Well, this thread is kind of old, but I've been working various methods of foundationless for 5 years now. I generally make my own frames with solid top bars, no wedges. I know everybody has their favorites, but I find:
- Wedges turned sideways are the worst. I have never gotten them to work, pulling the frames with finned and cross comb creates more work.
- Cardboard strips just get chewed up and thrown out.
- Wax strips work well, but most of the wax gets thrown out or, I guess, used someplace else.
- A strip of drawn comb about 2 inches (5 cm) wide and tied in the same orientation (top of cut strip facing up the same as it was cut off.) with strips of plastic bag works, but sometimes the enthusiastic bees chew the plastic away before they fasten the strip to the top bar. I haven't found an easy way to attach the comb to the top bar without melting the comb.
- Waxed strings have given me the best results. My experience is they take forever to install. The string has to be waxed, stuck down, and fastened by melting wax.
- I have not tried wedge shaped bars. My experience is they will place comb on the side of the frame's top bar no matter what's there. Yes, all the frames were in the box and pushed together.
- I haven't tried plastic sign strips because it makes it hard to work the comb. I don't have a way to remove it all with a big piece of plastic there.
When bees work their wax, they don't melt it in place, so the melted wax can become a rock as far as they're concerned. In the early years I put blocks of wax in vacant areas of the hive, thinking they would reuse the wax, and they did not. Instead they stuck the blocks of wax down and made beginning cells on it's surface. Foundation is run through a mill, so has a little kneading to help soften it up.
My latest experiment is to soften rendered brood comb by warming in front of a space heater. I take the pieces and work them into long strings 1/4 to 1/8 inches (6 to 3 mm). I can stick them in place easily, then running a soldering iron on either side, "glue" them there.
So far it's fast, doesn't require any special equipment, incorporates the wax strip and string methods, and adds the element of softening so the wax becomes more attractive. But I will probably report back that they just did what they want anyway...