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Author Topic: Building your own "stuff"  (Read 10014 times)
Tucker1
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« on: May 06, 2009, 07:21:50 PM »

It seems like quite a few of the more experienced beeks build their own supers, brood boxes, frames, bottom boards, etc.  I had the chance to watch someone build frames using a assembly fixture/jig.  It looked pretty simple. I'm guessing that assembling supers, brood boxes and the rest of the basic hive isn't too difficult.

Assuming that you have the time, ..... is it worth the effort in building your own hives, using purchased parts?

By doing so, can you build a better hive ?   (i.e. better workmanship, screws & glue vs. just nails, etc.)

What have been your experiences?

Thanks in advance for answering my questions.

Regards,
Tucker

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Bee Happy
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2009, 08:02:08 PM »

I'm not a  more experienced beek. but I have built a couple bodies from "scratch"
for the bodies - a 1"x12"x8' shelving grade (locally)is about $8.50  (a 'commercial' hive body is $12 something? $9 something for "economy" type) from the $8.50 there is a piece left from which another side can be built - so at the cheaper price of just lumber you get a 'freebie' for every four bodies or supers you build (I did 10 frame) (1x8x8 for supers - these cost more because there's no shelving grade 1x8)
but of course you can make significantly better quality - depending on the wood grade and materials you choose - (I painted with elastomeric latex - one coat lazy painting.) I don't know the tolerances for building for bee-space vs. allowing too much for burr comb - so I was excruciatingly precise in my copies of existing measurements.
I could possibly make frames from scratch - but there is no way I'm going to try something that meticulous when I'll want 20 or 30 at a time.
You also don't have to do finger joints or dovetail (unless you have a very good, lasting wood and can put the touch on it.) - I did what I think is called a rabbet (the frame rest board is trimmed to lap the side) then I dadoed the handles - I don't have a dado blade so I had to make a long series of careful plunge cuts. - really - I'm being gabby - as long as you stick to the interior spaces for the style hive you want to do - the cosmetics are pretty much up to structural integrity and your imagination
I did it for the price - cheaper + bonus materials + no freight/ waiting/ travel (the nearest bee supply agent is about 60 miles away)
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2009, 08:02:29 PM »

Tough questions to answer. Depends..............

If you have the time, tools, knowledge, and a cheap source for materials I would say that building your own equipment offers great satisfaction. Well it does for me.

If you can visit one of the suppliers, you can get some good deals. If wooden ware has to be shipped, it can be very expensive.

I generally build my boxes, bottom boards, and tops. I buy frames, foundation, and specialty items.

I built my own bee vac.

Good luck, Steve

 
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2009, 08:12:43 PM »

I haven't tried frames.
You cannot buy finished boards that doesn't have to be cut down.
I use the trim off for my rails on the bottom board, cut reducers from some, spacers for vents,etc.
I use simple butt joints'
I drill holes half the dia of the nail in use.
Enter a good stream of this,(LOCTITE WOOD WORX) wood glue. Available at any builder supply store.
The supers and deeps that I do buy, un assembled, $5 $6 & $8 each. seconds.
May be a split, knot hole, or broken dove tail, etc. I get by. :)doak

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LOCTITE WOOD WORX, wood glue, does not come loose. the wood will split else where first.
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Hethen57
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2009, 08:16:44 PM »

Tucker:
I have built everything (except frames) and am probably following the same method as Bee Happy (with Lowes 1X12X8 pine shelving boards at $8).  I've got is down to a pretty efficient process and the trimmings can make frames, or parts for tops, bottoms, or inner covers.  I don't know if its purely monetary, but I know I can make them much cheaper than shipped product and I enjoy the project as well, there is some pride in building your own stuff.  Everything is glued and screwed and really durable.  Painting is the biggest pain for me, but I would have to paint the purchase stuff as well.  Also, with the ability to construct the stuff, I don't need to wait a week for someone to ship product to me if I was in a pinch.
-Mike
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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2009, 08:32:58 PM »

