The following post is for information purposes only. Do not try this at home. Be cautious of heat in enclosed spaces.
This is the first post in the series of essential equipment we are going to need to help us in our work creating tinctures, Elixirs
essences and all the other interesting stuff we may be exploring..
I thought long and hard about the one first essential requirement the practising Spagyricist / Alchemist would need. It has to be a
source of heat. Were going to need to be keeping our herbal remedies warm. Correct temperature for some processes is essential. For
other not so important things a near as is possible temperature will be enough.
For operations such as fermentation to make a wine going too high in temperature will kill the yeast. Going too low and the yeast
will be stunted and not work as effectively or not at all. Without getting too technical in some processes lets take again as the
example creating a wine. Correct temperature releases certain constituent's within the reaction, which are favourable to a good
class of wine. Hence a good quality of product it is believed promotes better reactions within the works themselves.
I may explore that idea in another post.
Why we need to keep our creations warm
1- To promote a good reaction of a herb. Placed in alcohol, water or other solvent "
2- This reaction helps the effective extraction of the essentials. A tinctured spirit for example
3- Heat excites particles and atoms. Generating energy is part of the overall reaction
4- In Spagyrics / Alchemy heat " Sun " is in complement to moon " cool "
5- The incubator is the darkness. We place work in the incubator for putrefaction
6- Re-arrangement of elements can be likened to death of the original matter. New things begin from death
7- By the above statement I mean. For something to be reborn it has to undergo the death
8- The heat from the fire " heat source " creates a circulation of the matter. See here
9- The heating of a herb and sugar and yeast creates Alcohol. A herb wine
10- The Spagyricists / Alchemists say everything starts in death and decay
What your gonna need to create your own incubator
There are many ways to make an incubator. Personally Ive made a few over
the years. First of all your going to need some kind of container. My first incubator I made with a cardboard box. You can of
course if you have the equipment choose a better option. I will now explore a few options in making an incubator. For you to
A list of the main essentials for a homemade incubator
1- Your container. " not an option " unless of course one is using the Sun
2- Heat source " not necessary if in a permanently warm climate "
3- Sand " optional dependant on design "
4- Insulation material " Optional dependant on the stability of the temperature of environment
5- Thermometer " not an option if temperature needs regulation "
6- Timer " optional depending on the temperature of the environment
3- Electricity " not an option if running electrical heaters "
3- Solar heat " An option if running a solar setup "
How to make a cheap incubator. A low watt bulb for safety reasons.
The cheapest and easiest idea that I could come up with for a reliable heat source is a low watt bulb. This example is a 6 watt
LED bulb. It does not generate a lot of heat. However in an insulated box in a fairly warm room the temperature will reach about 20c.
Whilst not ideal it is better than nothing. Please note any bulb that generates heat could potentially become a fire hazard.
Be wise in this matter. DO NOT RISK FIRE. The ice packs retain a small amount of heat if the lid is removed.
A cheap thermometer will be useful
A thermometer is needed for temperature management. A cheap thermometer will work well. More expensive options are available
but not necessary. If manual regulation is used a thermometer will be essential. Timers are another good idea. I will look at
this option later in the post.
Find ways to retain heat if possible.
Finding ways to retain the heat is a good idea. It not only saves on electricity but a constant temperature is advantageous over
fluctuations. When fermenting grape for wine temperature is essential as fluctuations may cause the yeast to die off. This may
create off aromas and tastes which are undesirable. I lined the box " second image " with sand. The sand helps to insulate the bottom
and also retains heat well. Other options include foil, aluminium bubble wrap, vermiculite etc.
Keep the work in the dark if possible.
We don't want our precious concoctions being subjected to light. I use aluminium foil sheets cut and taped with aluminium foil
tape to make covers for my work. This allows a degree of insulation and keeps the light out. The covers retain heat well. Removing
the lid and bulb outages become less of a worry. Tube heaters like the one above I have personally found to be the best option for
incubator temperature regulation. They don't get too hot to burn if connected properly. They heat quickly and when switched off
tend to keep quite warm for some time afterwards. I think they are filled with a kind of oil. Don't quote me on that though.
A cooler box makes a good incubator
A cooler box makes a good incubator. Temperature fluctuations are kept to a minimum due to the insulated walls and lid. I lined
mine out with an extra layer of aluminium foil. Cannot be seen. The base can be filled with sand. A tube heater or reptile mat is an
alternative heating source. Sheets of insulating board can be purchased and are excellent sources for insulating any box. Insulating
blankets are another option too.
My incubator has 5 inch thick walls of sheet insulation.
This is the incubator in my lab. It caters for fermentation as a plus the upper compartment has a higher temperature and so is good
for things like tinctures, essences stones. This model has 5 inch thick insulation sheets top bottom and sides. This makes the
incubator extremely efficient which in turn keeps the running costs down. I can fit a lot of projects in this. It is heated by a
tube heater of 30 watts. It also has an electronic timer which I can adjust for the Summer or Winter months. It's absolutely
Timers / reptile mats a great addition to a DIY incubator.
Other options for heat sources include reptile mats. Ceramic heaters of the type for vivariums are also an option although these
can get quite hot so a regulation device would be essential. The beauty of reptile mats is that they last a long time. The heat
is also low wattage and regulated through a thermostat / timer. They make a perfect choice. Timers can be bought cheaply although
I have personally found the more expensive models do last a lot longer and are harder wearing. This model was about twenty pounds and
I have had it for a number of years. It's timed in 15 minute increments so once dialled in it can be left and the temperature is
automatically regulated. This would be my first choice over electronic thermostats.