While my bees did not survive the winter they did leave several boxes completely full of honey. At this point I cannot justify an extractor so I’m doing what is called crush and strain. Further I do use beeswax in other things so I’m OK with cutting comb out of frames of honey. And since I use foundationless frames it is easy to just run a knife around the frame and cut out all the comb.
To make a crush and strain setup you need two buckets with lids and a 5 gallon paint strainer bag. Cut the middle out of one lid and drill several holes in the bottom of what will be the top bucket. Put the paint strainer bag in the top bucket and the lid with the middle cut out on the lower bucket. It does take several days for the honey to flow through to the bottom bucket, I’ve got this in my basement so it is on the cool side. It works better when it is warmer.
You can crush it by hand or use a potato masher. The more it gets mashed up the better it will allow the honey to drain out. This leaves you the wax which will still have some honey on it. You can heat it up enough to melt the wax which will float to the top and leave what is left of the honey in the bottom. This honey will not have all the goodness of raw honey and will need to be strained again, however it can be used in cooking since it will be heated during cooking anyway.
Unless you have a significant number of hives spending something like $1000 for an extractor is probably not cost-effective. While it has been quoted on the internet that it takes 8 lbs of honey to make 1 lb of wax, I have never found the study that actually show this to be true. In my limited experience bees have no problem building comb so I’m not concerned with trying to save honey comb and re-use it. Plus I want the wax