Most of the stuff I buy is from my Mentor, which is local. :)doak
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« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2009, 08:37:45 PM »

I build all my own hive components except frames.  I enjoy it because I enjoy woodworking.  I've built some really nice ones, and I've also built some crappy ones, it all depends on how much time and effort I want to put into what I'm making.  There aren't any substantial savings from making it yourself though... the lumber costs about the same from the hardware store as pre-cut boxes would cost from a supplier, so if you're going to make your own stuff, do it for higher quality and to have pride in your stuff.
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irekkin
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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2009, 09:35:10 PM »

hey tucker. i build what i can from scratch. i usually don't get fancy either. i have a couple of sources of free wood, so that helps . i don't finger joint my boxes, just square cuts, wood srews, glue and a coat of paint. it's not ideal but i have'nt had any problems with my "home made" stuff. i'm not against store bought, i own some of that too. the thing is i have'nt been in beekeeping long enough to have much spare equipment, so when i catch a swarm or need to split a hive i need to come up with something fairly quick. that's one of the main reasons i started building my own stuff. it's not rocket science either, you can build tops, bottoms, hive bodies and supers with a skill saw and a drill. i do have a table saw and use a dado blade, which is nice but not a nesessity. give it a try. good luck
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lotsobees
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2009, 11:07:38 PM »

Would be fun to see pics of boxes y'all have made. Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2009, 11:27:55 PM »

Would be fun to see pics of boxes y'all have made. Smiley

I might, but they look pretty much like all the other bee boxes out there  grin.  Now some people have interesting paint jobs on theirs....
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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2009, 12:35:20 AM »

Go down about 3 or 4 spaces on the thread and click the (division board feeder topic)
all the boxes in that pic that don't have cut hand holds are me made.
doak
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2009, 12:44:33 AM »

Would be fun to see pics of boxes y'all have made. Smiley



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lotsobees
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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2009, 12:52:26 AM »

Would be fun to see pics of boxes y'all have made. Smiley






Very nice, Sarg. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2009, 01:59:52 AM »

I just figured out what you can do with all that scrap 1X from building shallow supers....I whipped up 10 top bars and 10 bottom bars very easily.  So now, from an $8 piece of wood, you can make 1.25 shallow supers and 10 top bars and 10 bottom bars.  Also, nice attention to detail Sgt Maj, that is craftsmanship....here are my homemade hives:

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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2009, 06:17:09 AM »

I build my own hive, Soon I going to try to build my frame
Johnny
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2009, 09:00:19 AM »

Quote from: Tucker
It seems like quite a few of the more experienced beeks build their own supers, brood boxes, frames, bottom boards, etc.  I had the chance to watch someone build frames using a assembly fixture/jig.

Did you catch my videos -> http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/frames-and-frame-assembly/


Quote from: Tucker
  It looked pretty simple. I'm guessing that assembling supers, brood boxes and the rest of the basic hive isn't too difficult.

Assuming that you have the time, ..... is it worth the effort in building your own hives, using purchased parts?

By doing so, can you build a better hive ?   (i.e. better workmanship, screws & glue vs. just nails, etc.)

What have been your experiences?


It is pretty easy and you can build at whatever your skill level is.  Simple butt joints are fine and the bees don't care.   If you enjoy woodworking you can take it to whatever level you want.   If you mean buying un assembled hive parts from a supplier,  usually shipping alone makes it worth while,  and if you buy from a reputable dealer, the stuff usually fits together easily and if they they will exchange.   The only real thing you need to be careful of is that you line the hand holds up correctly, or you can end up with hand holds upside down, or on the inside if you don't pay attention.  Don't ask me how I know rolleyes

The biggest benefit I find is that you aren't limited in using the commercially available designs.   For instance,  I prefer the C.C. Miller influence bottom boards and slatted racks used by Eugene Killion.  You can't buy them commercially,  but they are simple to build.  Or you can use designs of your own that fit your style or needs.

