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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Rhea County, Tennessee


    OK, I'm convinced to put one of these things together.
    Researching this (I am a two-day expert now...), it appears the only agreement is on the top bar width itself, everything else is adapted to local conditions and materials, right?
    Mine will be 19" at the top, to be able to prepare comb from a standard Langs-type to get started or give a boost.
    I plan to use 1.5"(actual) stock for the bottom, with the potential honey weight transferred through the sides to the bottom, this might be useful, and give additional options for support, legs, etc.
    Regarding the slope angle; Scott, your pics (with your 30 degree slant, I believe) offer the nicest comb I've seen. Other folks recommend 22.5 degrees (half of 45, I suppose). The latter is attractive due to the wider base which would seem to be helpful in windy locations. (Scott, your hive legs solve THAT problem well...). I pretty much buy Scott's argument about 30 degrees keeps consistent with the cell structure.
    Two final questions before I start sawing...
    1. Any strong opinions on angle? I suspect we people are more concerned with finding "the secret" when bees themselves are pretty much adaptable to many different conditions...
    2. Any strong opinion on minimum length? (25 to 30 bars seem to be the norm...)
    To get TOO sophisticated pretty much contradicts the idea of a TBH anyway, doesn't it?
    Thanks in advance for any comments, suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Alpine, TX


    Hey Roy,
    All I can tell you from my limited experience is that will build the comb starting at the bottom of whatever you use as the guide so make it close to the top bar itself and make sure it is strongly attached to the bar. I tried some half pieces of small cell plastic foundation and they started way at the bottom of it- when I discovered the oops I removed the bars that I had made that way - one of them I forgot or overlooked and when they started building back up it went wonky. The only other thing I can note is that wide/deep comb is heavy so I suggest you read the thread regarding comb collapse to decide how you want to balance that ratio.
    I think if you build the hive longer than 30 bars then you can use a follower board and extend their space if you want to later or maybe split the box into 2 colonies w/ a board between them w/ the original entrance and a bar left out on top for an entrance on the other end (just a notion) or to add a weak colony w/ paper between perhaps. I'm a beginner w/ an imagination
    I have discovered that the follower board gives me some lee way w/ removing the first bar to get started into the hive and I think, in the long run, that will be helpful.
    We put the entrances on the sides because of our high winds and then put slots in the front for feeders. We have one feeder covered w/ an oatmeal cylinder box upside over it to shade it from the afternoon sun and the others we have rigged w/ a flap of wood or insulation. It's get hot hot hot here.
    Hope this helps.
    I smile like this because I have no idea what I\'m doing :-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA


    Thanks for the kind words. My opinion about angle although concrete is this, no matter what angle you choose, the bees will attach any new combs they build. The difference is I think that once the comb has hardened some, the angle becomes important to deter future attachment of the same comb. If the comb bears too much weight at the top, the bees will NEED to attach it at the sides and or bottom to keep it from collapsing. My hives are between 30-35 bars in length depending on which bars I am using and how many of each. My brood nest topbars are 1.25 inches and my honey bars are 1.5 inches. I use a router to cut a chamfer out of the center of the topbar now instead of ripping the angles and cutting toes into the ends. Its a lot easier and it adds just a touch more volume to the hive without having to change dimensions. My hives don't require legs to remain supported, the back end and the front end are rectangular cut and so they can provide lateral support in case of high winds and such. The legs were mostly to bring the hives to waist height for ease of working.

    I still think a 15 degree angle cut out of the topbars for center guide is best from an attachment point of view, but in practice I believe it is too flat to provide much "guidance". Further a 45 degree angle chamfer bit for the router is a lot cheaper than a necessarily custom made, or machine shop purveyor supplied tool. I don't think its ideal, but it prevents a lot of work when it combs to training the bees to build straight comb.

    As you say the bees are adaptable, the question is will the adaption make life easier or harder for you.
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>

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


    &gt;1. Any strong opinions on angle?

    I don't think it matters. I have them with vertical walls and sloped walls, but the deeper you make the comb the more you need the slope.

    &gt;2. Any strong opinion on minimum length? (25 to 30 bars seem to be the norm...)

    It probably depends partly on the length of the bars. It's the total volume that is the issue and the ideal for that probably chages with latitude and altitude. I wouldn't go less than 45 liters or more than 112 liters. (or 2750 to 6900 cubic inches) and mine are all right around 112 liters.

    &gt;To get TOO sophisticated pretty much contradicts the idea of a TBH anyway, doesn't it?

    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF


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