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View Full Version : Which hive tool?



mrspock
03-01-2010, 01:41 PM
There appear to be several designs at my local supplier. I don't mind paying a bit more for a tool, if I understand why it's better.

Which tool do you feel is the best of these ones?

http://www.beemaidbeestore.com/browse.php?txtCatID=39

waynesgarden
03-01-2010, 01:51 PM
I always have two of them handy. I use the 10" hive tool (or maybe it's the 8",) for breaking hive bodies apart and heavy prying. I use the 11" Maxant type tool mainly for prying frames from the boxes. (The hook is helpful for grabbin g frame ends.)

I know other beekeepers that use both also. In fact, one of them drilled holes through the middle and put a small bolt through so they can rotate, giving hime both types in one, sort of the Swiss Army Knife of hive tools.

Wayne

Double D
03-01-2010, 01:54 PM
I have the Maxant. Its sturdy and the hook on the end really makes getting the first frame out easy after the bees stick everything together.

alpha6
03-01-2010, 02:04 PM
Maxant. But pick up a couple of the others and just leave them in your truck or smoker box. Also Glorybee has the standard hive tool for $1.95. I always order a bunch before the season from them...you can't beat the price and if you misplace/someone walks off with/the bees hide it from you/etc you don't mind cause it cost less then a big gulp.

http://www.glorybeefoods.com/gbf/Shop_ProductDetail.cfm?PC=3&PSC=22&P=13984&Product_Name=tool,%20hive%20%28std%29&Token=67.41.129.42:{ts_2010-03-01_12:01:58}-923847

NewbeeNnc
03-01-2010, 02:15 PM
I love the one with the hook/lever for prying up frames. Beats having to use those stupid hand grip things.

Ski
03-01-2010, 02:18 PM
I started with the standard hive tool and after a year I tried the Maxant and have not gone back. You can use the sharp knife end to get between the frames where the propolis is and cut the propolis and pry them apart. I use the hook end every now and then.

magista
03-01-2010, 03:04 PM
I use a Maxant. Love it.

mrspock
03-01-2010, 03:19 PM
I always have two of them handy. I use the 10" hive tool (or maybe it's the 8",) for breaking hive bodies apart and heavy prying. I use the 11" Maxant type tool mainly for prying frames from the boxes. (The hook is helpful for grabbin g frame ends.)

I know other beekeepers that use both also. In fact, one of them drilled holes through the middle and put a small bolt through so they can rotate, giving hime both types in one, sort of the Swiss Army Knife of hive tools.

Wayne

I'm curious: Can't the maxant break apart supers and do the heavy prying? Why are the other tools required in addition to the maxant?

honeyman46408
03-01-2010, 03:27 PM
Maxant :thumbsup:

honeydreams
03-01-2010, 03:45 PM
I use both tools the Maxant for getting the frames lifted and the 8" for real good scraping.

Swobee
03-01-2010, 03:48 PM
Maxant hook-style is my choice. I was given a new model from Kelley's with a hook end as a gift last year. It's nice, but I still prefer the Maxant tool.

no1cowboy
03-01-2010, 09:22 PM
I use the Maxant 11-Inch, I get it from that place too :D

AmericasBeekeeper
03-01-2010, 10:52 PM
Don't forget the long Italian hive tool. I guess they are overcompensating for other small tools in their belts.
Except for scraping burr comb and propolis out of the rabbet and tops of frames, the standard hive tool has little advantage over the Maxant/Australian.

Michael Bush
03-01-2010, 11:01 PM
I've had them all. My first choice is the Italian Hive tool from Brushy Mt. My next favorite is the one with a hook from Walter T. Kelley. Next would be the Maxant with the hook, but the hook is too fat...

Ardilla
03-02-2010, 11:00 AM
I like this Italian one:

http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Italian-Hive-Tool/productinfo/591/

But also have a more stadard pry bar style tool. Two tools are the way to go. You will probably end up using one most of the time, but having a back-up is helpful.

NasalSponge
03-02-2010, 03:07 PM
I have yet to try a Maxant but with the amount of propolis my girls have been using I may give it a try. mrspock to answer your question...if you look at a standard hive tool you notice that the bent end gives you a nice flat spot to smack with the palm of your hand while prying boxes apart, the Maxant does not.

Soapstone
06-16-2010, 12:25 AM
I've had them all. My first choice is the Italian Hive tool from Brushy Mt. My next favorite is the one with a hook from Walter T. Kelley. Next would be the Maxant with the hook, but the hook is too fat...

