View Full Version : Making Frames
02-04-2004, 12:20 PM
I want a simple frame design that can be cut on a table saw without much else. I have drills, recipercating saw, skil saw and a small band saw. The old gent I met that live 45 miles from here near the fleamarket my parents have a booth tried to explain how he made his but I could not understand it without seeing it or a drawing. He said that he used 2 pieces for the top bar and the bottom bar. He said they were self spacing. Any links to an easy made frame. I am going to make many of them foundationless frames for just starter strips. Have plenty of scrap lumber and time just not much money. I wish I could afford a dado blade for my table saw.
02-04-2004, 01:24 PM
I've made a few different designs. DE (David Eyre of Beeworks design) frames are 7/8" wide and are made from a lot of small pieces glued and nailed together. They are very light and very strong. Basically the entire frame, top, sides, and bottom are 7/8" wide. He uses a plastic piece that slides over the end for a spacer.
My Killian book shows their frames which do not have the hoffman spacer bar, but they put a lath nail into the top bars to make the spacers.
My latest attempt is from 3/4" (one by) boards. I made a top bar with a fourty five on each side to make an upside down peak for comb centering. I cut it square 1 1/8" wide, used the table saw to cut the ends so they are 3/4" x 3/8" for the first 3/4". I cut the ends 3/8" thick out of the one by. I cut the bottom 3/4" x 3/4". Then I cut the fourty fives on the tops and bottoms. The bottom board is simply nailed from the ends (no notches). The sides nail into the top bar where the notch for the end bars is. So there are not notches (other than the one to make the ends 3/8" thick). It turned out quite light. I was making a Dadant deep, but you could use the design for any size. I put a diamond shaped center bar to support the Dadant deep comb, but you shouldn't need one for anything smaller.
I will try to get a picture, but I'm not sure how well you can see it. The point was to have a strong enough design without a lot of notching for the bottom to fit into the sides or the sides to fit into the top. Also to not waste material and to keep it light and strong. It was easy enough to nail with a stapler, but would be harder to hold in place if nailing with a hammer and nails.
The spacing did with a 3/8" thick board to hold the stapler away from the bar and put a staple in opposite ends. This makes kind of a "Z" formation with a spacer sticking out in opposite directions on opposite ends. I figure the space on the ends is always different anyway. I also put the staple in far enough to clear a hoffman spacer so you can mix it with hoffman frames and not mess up the spacing much.
Putting the staples in with a spacer board makes it easy to put the spacer in the right depth. The reason I went on opposite ends with them is it's difficult to get the staples to hit each other and it's half as many spacers.
I put no groove in it as the angle peak will be the centering device.
Basically the concept is to build it with all butt joints and have all the nails in a position that gravity is pulling on them shear instead of trying to pull the nail. So the nails all go through the sides into the top and botom.
I hope this makes some sense. I know it's hard without a picture.
02-04-2004, 02:52 PM
Thanks MB it does make since. I brought a frame home a few minutes ago. When you go to place them into a hive do you wax the peak at the top and bottom. A pick would be nice. I have a staple gun but not the aircompressor big enough to keep up with a constant pressure(it has a cheap regulator). I have a 3/4 to 1 1/4 brad gun. I nailed batton strips( I was a mobile home serviceman these strips I speak of are not much thicker than thin paneling) with it with very few splits so I know I can control it well.
For a wedge type frame he said that he used a 1/2 inch board and cut 2 wedges instead of making the extra cuts. He then glued and nailed one on and let them dry before going on. With your description and what I remeber of his and this frame in my hands maybe I can get a plan drawn out.
I have a question for those that are doing small cell. If I get small cell started this year do I need narrower spacing like the TBHs. Can you fit 11 frames if they have been trimmed down to 1 1/4 in a standard ten frame box( I think I heard this here some where).
I am looking into a pollen trap but do not know if I can pull it off or not. I was hoping to collect some pollen this year but it may be next season before I can get to it.
