Bee Propolis Varnish


Wood Girl #1186
I assume we have a few bee-keepers in the group so this goes out to you. (Larry Bowers included) Has anyone tried making Bee Propolis Varnish and used it on canoes, paddles etc? I would like to know how well it holds up and how well it works as a wood sealer. I was going to try this this year but, my friend Jim lost his hive to varroa mites over the winter so I have no propolis to acquire from him. Splinter
Paddling with propolis-based varnish seems like a roundabout way of improving your health, and expensive too.
hi Splinter,
I had not heard of propolis based varnish, but you could fill a warehouse with what I dont know. Do you have a recipe for this type of varnish?

I have 3 complete hives with enough honey supers for all of them. I dont have any bees right now as I went from the 3 to 1 and to none now. I didnt want to get going on any this year as I am going on a long trip with Dan.

So lots of propolis on everything. Most of the time I curse the stuff as it sticks to anything. Like s,,t to a blanket. As a wood sealer it would be amazing as it really is bee glue, they use it to seal every nook and crany. It really is only natural plant and tree resins they bring back with them. I would be very curious about a recipe.

To build myself a new canoe with my own bee varnish,,, how intriguing :p It would be awesome stuff. I just have that feeling.

Let me know and I can start scraping the boxes ;)
Bee Propolis Varnish Recipe

Originally used to varnish fine Stradivarius violins, now used to refinish fine museum quality wood items like musical instruments, this recipe is a warm, durable finish for ANY wood project:

Combine in a glass jar at room temperature the following:
4 parts blond shellac 1 lb.
1 part manila copal (a soft resin) 4 oz
1 part propolis from wood bee hives 4 oz
1/2 gallon denatured alcohol

Cover the jar with a lid. Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature for 2 weeks, gently shaking and rotating at regular intervals. Then, filter the solution through a few layers of cheesecloth or nylon stocking before using.

Manila copal resin can be found from instrument restorers, or specialty varnish suppliers such as Joseph Hammerl GmbH & co. KG Hauptstrasse 18, 8523 Baiersdorf, Germany.

For the work involved in removing the propolis from the hives and supers you should be able to get $4-7 US per pound. Go for it. Oh, and send me some while you're at it. Splinter
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well let the scraping begin,, and i will share some with you when i get to it. Some of my supers are old from another beekeeper, so thay are absolutely coated with it.

After reading your post i googled it , as i was now curious. I was wondering about wax contamination. So one site explained in detail how to recover it and seperate it.

If you email me your address i will send you a jar of my honey. Not really my honey,, the bees hard work actually.

I am hoping i might end up with a swarm show up this year. I got one last year and if our weather gets in gear i am sure another will show up when a large hive divides.

Thanks again for the awesome info.
Way Cool!

Wow! Larry you are awesome! I would love a jar of your honey! I use it in many things including bread. I make wheat free bread and It's really good in that. Thanks, What can I send in return?
Margaret Fisher
6432 River Court
West Bend, WI 53095
no need to send anything, thats what i love about this site. Meet so many wonderful people. If you ever on the west coast or the island, drop by. I really have met and chatted with many great people on here.

Maybe only great people own wooden canoes......:p

Just a theory:D
Going that away....

Well, my headquarters is in Tacoma, WA, thats about as close as I'm bound to get anytime real soon. I do have a board meeting coming up in Calgary Alberta, Canada at the end of May but dang, that's still several horses away, I guess. I will think of something. No good deed shall go unpunished.

Is this long trip you're taking with dboles?

BTW excellent people can be found in fly-fishing, too. Only a couple of annoying derelicts found so far.
yes the trip with dboles is 4 weeks,, it may seem longer if we dont get along,,:p no chance of that , he really is a great guy. It will be a great trip.

The northwest chapter is having its spring meet in manning park this year at end of may. A bit of a hike from calgary, but should be a great meet too.

It is a stunning park.

Well, I think you should be aware that as soon as you leave, Dave Lanthier, your "friend" will probably be cooking up some kind of deal involving both your wives (assuming you BOTH have wives), gemstones, old canoes and fly-tying materials. I suspect this is just a thinly veiled attempt to acquire as many wives and canoes as possible. If you don't believe me you better read the Thread in "Assembly" under "Fly-plate". You may want to be cautious and send your wives on an extended all-expenses paid shopping trip covering at least 3 continents while you're gone, just to be safe. It will cost alot but considering what you're charging for Bee Propolis these days, it really shouldn't be a problem for you. Splinter
welllll,, better watch Dave then. As Dan and i will expecting my wife on the far end of the trip to pick us up.

Sooooooooooo if she doesnt show up, i guess we blame Dave then. Sounds like a good plan to blame him anyways. ;)

And isn't it nice to know that's all settled so far ahead of the trip? One more thing you can cross off your list.

As the saying goes, "I said we were going to blame you, I didn't say it was your fault."

Bee Varnish Update #1

I mixed together the 4 oz refined manila copal, 4 oz bee propolis, 1 lb. bllond shellac flakes and 1/2 gallon denatured alcohol in my one gallon pickle jar. I've been rotating it a few times a day. It looks like it's pretty well dissolved with the predictable bee hive residue. I will strain it through cheesecloth on Sunday when I get home and test it out on several pieces of wood that will be used or are already on the canoe. Right now, it looks pretty thick and it's the color of rootbeer which will affect whether I stain it all or not. It needs to be thinned before I test it out as well. First items to finish will be the new cherry seats as I will be caning them this next week. Stay tuned....
Bee Varnish Update #2

Goes on almost clear. Dries incredibly fast. Will do two more coats on sample before water test.
Bee Varnish Test Results

And Finally.....

Test sample: Cherry Sapwood, 1" x 12" x 2", unstained.
First coat of bee varnish thinned 30%; dried to sanding in about 3 hours.
Sanded with 150 grit, vacuumed.
Second coat thinned 30%; dried to sanding in about 3 hours.
Sanded with 220 grit, vacuumed and lightly tack clothed.
Third coat, thinned 15%; dried for 14 hours before water test.

Finish coat is clear, slightly golden. Smooth/silky almost waxy feel to touch. Very, very faint honey aroma. (LOVE IT !!!)

Cherry blank submerged for 40 minutes.
Appearance: No change.
Clarity: No change
Sheen: No change
Texture: No change
Weight: No change

Impact test: 35 lb strike with steel meat tenderizer: Indentations slightly bruised, finish adhesion: Intact, no chip out.

Water test on Impact area: Submerged for 40 minutes: No change.

The judges have decided to stain all the wood with a light washcoat of stain and varnish with 3 coats of Bee Varnish.

I got my materials from the marvelous Dale Pryzbyl, WoodFinishing Enterprises, 1729 N. 68th St., Wauwatosa, WI 53213-2307
Phone: 414-774-1724 email: He's got a nice online catalog too. No pictures but really interesting materials no one ever hears about. He is a wealth of information and a good guy to boot.
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