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Author Topic: Newbie Top Bar Questions  (Read 9793 times)
dawgdrvr
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« on: December 09, 2013, 04:50:30 PM »

Hello ,
         
             I am pretty much a newbee to Beekeeping and to Top-Bars . After going to a class at the local library, the wife and I took the  plunge and bought all the necessary equipment and a lang full of bee's . I saw a Top-Bar demo at the Washington state fair back in September and have been hooked on the natural aspects of the KTBH . I have been reading on the net, checking out books and videos from the library and watching loads of YouTube vid's on KTBH's. I do have a couple of questions on design though.

* In Les Crowders book he builds his TBH's  wide and shallow. 20.1/4" wide at the top, 9.1/4" at the bottom and 10" deep. and with Top Bars being 1 3/8th wide.

* Philip Chandlers book and plans call for his TBH's to be narrower and a bit deeper @ 15" wide with  17" bars , 12 inches deep and 5" wide at the bottom and Top Bars being 1 1/2 wide.

  I live just south of Olympia Washington . Right now it is 22* F outside and last night it got down to 6* F. Our summers and growing seasons are short and the high temps rarely get into the 80's. so which design do you think would be best for my climate ? wide and shallow or tall and narrow?
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charlie b
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 05:35:09 PM »

I too am leaning towards TB and Long Box's. Here is another link you might explore if you haven't all ready....Full of great information., A lot to explore here....http://www.backyardhive.com/magazine/ . I am currently building a Langstroth Long box hive. Equivalent to a deep Lang. It holds 29 deep frames. I have designed it after Phil's KTBH. Only it's a Lang. ...I am from the Lake Superior Region of Wisconsin. Very cold and long winters here too. As of 4:30 pm, we have -3 F. Forecast tonight, -9. Tomorrow night, -10 with a high of -4 on Wednesday. Like I said, sort of cold here to. The reason I am building a long is it functions as a TB but I can still sell 5 frame Nucs out of it. I am going without foundation, allowing the bees to build there own comb, for many reasons. All this said, I believe any hive will work in our area's, just a matter of choice and how we manage them.
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Joe D
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 09:31:33 PM »

I started with a TBH I built, then had a cutout, so I made the TBs into frames.  Easier to attach comb to.  Also had read somewhere not to make TBs over 11" deep.  If I were to build one now I would go with Langstroth frames
in it.  Or a long box like Charlie is talking about.  I have been thinking about building one this winter, and you can put your supers on it.  Good luck




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chux
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 09:36:49 AM »

Definitely design it to fit lang deep frames. This give you more options in the future. My first hive is a TBH based on Chandler's design. Narrower but deeper. It works fine, but I am stuck with these bees in this box, unless I build another box the same size. It would have been so much better to have a TBH that fits foundationless lang deep frames. So many more options.
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charlie b
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 06:46:51 PM »

I have just about finished my Langstroth Long Box and will post pictures sometime this week. Maybe a video on my You Tube to explain it better., At the moment, I am going to build these from now on and have them in my yard. I do have one TB and about 15 or so Standard Langstroths but will be building the Long Box from now on....
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charlie b
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2014, 11:45:37 AM »

Here's some pics of my Horizontal Hive. https://www.facebook.com/charlie.beyersdorf/media_set?set=a.10152167173497454.1073741840.793507453&type=1
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chux
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2014, 02:51:46 PM »

charlie b, that hive looks really good. Did you use 1x12? How deep is the body?
 
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charlie b
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2014, 06:33:47 PM »

I did use 1x12x8. I need to shorten it some but the depth is the full width of the board. I have a 3/4 in sheet of plywood on the bottom with a 3/8wide x 3/4deep rabbit for the frame ledge..Gives me about 3/8 bee space under the frames....I will be modifying the hive and my scratchy plans. I can upload it for you if you want, maybe this weekend. Off the top of my head I can't be sure of any measurements because I built it on the fly, using Langstroth dimensions for the main box.
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chux
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2014, 09:17:15 AM »

Sounds good. I'd like the plans, if you can scratch them together. I wonder how much you will be able to see through the window, with those frame sides in the way. Maybe not quite as much as a frame-less topbar, but still more than not having one at all. One issue I didn't have enough imagination to solve, was what to do between the top of the frames and the outer cover of the hive. Then I see that you cut strips to lay on top of each frame. Good idea. Got me to thinking. I may cut some plywood panels to frame-width, maybe 10 inches long. Put shims on the outside edge, above the rabbit, enough to give me bee space above the frames. Then I can slide that plywood panel back to uncover one or two frames at the time. Use a spare piece to follow me along and cover the frames I just looked at as I move. Just a thought.