I recently bought an Italian Hive tool from Dadant's after reading this thread, but I do not understand how it makes lifting frames easier. It has a hook end that is much larger than on the Maxant tool and cannot be inserted between frames like that tool. What am I missing here?

USCBeeMan
06-16-2010, 01:04 AM
I have a few of the standard hive tools around but rarely use them. I use the "J" tool also called the Maxant tool. I can pry any hive box open with the J. The only this that's better about the standard hive tool is the ability to scrape and clean. They are much better than the J type for that kind of work.

Basically, the standard hive tool sucks when removing frames. I have ticked off too many ladies with it. Rarely do I drop a frame when removing it using the "J" type tool.

Barry
06-16-2010, 06:22 AM
Even my Maxant hive tool I found to be a bit too wide to easily fit between the end bars so I ground mine down a bit. Works like a charm.

Beeslave
06-16-2010, 06:59 AM
Basically, the standard hive tool sucks when removing frames. I have ticked off too many ladies with it. .

The standard hive tool works great if you know how to properly use it. Hands and fingers are for pulling frames out, the hive tool is to just get them started coming out.

devdog108
06-16-2010, 07:11 AM
I have a standard and an italian. I prefer my italian when working the glue together everything because we are Russian hives. Admittedly my besepacing is a bit off on the deep but even still...man the propolize everyhting. Anyway, the italian works good for getting down and under the frame so I can lift it up slowly. The ends are very thin, so It makes it very easy to get down where it's tight. I am not a fan of it for scraping frames though. Its personal, but i like a wide tool for that case.

Tom Fran
06-16-2010, 09:27 AM
For those not familiar with hive tool terminology, here's a few pictures to help.

Standard hive tool
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4052/4706404178_6c2410d90c.jpg

Italian hive tool
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4069/4705762361_f546778748.jpg

Maxant hive tool
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4034/4705762403_cfbe0a806f.jpg

honeybeekeeper
06-16-2010, 09:53 AM
I prefer the Italian Hive Tool!! :)

dpbntn
06-16-2010, 10:14 AM
The one I can find!!

I own at least one of each, and two of most - I have young helpers - but my favorite would have to be the Maxant, kinda like thier extractors & tanks......

David B.
Tucson Honey Co.

giant pumpkin peep
06-16-2010, 01:03 PM
I have the standard and I love it. :thumbsup:

PerryBee
06-16-2010, 01:29 PM
Standard for prying frames apart and scraping and couldn't imagine trying to lift frames up and out without the Maxant. The Maxant has that little ledge near the hook end that allows you to lever one frame up from the next frame, very well designed. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

NasalSponge
06-16-2010, 01:43 PM
My new favorite is the Kelly hive tool which is a standard hive tool with the Maxant hook on it.

rkr
06-16-2010, 03:20 PM
I have only used a 8" standard tool and the Maxant. I far prefer the Maxant tool. I have noticed that it is tight in getting between the frames.
I may grind it down like Barry suggested .

I have been placing it in between the frames long ways
http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww1/camp_branch_bee_ranch/IMG00080-20100616-1512.jpg

and turning/twist it to move the frame away from the other and creating enough room
http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww1/camp_branch_bee_ranch/IMG00081-20100616-1512.jpg

and then hooking it between the two frames and lift.
http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww1/camp_branch_bee_ranch/IMG00082-20100616-1513.jpg


RKR

peacekeeperapiaries
06-16-2010, 03:24 PM
The standard hive tool works great if you know how to properly use it. Hands and fingers are for pulling frames out, the hive tool is to just get them started coming out.

i agree, the standard is for me. Gets the frames started and let the fingers and hands take over...faster and easier as we are checking multiple hives when we hit the yards. I spray paint mine DAY-GLO orange so I can find them when I drop them and keep the edges ground sharp. I have lots of them... 1 in the honey house, 2 in the storage shed/shop, and 3 in the truck. Never without one close.

waynesgarden
06-16-2010, 03:44 PM
I discovered another thing my Maxant hive tool does better than the standard, and that is slicing my hands open when I reach for it. Not sure why mine is razor sharp. I'm not performing surgery here.

Wayne

NeonBee
06-16-2010, 03:51 PM
If you going to do a lot of work I prefer the Standard hive tool. It fits well in the hand, does not fatigue the palm, and is very easy to use to lift frames (once you get the hang of it). Plus it is perfect for scraping off burr comb.

