What are the differences between the various frame types? Grooved, divided, split, wedge, top, bottom...
I'm new (still no hive) and not sure if there are any practical benefits to each type. I'm curious what others use and why they chose the frame type that they did? Are there any standard frames that work well without a foundation?
Most poeple prefer to wire their frames for extra comb support, important when using an extractor or for the novice. The tighter you can make the wire the better. Tight enough to resonate like a guitar string is good.
Top bars come in the following types:
Grooved: As it states it has a groove down the top bar inwhich to secure the sheet of foundation with melted wax.
Divided: This is a sectioned frame for making cut comb honey, the bees draw out the squares of comb on the frame and the beekeeper cuts them out and boxes them when finished. There are usually 4 squares per frame.
Split: A split top bar is relatively new and available from Walter T. Kelly. It's nice because the foundation can be slid down through the top bar and into a groved or split bottom bar, making securing both ends of the foundation simpler.
Wedged: This is a grooved top bar with one side cut so it is barely attached to the rest of the top bar. The wedge is removed and then tacked (brads) back onto the top bar to fsecure the foundation to the bar by compression.
Any top bar can be used with any bottom bar, the choice of configurations is up to the individual beekeeper.
There are 3 types of bottom bars:
Solid: As it implies it is a solid piece of wood to stablize the frame construction on the bottom edge.
Grooved: It is grooved just like the grooved top bar,and, ideally, the foundation fits into the grooves in both bars helping secure the foundation.
Split: A split bottom bar has a groove cut all the way through the wood and can be tacked together as a clamp to secure the bottom part of the foundation in the frame.
End bars come in 6 lengths; Dadant Extra Deep, Deep, Western, Medium, Shallow, and Cut Comb. Each lehgth of end bar is designed to be used with a particular size of super. Cut Comb and Comb honey supers (Basswood, Ross Rounds, etc) are the shallowest.
Now that you're more confused than ever, aren't you glad you asked the question? Look at the various catalogs and study how the different parts are made and fit together.