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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Somers, CT, USA
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    Default Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    I'll be starting my first topbar hive this year. I was considering making some frames for it as they can serve several useful purposes, such as introducing cut-out comb, repairing fallen comb or just getting the bees started right before introducing regular top bars. I played around with it a bit and came up with a jig to fabricate uniform size frames. Once the jig was finalized I was able to turn these frames out very quickly. I did a "destruct" test on a frame and they are really strong (used 1" narrow crown staples with TiteBond III)

    You can see some photos here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/18241724@N08/

    These frames incorporate a triangular comb guide. In effect, I can't see how they would be any different from a standard lang foundationless frame except for the shape. I'd appreciate any thoughts on this design.

    Thanks,
    Cy Brewster

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    2,496

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Nice Job. They look pretty good to me. Would make working a top bar hive more user friendly as you would have more support for the comb and not have to worry as much about it snapping off due to weight. Your idea of into would work will also.

    Great looking shop too by the way.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
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    206

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Nice, I don't know why I didn't think of a jig for making frames, I made a few that I can wire onto my standard top bars for cut-outs then remove when the comb is attached enough, but I didn't make a jig lol.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,142

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Nothing wrong with frames, but then it's not really a top bar hive. It's a long hive with wide top bars...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Somers, CT, USA
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    52

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Quite so, Michael, a topbar hive with frames is no longer a topbar hive. My purpose is not to replace topbars, but to use frames for remedial purposes such as tying up fallen comb or cut-out comb. I'm also thinking that starting a topbar hive with a few frames might be a good way to get the bees off on the right foot making straight comb.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,142

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    I highly recommend having a few "remedial" frames for any top bar hive...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
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    206

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    And cut-outs, I cant imagine trying to tie comb to the top bar from a cut-out

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,142

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    >And cut-outs, I cant imagine trying to tie comb to the top bar from a cut-out

    I don't have to imagine...

    Actually "swarm ketching frames" (from the plans section on Beesource) would be the best thing to have. You don't even have to tie the combs in.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Had comb fall over the weekend and no supplies hand- a few of these would have come in handy. great execution. viva remediality!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Mims Florida
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    That frame looks good. I have a tbh I just built. In the picture the bees are in the spool. I was going to try and get the bees to move in there but I just built 2 deep boxs and 2 6 3/4 inch boxs. Wish me luck.
    A vet is someone at some time in there life signed a blank check to the people of America that included there life.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
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    1,037

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Uh, I was just considering just the same idea, I'm not a TB guy and don't want to be, but I may have a market for TB nuc's at a good markup. I figure that is the only way people could get them home.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    2,864

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    I have two top bar hives that I started out as true "top bar only" hives, but had lots of problems with comb failure, mainly the combs that were full of honey top to bottom, that's no fun when that happens. So, I made up a jig to make frames for the top bars, now the bees can attach the comb to all four sides which solved the comb failure problem. Also, I can extract them instead of crush and strain, you just have to go real easy on the extractor crank. Another positive thing about the frames is that the bees don't make brace comb between the frames and the sides of the hive anymore like they used to do with only the top bars. I think the frames also encourage the bees to build straighter combs instead of wavy, curved combs, and cross combs. It was alot of extra work building the 30 frames for each hive, but it makes life easier when inspecting them now.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,111

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by bernanos View Post
    I'll be starting my first topbar hive this year. I was considering making some frames for it as they can serve several useful purposes, such as introducing cut-out comb, repairing fallen comb or just getting the bees started right before introducing regular top bars.
    Thanks,
    Cy Brewster
    What would be the point? Doesn't that pretty much defeat the purpose of a TBH? And what would you call it? "The Kenya Framed Top Bar Hive"? "The Kenya Top Bar Hive w/ Frames?" It just seems kind of silly to me. You want a TBH, for some reason, for whatever reason. But you don'twant a TBH unless it has frames, just like a common hive. I don't get it.

    Thanks, I just had to get some ventelation through my TBH.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    2,864

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    >What would be the point? Doesn't that pretty much defeat the purpose of a TBH?

    Yes, I'm sorry that I broke the rules for a top bar hive. Maybe I just didn't want one anymore, it was too stressful for me every time I opened it up. When the anxiety attacks started, I had to do what I had to do, and make "FRAMES".

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,996

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Wow, checked out your pictures, nice work! No doubt a good top bar hive looks attractive.

    Moving to frames, is this evolution repeating itself?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Yes, I'm sorry that I broke the rules for a top bar hive.
    Well, there are hives "made" for the beekeepers convenience and there are hives "made" for the bees way of doing things.

    If one wants to get as close to being a 'purist' in terms of the methodology of the intention of the type of hive they are using, then yes, using frames in a tbh 'breaks the rules'. The challenge of the tbh without frames is supposed to give the 'advantage' to the bees and little consideration to the beekeepers convenience.

    As an experimentalist myself, I am far from being the one to say one can't try to intermingle methods of convenience with the intended hive methods. However, I do appreciate the intentions of the top bar hive and I, despite being an incurable experimentalist, do my best to run the majority of my hives according to original plan of the hive being used, using a very few for my experimenting.

    I see nothing wrong with someone trying out a certain type of hive and the intended methodology of that hive and not finding it to their personal favor. There are other types of hives and methodologies that are able to be used and the bees are usually pretty forgiving in those areas.

    If you try one and decide it's not for you, I say bravo to you for trying something different and moving on to something you feel you will be most successful with.

    Everyone has their own area of comfort-ability in these things.

    The variety in types of hives and methodologies is one of the great things about beekeeping. It allows for a greater number of people to be successful at it in a way that keeps them involved and enthusiastic.

    Variety is after all, the spice of life.

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    New York City
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    43

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Great philosophy Big Bear, need more beeks like you!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Beckville Texas,USA
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Nice work on that hive! That's what I love about the TBH design, it's adaptability. I'm going to build a couple this winter. I'm a furniture maker so I have the tools and know how and a friend with a sawmill so all the free wood I want. I'm thinking cedar.
    I like the idea of inspecting each bar individually with minimal disturbance and lack of heavy lifting.(I've got the worst back west of the Mississippi.)
    Not being a purist in most things seems to me you could let the girls build the hive totally naturally til it reaches about the same volume as a deep or deep and medium, set in frames for honey harvest. I was thinking about kerfing the top bars and affixing some wax coated plastic foundation cut to size for ease of harvest. Just scrape off the comb and put it back in the hive.
    A queen excluder cut to size and modified might even work.
    Oh the possibilities!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    641

    Default Re: Using Frames in a Topbar Hive

    Great looking hive and great looking frames! While I personally have no issues easily manipulating the top bars in my own hives, I can certainly see the value for an individual who has the time and resources to create frames -- especially if they use large, deep top bars that are hard to manipulate. The only time I run into issues with fragile comb is if I attempt to move brand new comb on the hottest of summer days.

    What are the dimensions of your bars/hive(s), by the way?

    Cheers,
    Matt

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