buckets.  My honey house is close to my workshop and occasionally when 
bringing in supers I will notice some bees I did not remove.  A quick grab 
of the air hose and the bees are flying back to their home and not carried 
inside.  In addition to beekeeping I have found so many uses for my 
compressor that I can’t imagine going without it.

Propane Torch:   Another tool that has found many uses in my beekeeping 
jobs.  I always seem to put off cleaning old frames until it is too cold for 
the solar wax melter to work.  The torch works great here.  Spot cleaning 
excluders is another good use.  I have even used it to light a smoker in a 
hurry to GENTLY  warm a fume board on a cool cloudy day.  The year I broke 
my wrist, I used my torch to help in the uncapping of frames.  I quickly 
heated the capping surface to soften them up and then used a capping 
scratcher.

Ok, so here are two of my favorite atypical tools for beekeeping.  What have 
you tried lately?  Let us know, maybe if some of the ideas are very good Kim 
may string a few of them together for an article in Bee Culture.  Then 
another group can share in the great knowledge contained in this list.

Ron

Ron Bogansky
Kutztown, PA

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