It is not so much about savings,  especially if you have to buy dimensional lumber from a box store.  If you have a local mill, you can do better.

There is also the pride of knowing you built your own equipment.

I build everything from scratch except frames, those I buy pre-cut and assemble them myself.  I suppose I could build them from scratch, but for the price of the pre-cut frames it is not worth it.  I buy my polystyrene deeps too rolleyes

I enjoy woodworking, a lot of the equipment I prefer is not commercially available,  and  I have a local rough cut mill that I buy my lumber from.


Would be fun to see pics of boxes y'all have made. Smiley

Some of the things I've built (and have pictures of Wink )

Ross Rounds Supers


Double Deep Frames -> http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/double-deep-frames/


Medium Supers -> http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/building-honey-supers/


Bottom board and Slatted Rack


Integrated Bottom Board w/ Slatted Rack - with Sonatube swarm trap next to one of my Warré hives (built these too)


Sugar Boards -> http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/emergency-feeding/


Inner covers


Stack of my $2 Swarm Traps


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Wes Sapp
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2009, 09:43:52 AM »

Robo, Do you remember the thread that was up some time ago that showed how to cut hand holes, well it didn't actually show you how, the pictures weren't their? I noticed in the picture of your med. supers they have those type of cuts. Can you post or do you have instructions with pictures posted somewhere? The dumb kid needs a visual! I try to build all my stuff except frames...I enjoy it and get better quality than I could buy.
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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2009, 10:41:32 AM »

Robo, Do you remember the thread that was up some time ago that showed how to cut hand holes, well it didn't actually show you how, the pictures weren't their?

Yes,  I believe his method involved rotating the angle of the tablesaw blade as you slowly raise it into the wood.  I believe that member has quietly disappeared and his links to the photos no longer work.

Quote
I noticed in the picture of your med. supers they have those type of cuts. Can you post or do you have instructions with pictures posted somewhere?


I use a molding cutter head and do it in one pass.  I have a jig that holds the boards.  Someday when I have time I'll try to put together a how-to.  But in the mean time, you can see the jig and set-up here -> http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/building-honey-supers/
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« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2009, 11:51:18 AM »

Robo ,I have watched a few of you vidieos and now you post all these inavaited idea's  of building things like double deeps,sugar boards ,sugar frames not to mention Ross Rounds  . If I had the energy to walk with you a day or two and pick your brian (and could absorb all that info) I beleive I would be a smart bee keeper.

Other crafters  here are sharp also.


Thanks for sharing.
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1reb
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« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2009, 01:56:02 PM »

Robo, I have enjoy watching your vidieos too, It take 3-4 hour to download them but it was well worth it ..

Johnny
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« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2009, 08:09:45 PM »

Rob's bee vac design is second to none! I have built two and it is the best for hiving swarms. Rarely do I not get the queen when I vacuum the swarm into a hive body.

Steve 
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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2009, 10:05:28 PM »

I started building one of robo's bee vacs today, pretty good design if I do say so myself. Will finish it tomorrow, need to get some screen wire, would rather have hardware cloth if I can find it. Built he whole thing out of scrap wood that I had on hand. The only thing I will need to buy is the hardware cloth and some 2" vac hose. I have a large cut out coming soon, real soon.

G3
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2009, 10:17:24 PM »

Thanks for the kind words guys.

I have just updated my site with the latest modification for the bee vac.   The cut-out shim allows for adding brood, that has been mounted into frames, to be added to the hive on-site when finished removing the colony.

http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/bee-vac/
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« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2009, 10:18:46 PM »

I saw some pretty good deals for hose on Ebay.  I use swimming pool vac hose on one of mine. It is 1.25 and smooth on the inside. Works great. A shop vac hose will allow you to put on a crevice tool for vacuuming in tight spits like between rows of comb or in bushes for swarm capture.