I'm looking forward to seeing the details, and to hearing how it works this year.   
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ugcheleuce
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014, 11:44:44 AM »

Definitely design it to fit lang deep frames.

A top-bar hive with 30/60 angled walls made for Langstroth frames would be very, very broad.  Here's how big the hive would have to be to take Langstroth frames:

Langstroth honey frame: 620 mm (24.4") at the top, 470 mm (18.5") at the bottom, and 150 mm (6") high.
Langstroth brood frame: 700 mm (27.5") at the top, 470 mm (18.5") at the bottom, and 245 mm (9.6") high.
Langstroth jumbo frame: 780 mm (30.7") at the top, 470 mm (18.5") at the bottom, and 300 mm (11.8") high.

Under those circumstances, if you want a horizontal hive, it may be better to adopt Charlie's design, with vertical walls.
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chux
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2014, 01:29:14 PM »

I would definitely use horizontal walls if using foundationless frames. The main draw for me in using §¤«£¿æ's design for the tbh, with angles sides, was the claim that bees tend to connect the comb to the angled sides less. In my tbh, which has angles sides, I have had very little trouble with comb attached to the sidewalls.

With frames, this is a non-issue. Charlie's hive design gives you the best of both worlds. The bees are building horizontally. You don't have to lift heavy boxes. You can expose one piece of comb at a time. These are tbh benefits. But using the frames, he also has the lang-type benefits of interchagability of equipment with other beek and his own lang hives. The comb is a bit sturdier and easier to extract, if he chooses to do so.

The original poster is getting into beekeeping here in the U.S. Charlie's design would allow that newbee to have the best of both worlds. Foundationless frames in a long-box. If he begins with a couple of hives, there is a good chance one or the other will struggle. If his "more natural" hive is struggling, another more experienced beek could give him a couple of frames of brood to slip right into his hive. If he's the only beek around with his size box, that gets much more difficult. (Speaking from experience)   
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charlie b
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2014, 06:48:03 PM »

I'll try to get the plans on by the end of the weekend. Remember Chux, it will be scratchy. Rough sketches. You sound like you can make it work for you. And I will be excited to share how it goes, once the bees are introduced into it.
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Judd
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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2014, 03:39:34 PM »

Charlie
I'm very new to the TBH. Are you planning on using foundation with the frames?
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charlie b
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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2014, 03:57:50 PM »

I am using foundationless deep frames in my hives...I just posted a video introducing my Langstroth Long Box...... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQa0RXYsyfs
Here is another link for you as I am a first year bee keeper and you can watch me learn right here.....https://www.facebook.com/groups/614096545339364/ ..May you learn and have fun at the same time the art of bee keeping....I am having a lot of enjoyment from it and currently running 5 hives....Two Russians Hygienics and 3 Carniolans...I located in zone 3 of Wisconsin....
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Judd
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2014, 07:31:20 AM »

Thanks Charlie, enjoyed your video. Looks like you've put a lot of thought into this. How long is your season? Looked at your FB page as well, did you plants all the flowers or is that natural?
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Joe Moore
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« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2014, 04:52:54 PM »

My top bar hives (all 6 of them) are 15" at the top 5" at the bottom and 10" deep. My bars are 1 1/2" solid wedge type made from 2x4 (very easy to make with a table saw).  I have had extremely good luck with this combination. Make sure they are as level and plumb as possible and put wax on the tips of the wedge TB for a guide. They will build brace comb against the side to start with, but as soon as the comb matures and stiffens they will stop. Just take a bread knife to the hive each time and slide it down (always keeping the force downward and not side to side) the sides as you go through the hive. They will always brace honey comb at the top and on glass viewing windows in my experience. Build a follower board and put a suitable (1 inch or so) hole in the bottom to allow passage back and forth to a feeder. Which ever route you choose just keep at it. Good luck. 
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