MB, Your are trying the dandant deep long hive this year right? What advantage do you see in it over a deep long hive? I have been told that you can over winter in a deep and medium with no problem in my area and I am trying to justify the added depth for a long hive. I may be able to over winter in a dandant deep hive but since I am going to have to make everything and 12 inch lumber is much higher than 8 or 10 inch per foot so I think I would be just as good in a long deep. I know I could never move a dandant deep hive because of my back. I have a couple ideas that I may try in the future like a even longer hive with a two queen system.
02-04-2004, 11:04 PM
I like the idea of just using 2 wedges on the top bar to cut down on finiky cutting. I am sure you have seen this page on Dadant's frames on BeeSource.
I am in TN River Valley of northern AL and a lot of people here winter in a deep and medium. Some even get by with a strong deep alone. But the mountains of TN really separate our climates. I am sure you could go with all mediums to help your back. If you can lift a medium full of honey (I am not sure of the weight of that), then you would really only have to make one size of equipment to service most of your needs.
As for pollen traps, I saw a great (read that simple) set of plans for one. I thought it was here on BeeSource, but I am unable to find it now. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/frown.gif Were you planning on building yours?
02-05-2004, 06:56 AM
The DE frames are basically like that. They are a simple 3/8" x 7/8" piece for the top bar with two cleats. One you nail and glue into the top bar and the other you nail into the other cleat to hold the foudation. This is quite strong, although it takes a little more work to assemble the frames.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited February 05, 2004).]
02-05-2004, 02:58 PM
Yes I printed out bee sources pattern. That is alot of different cuts with the hard part for me being all the recesses were the bars interlink. If I could have purchased a dado blade it would not be that hard. Beesources plan calls for cutting out one of the cleats for the wedge and leaving the other half as a single piece of wood. I think I will use dry wall screws for spacing. These will have to be predrilled.
If I had a pollen trap to look at while I was building one I might be ok doing it. I have a hard time taking something from flat sheet of paper to a 3D object. I worked many years in a press shop and worked with the tool and die department in remodeling dies to work better. I had a hard time reading their charts for blocks. That is why I brought a frame home to have some thing to look at to find a way to minimize the number of cuts. One of which is the use of screws to make the spacing instead of all those cuts to make hoffman type end bars with all those cuts.
02-05-2004, 11:34 PM
I know what you mean about all of the fancy cutting and that a dado blade would be handy. I make those cuts just by running them across the table saw and moving the wood just enough to enlarge the cut with each pass. It works for me and makes a nearly perfect dado.
You can do that easily enough running the top bars across on their side using the miter gauge.
Dee Lusby had a good idea for making the end bars. If you want to know how to cut them on the table saw, let me know. It is pretty simple. (I am sure you are probably more skilled than I am anyway.)
02-06-2004, 11:25 AM
Yes please. Every tip is wanted. I thought about running the board thru it many times to get the job done but that will take alot of time. We filed our taxes so maybe if enough is left over after fixing the wifes car I can get me a dado blade. I need to make 30 medium supers with frames plus my TBHs and long hives.
02-07-2004, 04:24 PM
Please tell us all how to cut those end bars on a table saw.
I can get bunches of short 2x scrap suitable for cutting frames, but I don't know the first thing about woodworking. If I could cut a box joint I'd consider myself a genius.
02-07-2004, 11:48 PM
Well, this is what I learned for Dee L.
I would encourage you to only make a few until you are sure this will work for you since I am writing it off the top of my head, not while I am actually doing it.
Remember to follow your equipments' safety warnings and to keep safety first.
The length of the 2x will be the length of the end bar. The width of the 2x (4,6,8,etc...) will provide the thickness (when ripped to 3/8 inch peices). And the width of the 2x will provide the width when ripped to 1 3/8 (or 1 1/2 if that is what you want).
First, cut the 2X to the length of the endbars you need. (See the Dadant hive plans in the build it site of BeeSource.) Take a magic marker and run a line completely across one face (width). This will be important later.
