Hi Michael and Everyone,
I've got to make a few top bars like yours Michael and try them out.
One factor I hadn't considered in these observations was the change in my top bar width. Last year I used 1 1/4". The bees centered the broodnest comb on those top bars with very little problem.
This year I used 1 3/8". DUHHHH! Somehow I forgot about that change. That may be a bigger factor than the method used to guide the bees. Michael kept mentioning his top bar spacing and I spaced it out! DUHHHH! :> )
Thinking 1 1/4 in the broodnest might make most of the difference.
Thanks for the responses, guys.
My hives are filling rapidly. I am ordering a wax dripper from Kelley and as soon as it arrives I will start a third hive. I intend to use great care in filling the saw kerfs, and I will fill the kerf ends before waxing.
I am going to incorporate a bit of your thinking by cutting a "drop" on the bars so that they auto-center on the hive. This will have the effect of placing the combs in a fixed relationship to each other each time they are removed and replaced. I am numbering my bars so that each comb is replaced correctly when hives are manipulated.