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Author Topic: homespun 8 frame dimensions...13"?  (Read 2239 times)
windfall
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« on: February 10, 2011, 05:50:54 PM »

I think I am going to build a hive or two worth of 8 frame deeps. I have spent some time reading all the arguments (and they are good ones for 8frame mediums) but most folks I know are running deeps, the long hive I built is for deeps, the guy I like buying nucs from runs deeps, and I think I want all the equipment to run the same frames.....I just won't ever plan on lifting a full box of honey. Nor do I ever expect to get much past a half dozen hives total if that.

That said, there was an interesting thread a few years back on the dimensions of 8 frame boxes:
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,19458.0.html

Where both Michael Busch and Brian D Bray talk about 13" 8's (which I guess were common long ago) and how nice a size they are excepting that they are non-standard now. There are also other threads where folks bemoan the fact that standard 8's at 13 3/4-14" are a bit too roomy....

So if a fellow always anticipates making his own gear, and really doesn't plan to have more than a handful of hives anyway, and doesn't care about "future resale value"....what size would be preferred and why?
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fish_stix
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 09:10:15 PM »

13 3/4" is the right width. Most of the store bought boxes, Dadants and others are 13 3/4". A quarter inch either way won't hurt anything as they'll still sit on a standard 13 3/4.
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WPG
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 10:51:03 PM »

All that fish stix said and 13" is a little too small for 8 frames once the bees add a little propolis and wax.

If you ever want to use extras like queen excluders or hive top feeders the new standard range would work better.

I vote for 13 3/4" as the best compatible size.

goodluck and have fun.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 11:27:26 PM »

Mine are all 13 3/4".  Some are 14".  None are 13".  I just see no reason to fight the standards and make them 13".  The nice thing about 14" is you can fit 9 frames in it with only a 1/4" more than the 13 3/4"...

But then I usually just plane some frames down and use 9 or use a frame of PermaComb (which has no spacer built in).
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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windfall
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2011, 08:20:31 AM »

Thanks for the input.
I have to admit, I don't quite get the desire to put in the ninth frame....folks talk about that in the earlier thread too.
The idea is to reduce weight and "fit the cluster better"....if  your downsizing to 8 why try to stuff in 9?
I do hear what people are saying about not bucking the standard, and that would hold a lot more importance for me if I were thinking of expansion...but I am not. Generaly speaking, if I can make something myself I do...especially if its made from wood, so I don't entirely see how a "standard" serves me unless it is the optimum size.

the size of the 8 is funny. If I take a ten at 16 1/4, and subtract 2 3/4 (2, 1 3/8 frames) you get 13 1/2....I have seen mention that 8's are often split with a 1/4 partition.

It caught my attention that at 13 -13 1/4 the inside dimension approaches that of a warre 11.8 (yes i know the volume is still quite different)

I am not arguing for the smaller size...just trying to understand how the sizing is set and what the positive and negatives are in terms of the "extra" space in the box.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 08:59:34 AM by windfall » Logged
windfall
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 09:01:55 AM »

I should throw out there that I plan to be running some or all of the brood boxes with 1 1/4" frames.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2011, 09:22:39 AM »

I'm not thinking of selling so much as buying.  Boxes are too much work and I buy a lot of them.  If I made them I'd stick with the standard so I could buy them if I want, and buy other things, like top feeders or bottom boards or queen excluders if I want.
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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2011, 02:31:57 PM »

If you go to Western Bee Supply of Paulson, Mont., you can order 8 frame boxes in 4 sizes from 13 5/8 to 14 1/4.  Since I make most of my own equipment I make mine at 13 3/4.  That gives a little extra room for pulling the frames w/o rolling the bees.  With 1 1/4 frames you can fit 9 frames into the 14 1/4 and maybe even into the 14 0 size.
Standard dimensions were 13 3/4, but back in the 50's and 60's 8 frames became somewhat regionalized as 10 frames became the dominate standard and 12 frame and 8 frame lost favor, so the dimensions varied depending upon which regional manufacturer 8 frames were purchased from.  12 frames are still out in the cold due to excessive weight when full.
Users of 8 frames became to be viewed as "lesser" beekeepers being ignorant hold overs or crackpots.  It has only been in since the mid 90's that 8 frames have begun to re-establish themselves as a desirable option.  Up until 5 years ago some of the major suppliers of bee equipment still didn't offer 8 frame equipment, but now I think all the major manufactureres do.