Second, cut the "dado" for the top bar. This would of course be easiest with a dado blade set 7/8 inches wide. But it can be done with a lot more passes using a regular blade. Start by setting the blade height to 7/16 inch. Set the rip fence 1/4 inch from the blade. Run the peices through on their end with the marked face of the 2x against the fence. If you have to make multiple passes, move the fence a bit at a time to widen the cut. (You might leave a bit of wood each time and chissel these out later to reduce the number of passes.) Continue moving the fence until the cut is 7/8 wide.
Now cut the dado for the bottom bar in the other end. Set the rip fence at 5/16 (and the dado blade, if you have one, to 3/4). Run the peices through again on the other end with the marked face against the fence. Move the fence a bit at a time until the cut is 3/4 wide.
Cut the individual end bars apart. Set the blade high enough to pass through the thickness of a 2x. Set the rip fence at 3/8 and lay the 2x on a face, run it through to cut separate end bars.
Finally, let the rip fence at 1 1/3 inch wide (or 1 1/2 inch depending on how you want the bars). ****Important*** Place the Marked Edge of each end bar against the fence when running them through****
Now you have straight end bars. If you want them narrow at the bottom, Dee recommended using a jointer planner to take off the material from the edges of the bottom end. I don't have one, I hope to get a router table for this. I also thought about cutting them this way:
Attach a board to the rip fence (there should be screw holes on the fence for this) for an "artificial" fence. Lower the blade completely and set the fence so that the blade sticks out 1/16 to the left of the board. Turn on the saw and raise the blade to cut into the "artificial" fence.
Clamp a stop block on the far side of the fence. It should be 5 5/8 (for deep frames), 3 5/8 (for medium frames), or 3 1/4 inches (for shallow frames) from the Front of the blade (side closest to you).
Run each end bar through "bottom end" first, and repeating for each edge to narrow the bottom.
You are done, unless you want to bevel one edge to reduce the frames from being propolised together. But this too, can be done on the table saw with the bade tilted to an angle. Experiment to get that right. I would do the beveling before narrowing the bottom.
Well, there you have it. Easy? Yes. Fast? ARe you Kidding?? I used to work in a cabinet factory, and I can tell you that end bars can be quickly and cheaply made at a factory. But I enjoy the hands-on approach.
If you find any errors, please let me know.
02-08-2004, 05:08 PM
I can do that; It is very labor intensive, but if a fellow wanted just a few frames for a special purpose it could easily be done. This would be especially useful to someone who had access to construction scrap and suddenly had more time than money.
There is a lot of clear spruce scrap 2x out there now around construction sites. It cuts up easily, takes glue very well and takes nails like white pine.
If you are concerned about the bevel, you can do this easily with a small block plane, a hand tool, that costs very little. I'd look for small planes in junk shops if money was tight--I've had mine 40 years or more. About two passes on each side of the tapered edge would do it.
When I made my top bars I put splines down the center. After glueing them in and letting them sit overnight I clamped each in a vise and ran the plane down the edges, tapering them to the center. Very quick and easy. I then painted the splines with hot wax. This was all very simple to do and produced a good looking bar.
02-08-2004, 10:51 PM
Thanks for the tip on the block plane. I had been using a cordless dremel. I could get through only 10 endbars before I would have to change batteries. And it produced a Lot of dust as I was using a "drum sander". I don't have a round rasp for the dremel yet.
