How to Build a Hot Knife for Beeswax

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You can make an excellent hot knife for cutting beeswax in a matter of minutes.
You can make an excellent hot knife for cutting beeswax in a matter of minutes. (Image: detailansicht insektenhotel image by Susann Köthe from Fotolia.com)

Beeswax is an excellent multipurpose material used in cosmetics, baking, polish, dental floss and more. Unlike other materials that can be cut with a serrated edge or a sharp blade, beeswax is most easily cut into manageable chunks by using a hot knife. The best way to do this is to make a knife that can get hot enough to melt straight through the beeswax. Soldering tips come in conical and wedge shapes, and the tip wears out before the iron itself. You can make an excellent hot knife in a matter of minutes using a hammer and soldering iron.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy hammer
  • Old soldering iron or spare soldering-iron tip plus soldering iron

Remove the tip of the soldering iron according to the manufacturer's instructions for your particular iron. Many irons attach the soldering tip with a simple screw at one end. Place the soldering tip on a hard, flat surface like a cement floor. Alternatively, you can use a spare soldering-iron tip. The surface and hammer must both be be hard enough to resist pounding metal.

Hammer the tip of the soldering iron flat using a heavy hammer or mallet, flattening it at the outer tip and leaving the end that plugs into the soldering iron round and intact. The soldering tip is hollow inside, which will make the job of hammering it flat easier. Pound the tip until it is completely flat and sharp, so it will be able to slice easily through beeswax once you've plugged it in. The shape of the tip of the soldering iron changes the heat transfer to the surface you are soldering, and the flat tip is ideal for transferring the most heat to the surface area for cutting beeswax.

Reassemble the soldering iron with the newly flattened tip. The end of the iron will grow quite hot when you plug the it in, enough to readily cut through beeswax. You'll also be able to switch back and forth between the cutting tip and the regular soldering tip for separate projects as needed. Most soldering irons have interchangeable tips, allowing you to turn your soldering iron into a tool with many uses.

Tips & Warnings

  • Your hot knife can be used to cut hard plastics and similar materials with relatively low melting points as well.

References

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