Steve  
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G3farms
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« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2009, 10:39:50 PM »

where would be a good place to find the 2" vac hose??

I am a tight wad, and would like to find someone that is throwing out and old sho vac and get their hose, but that will never happen.

Thats a good idea for the cut out shim, I don't think I would run the vac while brood was in there, might chill it.

Dang it, now I have to make something else.

G3
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
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« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2009, 10:45:19 PM »

where would be a good place to find the 2" vac hose??


Try Ebay or maybe some yard sales.


Steve
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« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2009, 12:24:59 AM »

do anyone know where I can get a jig to build the frames?


Johnny
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G3farms
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« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2009, 12:29:36 AM »

found some on home depot web site 2" diameter x 25' long for $54.99.

Think I will call tomorrow to see if they stock it.

G3
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
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« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2009, 12:30:17 AM »

what frames are you talking about??

G3
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those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
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« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2009, 12:49:21 AM »

beehive  frames  and side bars
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« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2009, 06:57:49 AM »

do anyone know where I can get a jig to build the frames?


Johnny


I have plans to build Ross's here -> http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/downloads/
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« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2009, 02:21:48 PM »

WOW. Thanks for the outstanding replies.  Looking at some of the hives and equipment that has been built, ....... in addition to honey the bees provide they should also be paying you rent. My first bachelor apartment didn't look this good. The ideas provided are very interesting. Some of the craftsmanship was superb. Thanks again for all of the information.

Regards,
Tucker

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« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2009, 02:57:38 PM »

Building your own hives is not hard and don't take a lot of expensive equipment, a table saw is nice to have . When I build mine I half lap the corners and glue and screw. I cut the rabbit joint in the end pieces and fit the sides in them and it coveres the end grain in the side pieces that absorbs water.
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« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2009, 08:08:13 PM »

Thank you  Robo

Johnny
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« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2009, 09:03:40 PM »

I can't buy raw wood as cheap as I can buy commercial mediums from Dadant (no shipping, no tax).  I do make tops, bottoms, and nucs, all of which I feel are over priced.  I assemble all of my own gear. 

Bottom Board construction
http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/bottomboard/bottomboard.htm

Frame construction jig (yes, that one)
http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/framejig/framejig.htm

Foundationless frames -- cutting the top bars
http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/frames/

a couple of nucs
http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/nuc/

a sled for cutting box joints (there are tons out there on the web)
http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/sled/

Open feeder (hint, place gravel, sawdust, sponge, etc in the bowl to prevent drowning.
http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/beefeeder.jpg

Queen cell incubator
http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/incubator/
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« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2009, 09:06:52 PM »

Do you have a jig to make the top board on the frame?

Johnny
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« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2009, 09:14:45 PM »

I just buy standard wedge top bars and rip them at 45 degrees.  Frame parts aren't worth my time to make.
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« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2009, 09:22:05 PM »

I work at a Sawmill / planner mill and I can get broken stacking stick  they  are  3/4 by 1 1/2 inch thick

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« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2009, 09:30:32 PM »

It would be simpler to start with wide plank the thickness you want the bars I think.  Cut the grooves for the ears of the end bars all the way across and then rip them to height.
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« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2009, 09:33:07 PM »

the main reason i wanted to make my own so I can talk my wife into buying me some more woodworking equipment
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« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2009, 09:54:23 PM »

There is a reason my website is www.myoldtools.com  evil
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« Reply #41 on: May 08, 2009, 10:26:42 PM »

cool website

Johnny
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« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2009, 08:00:37 AM »

 To justify having a complete wood shop and the fact that I enjoy woodworking, I make all mine including frames. I built jigs for all processes. For instance on box assy. I used the portion I cut off of a deep (making a med out of it) and added some uprights to it for a box jig. No more fussing with square and flat. Cutting the frame side bars down on a router table is the most monotonous part due to the repetition. Don't save a dime on making frames, cheaper to buy. But see first sentence.
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« Reply #43 on: May 21, 2009, 02:57:55 PM »