I have kept bees in 5 (nuc), 8, 10, & 12 frames hives.  I have also used Dadant Deeps (aka double deeps), Deeps, & Medium boxes.
My final selection of which equipment I used was predicated upon how well bees preformed year around in which size hive. 
12 frames were out, not only due to excessive weight but because the bees had to be forced (frame manipulation) to draw out the outer 2 frames in the 12 frame boxes.  Over winter losses were very high due to, IMO, excessive space.
10 frames worked well but could still be a weight factor when using deeps.  The bees drew out all the frames, although the outer 2 frames lagged somewhat, and were often abandoned when supered.  Winter losses were about 1/2 that of 12 frames.
Bees in 8 Frame hives seemed to build up faster, required more frequent supering, had larger brood chambers (8 frames verses 6-7 frames in a 10 frame), overwinter with little loss, and were the easiest to manipulate as the center of gravity was closer to the body (being narrower) and slightly less weight.  It is not uncommon to find 3-4 boxes, 8 frames each, of brood in my hives mid-flowduring the 2 heaviest flows in my area; raspberries, strawberries, blueberries in the spring and blackberries mid summer.  I found that in production I could harvest 2-3 extra supers off of an 8 frame hive than a 10 frame hive, given good forage grounds.  That is a harvest increase even with the difference in frame count per box.

I went to mediums after receiving serious back injuries while I was a Police Officer which forced my retirement from that carreer because weight became and issue and the narrower box with it's center of gravity closer to the body an added plus.

Here's one for the Commercial Beekeepers to ponder.  Given the dimensions of 8 frame hives, the pallets required are smaller than with 10 frame hives.  Using the dimensions of a  fairly standard 18 wheeler flatbed, it is possible to put one etra pallet on the truck for the length of the bed.  If you're placing 3 pallets wide, then the extra amount of hives per load depends on whether you're using single or double boxed hives.  An extra 9-12 hives peroad is possible, add a trailer with the same dimensions and you've increased your single trip haul by 18-24 hives lowering the transportation cost per hive.  The profit margin increases because the ratio of pollen fees to transportation costs also increases--less cost per hive, more pollenation fees per trip and you still get the 8 frames of bees per box rate.
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windfall
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« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2011, 03:37:08 PM »

It sounds like running with 13 3/4 is the way to go.

Brian, thanks for your comments. I had been planning on running at 13 3/4 until I had come across the thread above from a few years ago where you wrote that if starting over and making your own (that's where I am at) you would build to 13"....then Michael followed up with "13" would be great but not standard"...

After the ridiculous number of hours I have spent reading through old threads this winter I have come to value both of your opinions...you both clearly speak from extensive personal experience and seem to stay out of the personal argument crap. So when I saw this endorsement of a smaller/non-standard size I wanted to re-open the subject before I cut the sticks.

Out of curiosity what has changed your preferences back to 13 3/4" is it purely the commercial availability (which I can see would be extremely important if one were running a bunch of hives) or is there a functional advantage?

Michael, I get what your saying about buying in components. But let me ask if you were able to set a new standard today what would you deem "ideal" from a function standpoint? Should I take from your earlier comment that you "see no reason to fight the standard" that you feel the difference insignificant?
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Acebird
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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2011, 06:35:29 PM »

Quote
I have to admit, I don't quite get the desire to put in the ninth frame

I am not sure I understand 9 frames either.  It would seem to me that they wouldn't draw the comb out far enough to make it easy to cut the capings off.  I thought spacing the frames out would make the comb longer so the knife hits all the cells.
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windfall
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« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2011, 07:45:32 PM »

I think folks are talking about nine in the brood box(s)..but I am interested to see what folks have to say....seems like if you want nine you build a nine frame box.
I can see where it would be an outgrowth of the practice of keeping your brood frame at aproximately 1 1/4" and honey combs at 1 3/8-1 1/2".   So that a single size box lets you run two different sized combs....does the standard 8 frame box allow this more readily than a 10?
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fish_stix
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« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2011, 09:20:49 PM »

If you're using standard 1 3/8" frames with standard 8 frame boxes @ 13 3/4" you will find that after a season of use there is very little extra space left. This due to the propolis and wax that accumulates on the end bars. If you go with a smaller box you will eventually have problems removing that first frame. If you don't have that little bit of extra space you are guaranteed to roll and kill a queen some time and you will always be rolling and killing bees which brings out the best in defensive posture of the hive. Result; you will have much more fun working your stinging insects if you don't kill a bunch every time you pull the first frame.  grin
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2011, 11:45:34 PM »

http://bushfarms.com/beesframewidth.htm
http://bushfarms.com/beesnotinvented.htm#narrowframes
http://bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#framespacing
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Michael Bush
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fish_stix
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« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2011, 06:47:42 PM »

Some folks use 1 1/4" spacing, most of us do not. I buy frames and use them at the "bought" width. If you have time to cut down frames then do it. Most folks don't have that kind of time on their hands, especially those trying to make a living at this business. If I'm looking at bundles of frame parts for 5000 frames the last thing on my mind is cutting on them to get an additional frame in a hive. My bees don't seem to have a problem with 8 frames in a 8 frame box.  grin
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2011, 10:06:54 PM »

I have a lot with eight PF120s and one Permacomb in the center.  I don't have to build the frames, I get nice tight brood combs in the center of the brood nest and I get 9 frames and the frames don't slide around when I'm hauling them to an outyard or an orchard.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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