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Thread: Frame sizes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Question

    I'm wondering if people could inform me as to the different frame sizes listed by a supplier.
    The sizes are #73 FRAME 3/4 DEPTH, #69 FRAME GT+GB, and #72 SHALLOW FRAME.
    I would also like to go with the shallow frames, and I read somewhere that you can make shallow boxes by simply cutting down a full sized box.

    Any info most appreciated.

    Bryan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >I'm wondering if people could inform me as to the different frame sizes listed by a supplier.
    The sizes are #73 FRAME 3/4 DEPTH,

    The number is irelevant to me. 3/4 depth is also called medium depth and also called Illinois depth. The box is 6 5/8" and the frame is about 6 1/4". If you want to use just one size box, this is the one. The supers are managable when full of honey and it can work for a brood chamber.

    > #69 FRAME GT+GB,
    Again the numbers mean nothing to me. I'm not sure about the GT+GB. Since there are only three common depths and one other rarely used standard depth in the US I'd say it's probably a deep also known as a Lanstroth deep. A deep is 9 5/8" and the frames are about 9 1/4". This is what is most commonly used for the brood chambers. Some poeple use these for honey supers but the weight is not very managable when full of honey. I make some half width ones that hold four deep frames and use them as supers so I can get drawn comb for use in starting package bees etc. These I can still lift.

    >and #72 SHALLOW FRAME.
    I would also like to go with the shallow frames, and I read somewhere that you can make shallow boxes by simply cutting down a full sized box.

    Shallow supers are 5 3/4" and the frames are 5 3/8". You can make anything smaller from a larger box by cutting them down. But the only purpose in that is if you don't want the deeper box for some reason, but you already have one. You can buy them the depth you want otherwise. The shallow ones are usually used for cut comb honey, but you can extract them. I often use them for both extracted and comb honey. They would be lighter than the mediums, but you can also do cut comb or extract the mediums and they don't weigh that much more.

    The other depth is the Dadant Deep or Jumbo depth. They are 11 5/8" and I assume the frames are 11 1/4" but I don't have any frames to measure.

    I would reccomend one of these configurations depending on your personal preferences:

    If you want to keep all the boxes standard (a wonderful thing) use all medium (Illinois) depth boxes for everthing. Use it for brood. Use it for extracted honey. Use it for cut comb.

    If you really want to minimize the weight of the supers and don't mind a different size than the brood box, then use the Lanstroth deeps for the brood and the shallows for the supers.

    If you want a typical hive, that would be Lanstroth deeps for the brood chambers and mediums for the supers.

    I have been using deeps for my brood and shallows, mediums and deeps for my supers. I use the deeps as supers just to get drawn comb for brood chambers later and I use the shallows mostly for cut comb and I just started using mediums because I intend to standardize on that eventually.

    When Jumbo (Dadant deeps) are used it's usually only one brood box because it's too heavy to lift and the frames are deep enough to use only one. Often it's in a Dadant hive which is 19 7/8" square and holds 12 frames. Unfortunately this does not take standard supers, but the queen seems to lay better in one large box with larger combs to lay on.

    > Any info most appreciated.

    Now I've probably confused you.

    If it was me starting out. I'd just use the mediums and keep it simple at first.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited February 05, 2003).]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    NE Calif.
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    Post

    GT is grooved top bar(as opposed to one with the cut out wedge).
    GB would be a grooved bottom bar(as opposed to a solid bottom bar)Take your pick.My preference on frames is grooved top,solid bottom bar.My basic hive configuration is 1 deep brood chamber with a medium (food and brood)chamber on top.Works for me.
    ---Mike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    I wasn't thinking straight. Of course GT and GB.

    Box depths pros and cons:

    Here are some things to think about as far as depths.

    1. Standardization is very nice. It's nice to be able to pull some frames out of a honey bound brood chamber and put them in a super. It's nice to be able to take some drawn comb that's been extracted and add it to the honey bound brood chamber for the queen to lay in. It's nice to have all your equipment the same for lots of reasons. Only one kind of frame, one kind of box, one size of foundation.

    2. Certain sizes have advantages for different uses. This is why they exist.

    Brood: Langstroth Deeps (9 5/8") and Dadant Deeps (11 5/8") are nicer for brood. Medium can be used for brood. I suppose shallow could be used for brood but it really breaks up the laying pattern a lot.

    The best for this is probably the Dadant Deep (11 5/8"), the norm is the Langstroth deep (9 5/8") and the minimum that I know of anyone using is the mediums (6 5/8")

    Cut Comb: Since most people use thin surplus foundation for this, first of all the foundation has to be available. Second of all, since it's not so stiff and you can't wire it (because people don't want to bite into wires) it starts buckling more easily as the frame depth gets bigger. Pretty much this is just done in mediums and shallows. Shallows have a slight edge on not buckling by being shallower. All of them buckle if you put the foundation in too soon and the bees don't fill it.

    The best for this is the shallow (5 3/4"). The maximum size for this is the mediums (6 5/8")

    Extraction: I personally don't care much for anything but a radial extractor. They are so much more convenient. Radials generally come in 9 frame (only takes medium or shallow frames) 9/18 frame (takes 9 Langstroth deeps or 18 mediums or 9 Deeps and 9 mediums or 18 shallows). So if you are buying a small radial extractor it won't extract deeps. Even with a large one it will only extract half as many. With Shallows you can fit the same number of shallows frames as mediums but that is less honey. You can process more honey using mediums.

    The ideal for this is the mediums (6 5/8") The maximum size is the deeps only if you buy the bigger extractors.

    Lifting: One of the issues on frames size is lifting boxes when they are full of honey. Different people give different estimates on weights but a shallow full of honey weighs about 35 to 40lbs. A medium weighs about 40 to 50lbs and a deep weighs about 70 to 90 lbs. I think mediums are manageable. Deeps are too much to lift all the way up over your head to get on and off of a tall hive.

    The ideal for most people is the mediums. They are large enough to let you handle a lot of honey, while light enough that most people can handle them.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited February 06, 2003).]

  5. #5
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    Aug 2002
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    Also, it occurs to me you are looking at frames. Usually you can buy hives with frames just as cheap if not cheaper than buying them seperately.

    You can can sometimes buy hive bodies and super bodies cheaper than you can buy the lumber and make them. I'd be looking at prices on boxes with frames, not just frames.

    There is the other issue of top and bottom styles. The top bars come in grooved, wedged and (rarely) even split. Bottom bars come in solid, grooved and split. Some of the pros and cons of these have been discussed elsewhere on this board, but if you buy the wedged top bar ones you can usually treat them like grooved by not breaking the wedge loose. This would give you a chance to experiment with both kinds of top bars. As for bottoms, I think the consesus in the last discussion on this is that grooved is better than split, but it doesn't make that much difference until you are cleaning the frames to resuse them.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2003
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    Alberta, Canada
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    Smile

    Thanks to all for the excellent advice and information.

    Bryan

  7. #7
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    I have seen a shallow super of 1/3 length frames. The end up about square. You use it for comb honey and just pull the split pins, cut around the inside of the frame and drop it into the plastic comb honey box. The advantage is that you just cut the foundation, slip it into the slots and put in the pins. It doesn't sag because it's not that big.

    I've never seen these kinds of supers for sale though. Does anyone know where you might find them? Also they look like they could work for frames in a mating nuc and then you could put the little frames back in the big box and on a hive to let brood finish.

    The man who had it said he has also seen half length frames.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    I did find the comb honey supers with the third length frames at Draper's in Auburn Nebraska.

    Draper Super Bee
    914 S Street
    Auburn, NE 68305
    402-274-3725

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