The Maxant, or now the copy "J Tool" is fine for less than a day's work. I am not that great of a fan of it since it is not designed for scraping (your palm may ache). Plus, considering how easy these things go missing, I would rather have a box of standard tools. Compare the price 6 standard tools from Glory Bee to one tool from Maxant. BTW, if you prefer the Maxant, buy their product - it is stamped. If you are going to pay for a J tool, buy the quality one from Maxant don't buy the Chinese knock-offs.

challenger
07-31-2012, 06:12 PM
If you going to do a lot of work I prefer the Standard hive tool. It fits well in the hand, does not fatigue the palm, and is very easy to use to lift frames (once you get the hang of it). Plus it is perfect for scraping off burr comb.

The Maxant, or now the copy "J Tool" is fine for less than a day's work. I am not that great of a fan of it since it is not designed for scraping (your palm may ache). Plus, considering how easy these things go missing, I would rather have a box of standard tools. Compare the price 6 standard tools from Glory Bee to one tool from Maxant. BTW, if you prefer the Maxant, buy their product - it is stamped. If you are going to pay for a J tool, buy the quality one from Maxant don't buy the Chinese knock-offs.

Amen to your last sentence. I buy nothing chinese if I can, in any way, help it. As beekeepers we should all try to buy as little chinese produced garbage as possible. That country is horrible and as far as what they do in our interest is deplorable. They will send their poison honey through 4 countries trying to get to the USA.
I use the Maxant and am glad to pay for it. For good measure I asked them when I placed the last order if they were indeed made in the USA and they confirmed that they were.
One modification I make is to grind an edge on the short side of the scraper end. This is the area perpendicular to the length where one ground edge ends at the corner of a non-ground section. This allows me to clean the frame bars where they come together with another frame by placing the tool down next to the frame I want to scrape off and pulling up to remove the propolis. This way I can grab the propolis as it comes up and I can see better and control the pressure better so I am not removing wood from the end bars.
I recently bought 3 of these and have had all three fro nearly 2 months now which is a record for me. Any tips on keeping these things from becoming "yard art". I set them down and completely forget where I put it. I tried the painting thing with no help. I am thinking of gettoing a retractable lanyard type dealeo like a night watchman (are there still such things as night watchmen?) but it would have to allow for more than 36" or so which is the length I've seen???
Recently I have made a habit of making sure it goes in the oversized ammo box I keep my smoker in but if I show up to the truck with no tool I have to pray I find it which asn't always the case.
As far as using the tool only for prying frames and using fingers for lifting IMO that is nuts. My gripping ability causes me huge pain in my elbows from years of working with my hands. With the hook end I can release the glue with a slight lift on each end then go back, lift one end high enough for full fingertip grabification, take the tool to the other end end lift it while at the same time holding my thumb on the end lug of the frame and the tool has the other side of this lug so I am using the tool to lift at least one end and I am not smashing bees by lifting the frame at such an angle that the end bars come too close to the inside of the box.
YMMV.
Thanks
Howard

hilreal
08-01-2012, 08:52 AM
I love the Italian one too. I keep 2 around at all times.

Keth Comollo
08-01-2012, 09:08 AM
I love my Kelly Hive tool. The short hook has a notch in it that gets frames apart very gently.

2845

catfishbill
08-08-2012, 03:37 AM
I'm with Keth Comollo I like my XL long kelleys hive tool.works good for prying boxes and frames that have been propolized together.

Gord
08-08-2012, 05:27 PM
The $5.95 and $14.95.

Katharina
08-08-2012, 05:40 PM
Go for the Maxant tool. I have the standard too, but haven't used it in a very long time. The standard puts more stain on your wrist and carpel tunnel. The hook on the Maxant does not do that. Get a frame gripper while at it. Those two together are great. BTW always get a second hive tool, just in case you loose or misplace yours.

bluegrass
08-08-2012, 05:52 PM
Okay time for an edjumacation on using the standard hive tool. (Known as the American hive tool in Europe) These can be had for as cheap and a few dollars each so for the price of 1 Italian style tool you can own half a dozen of them.

They have a hook on one end that can be hooked under the top bar to pull out loose frames. They are compact and stay in my pocket unlike the longer Italian tool which falls out, because it is top heavy, and is lost in the grass. You can even put two or three of the standard tools in your pocket so when one is miss-placed you have another one.

Now for a real stuck frame:
1. you have one standard tool which you use to pry the frame loose.
2. you reach into your pocket and pull out a second one.
3. you hook 1 on one side of the top bar and the other on the other side.
4. with 1 hand you clamp both together and lift the frame out with ease.
5. Return spare to pocket and proceed.

Save the money on the frame grip... I have a few of those and never have them in reach when needed. A couple of standard hive tools is all that is ever needed.