I love woodworking but I'm nowhere as good as most of you. I only make two different size shims, entrance reducers, and a couple bottom boards for some used 8 frame equipment we just bought. I figure if I buy my equipment during the free shipping special that Brushy Mt. has every year I don't mind spending a few extra bucks per piece to have someone else build it. I really like the looks of those slatted racks that Robo made though. I might just have to make a few.
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« Reply #44 on: May 21, 2009, 04:37:23 PM »

I am very impressed with much on this thread!! I have greatly enjoyed your frame vids robo!! Nicely done!!
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Robo
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« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2009, 05:20:27 PM »

I really like the looks of those slatted racks that Robo made though. I might just have to make a few.

As I've stated in other posts, they are not my design.  They are copies of the C.C. Miller design that I upsized for polystyrene hives.   Eugene Killion swore by them and there are good plans in "Honey in the Comb".   They are are simple to build, easy to pull out to clean,  provide plenty of space for the bees to control the ventilation to their needs, and also are great mouse guards.

rob...
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Jim 134
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« Reply #46 on: July 20, 2009, 07:54:53 PM »

I got 6 5/8 box and frames S/H all included @ $16.25 per box at Humble Abodes


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« Reply #47 on: July 22, 2009, 12:35:11 AM »

Hmm. Wow. Nobody wants to build their own frames. Can't blame any of you when you consider the price of new wooden pre-manufactured frames and the skill levels needed to re-create those specific designs.

I've been hemming and hawing over making frames with dowels, though. Be warned, I haven't tried this out but it passes my "absolutely useless idea" test. Okay, here's the idea:

Finished 2x material is 1 1/2" inches (38mm) thick, which is pretty wide for the brood nest but almost perfect for the honey storage area (I'll get back to this). So, we plane our 2x stock down to 1 5/16" (about 33mm) thick. Now, we're spot-on for brood combs. Cut to the length of your side bars. Use a belt sander, planer, router or whatever to reduce 2/3 of that length by about 3/16" on either side. Through the width of your stock, drill a 3/8" (about 9.5mm) hole centered very near the "bottom" of your new side bar stock. Again through the width, drill two more holes, centered but separated by 1/8" (about 3mm) and parallel to the "top" of your new side bar stock, also of 3/8". Drill a series of holes in various places for your foundation wire, of slight less than the OD of your eyelets, if you bother to wire your frames (I don't). Slice your side bar stock into 3/8" thick pieces by ripping lengthwise through the thickness. These are your side bars. You should be able to get close to 90 of them (medium) from an eight foot 2x4.

Get some 3/8" dowel. Each frame needs two pieces 19" (about 483mm) long and one piece 17 3/4" (about 450mm) long. These will become your top and bottom bars. Fit the two long dowel pieces through each hole in the top of your side bars such that 1" (about 25mm) sticks out at either end. Glue and nail in place. Fit the third piece through the holes in the bottom of your side bars, flush on the outside. Glue and nail.

Wha-la! You now have a frame. It even has a slot between the top rods to slide a bit of foundation into.

Now, these are not going to be the strongest of frames, mostly due to the length of the dowels, but the rectangular shape of the Langstroth box is an irritation of mine from long ago. Moving along... They should work just fine for your medium or shallow height boxes, even for honey. I don't think I'd trust them for deep honey supers. Those of you who run mediums for honey and deeps for brood, these should be plenty strong for deep brood frames. Since that starting 1/2" thickness of the 2x material is perfect for the width of honey frames, why bother planing them thinner?

You should be able to make these for close to half the cost of pre-manufactured frames.

Comments? Suggestions on improvements?
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The World Beehive Project - I endeavor to build at least one of every beehive in common use today and document the entire process.
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