Here's my recent experience with Western:
I always wanted to run 8-frame hives. They’re lighter weight for my lousy back and wrists, and they allow the bees to expand vertically a bit more.
I checked the local(ish) suppliers, and none of them mentioned having any 8 frame ware. Kelley’s had some advertised, but the shipping from Kentucky was way too expensive. Western Bee Supplies in Montana had great prices and good-looking products, but also didn’t mention 8-frame items anywhere on their website. So I gave up and just ordered 10-frame components from Western.
Then, a day after my order arrived, I noticed that Western had changed their website and all of a sudden on the home page they mentioned that they’ve been making 8-frame ware for 30 years! And they said — explicitly — that they offered tele-covers in the 8-frame size. So I called them up to ask if I could trade in my new 10-frame covers and screened bottoms for 8-frame ones. (I figured Bob and I could just cut down the hive boxes ourselves, because we didn’t want to pay the postage to send them back.)
No, Western said, our website is mistaken: we can’t make telescoping covers in the 8-frame size because we don’t have the tin. (They have since updated their website to reflect this unavailability.) Fine, I said: Send me the telescoping covers without tin and Bob and I will buy our own tin at Home Depot and attach it.
Vicki at Western Bee reluctantly agreed, although she did inform me that since all 8-frame ware has to be custom made, they could not guarantee any delivery date and it would be a while because there was a big order to fill ahead of mine. She also took the trouble rather grumpily to point out that THIS is why my insistence on 8-frame ware is so impractical, and why hardly anyone uses it.
“I think more people are using it these days,” I offered meekly.
“No, they’re not!” Vicki was emphatic. “I’ve been in the business for 19 years and I can tell you that 10-frame is the standard everywhere and it hasn’t changed.” I figured if I kept the argument going any longer I might not get my new tops and bottoms til 4th of July, so I backed down politely and expressed gratitude.
Then I waited. And waited. Bob cut the 10-frame boxes down to 8-frame, and put new dovetail corners in. The bees were ready to come home, so he also made temporary tops and bottoms for the hives and we set things up.
Now comes the package from Western. And, guess what… instead of each telescoping cover coming with two long pieces for the 19 7/8 inch side and two short pieces for the 13 3/4 inch side, each cover came with four short side pieces. (See photo). So we have to raid Bob’s shop again for wood, to make up the missing long pieces. Grrrr.