02-11-2004, 09:35 AM
I have a good belt sander and thought about using it to make the bevel. The frames I got last year did not have them and I have not had a problem as of yet getting them out. I was told you can make the narrow bottom before ripping the bars apart. My table saw says in the papers that come with it, it will cut a 4X4(actually 3 1/2). If this is true that means the blade would have to come up slightly more. You have to get the measurements figured out as I was told this and not shown. You set your blade to a 45 degree angle to give the slope between the thick and narrow part of the end bar. You then raise the blade up(at 90) to intersect the 45 cut. He said he did this as far as his saw would reach for deeps. The block will not lay flat for ripping them apart but he said that it was not a problem. He has a dado blade which cuts his time way down. The stock is free and plentiful for frames. I have enough for the long hives and TBHs I have plans for. I may have to buy some material for enough supers. I had some advantech sheet board from some jobs I did before I got hurt. I made some boxes out of it to cover feed jars and a migritory cover and bottom board. They were used about have a season last year. They were painted well and do not show any wear. This material is fairly new(a couple of years maybe more in other areas). It is a chip board made with a plastic polimere(sp). It takes the place of tongue and grooved plywood as a floor in my home construction. The only problem I see with this material is that it takes an air nailer to lay it. The plastic in it makes the nails bounce when trying to use a hammer and nails. I thought since supers are not out in the weather year round that this would work and it is only $21 a 4X8 sheet in 3/4. I had a small piece that got threw off the truck that has been in the weather for over 2 years now with no paint. It is in great shape. the cut egdes did swell a little but if it was painted and off the ground this might not have happened. Just a thought as I am going to use it for some supers this year and give it a try.
02-12-2004, 10:34 PM
I hope to start cutting frames Monday as the kids are out of school for presidents day(I never got it off when I was in school). Here are my ideas as I have them drawn out but will have to do some measuring when at the saw. The material at hand is spruce and white pine 2X 4s, 6s, 8s, and 10s. Lengths are from 8 inches to 10 feet on very few but which nearly all have a bad knot or bowed on board over 3 feet.
The top bars will be ripped to 1 1/16 inch by 7/8 inch. I will stand them up on their ends(I know it is hard to keep them square like this) and leave 1/2 inch for the lug This will leave 3/8 inch to nail into except what gets trimmed at 30 degree to make point as these will be foundationless frames. Since I will be using a brad nailer to assemble I should be able to get one in from the top. Length of the TB is 19 inches.
The bottom bars will be cut 3/4 by 3/4 then trimmed to 30 degree angle. The length will be 17 inches even since they will be butted at the end bars.
The end bar stock will be cut to what I think will be 5 13/16 inches for mediums. There will not be any recesses for the top bar or bottom bar and will be nailed straight into or stapled depending on where I put them together. I am going to try and lay the stock out and cut the bottom down to 1 1/16 then meet this cut with the 45 degree angle cut to get a self spacing frame which is 1 3/8 at the top. If this does not work smoothly the end bars will 1 1/16 inch square cut and 3/8 thick.
Other than having to mark centers before nailing I see no problems. For added strength I will be glueing the joints. If this works well I will put it together on a web page for all to see as I will have my digi camera with me. Wish me luck for making the page as it will be the first one I have done. I may have to bribe the wife to help.
02-13-2004, 10:57 AM
Good Luck, HB. I see no reason why it would not work. If a fellow had a router table he could very easily route the lower edges where you want bee spaces between the frames. It would be very simple also to taper the edges on the spacers but you can easily do that with a block plane.
02-13-2004, 07:27 PM
Congrates on getting started, you are way ahead of me.
When I make something for the first time, I try to write down what steps I take so that I can repeat the process later without having to "calculate" anything. Anyway, I am interested in how things turn out for you and to see the pics.
09-21-2004, 10:27 AM
There are some great ideas here, I'm starting to think about what I need to do.
Any pictures from anybody? I would be very interested in them.
I made the beesource frames from their plans, and that is a lot of cuts.
Poke around this site, there are lots of different types of frames. The measurements are for British hives, but you might get some ideas on other frames.
09-22-2004, 07:34 PM
Here is Michael Bush's website with good pictures of foundationless frames:http://incolor.inetnebr.com/bush/bush_bees.htm
I didnt know that this is something that people that do beefarming dont know, anyway I will make an AutoCAD file on constructing DB and LR hives and frames. I will post this work soon.