Now for some trivia: Who knows what the key hole in the middle of a standard hive tool is for?

bluegrass
08-08-2012, 06:15 PM
Pictures for illustration.
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a343/smithie128/003800x450.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a343/smithie128/006800x450.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a343/smithie128/009800x450.jpg

snl
08-08-2012, 06:35 PM
Any tips on keeping these things from becoming "yard art". I set them down and completely forget where I put it.

I have a belt clip that I slip on my front jean pocket. The clip has a magnet with a 45lb pull. I just slap the the hive tool to it (automatically reaction now) and it stays until I need it next. Great Gizmo (at least for me).

Dunkel
08-08-2012, 09:29 PM
I must like to use flatheaded screw drivers and wood chisels. I keep losing hive tools. Maybe if I bought one of those high dollar ones I would keep up with it. I am pretty sure I wouldn't keep up with a magnet either. After this summer I am coming to the conclusion that I must go around about half dehydrated and the other half delusional:s

dnichols
08-08-2012, 09:58 PM
Maxant is the way to go but I agree with some other posts to grab a few of the others and keep them around. I split a hive the other day with (bluegrass) and he was doing most of the work because for the life of me I could not find my tool. :s It's always in my hive bucket. I know I put it in my bucket. We had some stubborn frames propped down and I wanted to use the 'hooky" end to help him out. Well he went to his tote and pulled out a standard hive tool and handed it to me and I proceeded to separate frames as he inspected and filed them into nucs. After we were all done I was getting ready to hop in the truck and remembered that I forgot to give his hive tool back. I reached into my suit and handed it to him.

Now I can see how some other folks might lose their tool... Other sticky fingered beekeepers. Dang propolis!:no:

When I got home later I was putting my hive bucket away and guess what was in there. My Maxant hive tool. Huh! I swear it wasn't there when I looked earlier. Today I ordered a couple extra standard hive tools.

fishin coyote
08-09-2012, 08:40 AM
Bluegrass quote
"Now for some trivia: Who knows what the key hole in the middle of a standard hive tool is for?"

The keyhole is a nail puller.
We use ship scrapers/flat bars /hive tools for changing out mobile home windows and removing trim work in the weatherization business. Once you learn how to correctly manipulate them they can and will do almost anything any other hive tool or frame grabber will. Added bonus is if you lose them your only out 5-10 bucks.
Mike

throrope
08-09-2012, 12:08 PM
Bluegrass, Thanks, never thought of using two at once even though I have four standard ones.

OK, two standard 9", one 7" and a Titan pry bar my lawn guy picked up for five bucks next to the register at the home store.

The 7" is too short and doesn't give enough leverage. Maybe good for small hands.

As a small scale keeper harvesting for me and friends in a suburban setting, my costs per pound for what I eat exceed the "au natural" retail price and anything that can't do its entire job becomes an additional expense. That said I haven't tried another style. I have more than two because Miller was selling "buy two get one free" when I added a spare to an order.

Tap these and I suspect you'll agree the dishwasher safe Titan 11509 Multi-Purpose Pry Bar is one to have.
http://www.amazon.com/Titan-11509-Multi-Purpose-Pry-Bar/dp/B003NU9K32/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1344530468&sr=1-1&keywords=titan+11509
http://www.toolking.com/search/?q=titan+pry+bar

mmmooretx
08-09-2012, 02:19 PM
I have a standard and ended up buying a Maxant type, which I tend to use. My only dislike on the Maxant type is how sharp it is. When cleaning burr or propolis I tend to peal up some wood like using a plane. I really like the hook. But both work.

Katharina
08-09-2012, 02:21 PM
I have a standard and ended up buying a Maxant type, which I tend to use. My only dislike on the Maxant type is how sharp it is. When cleaning burr or propolis I tend to peal up some wood like using a plane. I really like the hook. But both work.

Shaved some wood off with mine too. LOL Just slide it over some sand paper and take the edge off and problem solved.

bluegrass
08-09-2012, 05:07 PM
Bluegrass quote
"Now for some trivia: Who knows what the key hole in the middle of a standard hive tool is for?"

The keyhole is a nail puller.

Prime example of American Ingenuity. The standard hive tool was adapted from an existing tool. The Nail puller has no function to beekeeping. At least none that I have found yet.

AmericasBeekeeper
08-09-2012, 07:42 PM
Beekeepers used to nail covers on for transport, and most beekeepers used to move hives so it was fully functional. I still find old beekeepers nailing covers when I inspect their hives.