The Walt Two-Frame Honey Extractor

By: Walt Dahlgren

After completing my WALT TOP BAR HONEY EXTRACTOR published in the October 2013 issue of Bee Culture, I wondered if my favorite five-gallon pail was large enough to use for a two frame centrifugal extractor.

I placed two 6¼ frames in the pail and decided I could space them 3” apart and still rotate them in the pail. Of course the pail is only 15” high and the frames are 19” long so the pail is too short. I could use extra pails as extensions to make my extractor tall enough to suit the frame.

Review the pictures, and then gather the following materials:

  1.  Two plastic pail covers
  2. Four plastic five-gallon pails
  3. One plastic five-gallon pail with honey gate
  4. Four metal strips 1 x 13” and two 1 x 1 x 2” metal angles
  5. Two wood blocks ¾ x 2” – one 3” long – one 6¾ long
  6. Two 3/8” brass grommets (as used with canvas tarps)
  7. Eight machine screws ½” long with nuts and eight wood screws                   
  8. One 3/8 threaded rod 19¼ long with two nuts and 4 washers
  9. Two 3/8 plain rods- one 6” long – one 1½” long
  10. Two 3/8 coupling nuts
  11. Honey strainer bag
  12. Plastic cement


Making the extractor:

1.) Cut the tabs from two covers as shown in Photos #1 & #2. Cut every other tab from each cover, then cut the remaining tabs to 1½” in length.  This makes assembly and disassembly much easier.

2.) Cut two D shaped holes in one cover for insertion of honey frames. Drill and install grommet in the center of the cover for the shaft. This will be the top cover for your extractor. See left cover in Photo #1.

3.) Cut an 8” hole in the second cover that will be attached to the bottom of the extractor. Right cover in Photo #1.

4.) Cut a 1” section from the bottom of the first  pail. This pail with handle is used as the top section of the extractor. Refer to Photo #2 left unit.

5.) Cut a 4” section from the top of the second  pail and cut the ¼” rim from the bottom. Drill five holes as shown in Photo #2 for honey drainage. Four holes are probably enough, but five gives the artistic appeal. Drill and install the grommet in the center of the pail bottom for the shaft .                 

6.) Attach the cover with the hole to the above pail with screws and nuts. This is the bottom section of the extractor and will snap on to the honey storage pail. See Photo #2 and right unit in photo #3.

7.) Cut a 1” section from the bottom and 4” section from the top of the two remaining pails. These are used as extensions to make the extractor high enough to suit a standard Langstroth frame. Refer to Photo #4.

8.) Assemble and cement the plastic pail parts together to form the body of extractor. Place the two stack extensions in the bottom pail and fit  pail with handle into extensions . See Photo #5.

Photo #5.

9.) The fifth pail with the honey gate will support the extractor and store the extracted honey.


Making the extractor shaft – Refer to Photo #6 :

Photo #6.

1.) Drill a 3/8 hole in the center of the 3” block for the top frame holders.

2.) Drill a 3/8 hole in the center of the 6 ¾ block for the bottom frame holder.

3.) Bend four metal strips to form the “C” shaped frame holders making inside dimensions 1¾ x 6¾ to suit a 6¼ frame.  I used 1 x 13” x 16 GA stainless steel strip.

4.) Attach “C” shaped frame holders to the wood blocks as shown. Use the angles to attach the lower clips.

5.) Drill one end of each coupling nut to suit the plain rods. Pin the rods to the coupling nuts. The 6” rod will be used at the top of the shaft and the 1½” rod at the bottom.

6.) Attach wood frame holders to 3/8 threaded rod as shown with washer, nuts and coupling nuts. Use Loctite or similar product to lock the coupling nut to the 3/8 threaded shaft.

7.) Make removable shaft extension. Refer to Photo #7.

Photo #7.


Assemble shaft and cover to the extractor as shown in Photo #5. Then snap it on to the five-gallon  honey storage pail into which you have placed the honey strainer bag.  The honey may be bottled directly from this pail.

Use a variable speed drill to turn the shaft . When the extracting frames are empty, lift the drill off the shaft, allowing the basket to coast to a stop. Follow all normal precautions as with any extractor.    

Have fun with your new WALT TWO-FRAME HONEY EXTRACTOR! Still another use for the beekeepers’ favorite piece of equipment – the plastic five-gallon pail.