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Thread: DIY Frames

  1. #1
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    Default DIY Frames

    Well I just made up the parts for 300+ frames. I know the general wisdom is that it is not worth it to make them but it seems to have gone quite well. I made deeps and basically just copied on of the frames that I had previously purchased, The only real difference is that I have a slightly narrower Top Bar in my design. They took a bit longer than i thought but this being my first time I know I could shave some time next time. My biggest complaint is that wood from Home Depot generally is junk so next time i'll make sure to get better stock. That caused more waste and some frustration.

    The wood cost me $80 which I turned into approximately 650 ends, 300 top bars, and 550 bottom bars. So at 300 frames that works out to 27 cents each. I spent about 8 hours in my shop making the parts. Since i have the time and a well supplied woodshop I feel that it has been a profitable endeavor.

    My question is this. Since my top bars are narrower than standard will this cause me problems that I'm not thinking about. ( the ends are standard 1 3/8 so spacing is the same) It seems that the only real difference would be in uncapping the frame that the knife would cut a bit more wax off the cells by 1/8th. I guess that also the frame could be slightly weaker but i'm not sure that is really an issue.

    Here are some pictures. You can see one purchased frame in one pic. and the rest all mine.

    Thanks for the input.








  2. #2
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Wow, not bad for an eight hour day. If you have the time and like doing that, knock yourself out!!!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  3. #3
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    Ballina, NSW - Australia
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Well done - slap a few more piccys up mate - they look great!!

  4. #4
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    graves county-kentucky-usa
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    I'm new to this, but the frames I have the foundation slides down the top bar and into the bottom. How do you keep the foundation in these frames? Looks great and I would love to make mine but seems like to much trouble for the groves.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Thanks for the encouragement guys I appreciate it.

    Just to clarify so I don't confuse anyone, I made the parts for 300+ in 8 hours but I have only assembled about 50 since then. However I figure that assembly time doesn't really count in my calculations since I could have to assemble the frames I would purchase as well.

    I will say that I am only able to make them that quickly because I have some pretty significant wood shop equipment that allows me to work as fast as possible. Tablesaw, Jointer, Thickness Planer, big Bandsaw, and Drill press. Also for the supply houses to charge 70-80cents a frame is a decent price considering everything involved. I found that sourcing the wood at a cost that will provide me enough savings on my frames can be a challenge. I ended up having to make them out of 2x6's and 2x12's which ended up causing a bit more work. If the wood had been nice and clean without some knots my wast would have been almost negligible except for the loads and loads of sawdust.

    I wish I had taken pictures of the different steps but I'll have to wait till next time I guess.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Are you saying that you have a split top bar? I made a grooved top and bottom bar and then wired the frames and melt the wax onto the wire.

    Quote Originally Posted by markspillman View Post
    I'm new to this, but the frames I have the foundation slides down the top bar and into the bottom. How do you keep the foundation in these frames? Looks great and I would love to make mine but seems like to much trouble for the groves.

  7. #7
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    graves county-kentucky-usa
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    yes, i assume you put the was in while you are putting the frames together.

  8. #8
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    Danbury, CT
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    My question is this. Since my top bars are narrower than standard will this cause me problems that I'm not thinking about. ( the ends are standard 1 3/8 so spacing is the same) It seems that the only real difference would be in uncapping the frame that the knife would cut a bit more wax off the cells by 1/8th. I guess that also the frame could be slightly weaker but i'm not sure that is really an issue.
    The wider top bar prevents the bees from drawing the comb off of the bottom bar and across the top of the frame below. Yours don't look too narrow to me, but you may experience them connecting frames together. Nice work by the way.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Thanks Bluegrass. That is the type of information I was looking for. My top bars are 1/4 narrower so just 1/8th on each side. I will keep an eye on how they do with drawing bad comb. The wider top bars would require 4 more cuts with the dado which accounts to quite a bit of time. so that is why i went with a narrower design.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    The wider top bar prevents the bees from drawing the comb off of the bottom bar and across the top of the frame below. Yours don't look too narrow to me, but you may experience them connecting frames together. Nice work by the way.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Summit25 View Post
    So at 300 frames that works out to 27 cents each. I spent about 8 hours in my shop making the parts.
    I'll take a thousand at that price, when can you ship?
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  11. #11
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    When you put them in use; push them all tight together and use a dummy board on the end of the frame rest if you have a gap. It will maintain the bee space between the frames so they don't have room to draw anything but burr comb.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  12. #12
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    Jackson, MO
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    I can't imagine you'd have any trouble at all. They look fine and I admire your fortitude to even attempt such a feat.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  13. #13
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Thanks for the encouragement and feedback everybody. I will be keeping an eye on them but right now i am very happy. The bees are pulling out the foundation REALLY quick right now so I am pretty excited. Also I found a local place that I can get my lumber a lot cheaper yet so next time they should cost me even less per frame. Wahoo.

  14. #14
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Seeing the wide bottom bar makes me wonder if you won't have more problems w/ them getting glued to the top bars of the box below them. Plus, a narrow bottom bar allows the hot knife access to the comb better for uncapping. So, I would rather that you had made your top bars and bottom bars the standard width, because there are reasons they are that width. Tho, it may not matter all that much.

    Looks like good work.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  15. #15
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    I'm also a woodworker. It saves alot of time not having to set up for making the dado cuts on the top bars. I also save time by not grooving the the bottom as I don't use foundation. I just put a small strip of wax in the top groove and the bees are very happy. They'll draw comb faster also.. I've actually been making them this way myself. I haven't had any problems with them at all. I use the crush and strain method so the knife is not an issue. Getting wood cheap is a problem for most people. When I'm lucky enough to be working around new construction (very rare these days) I raid the dumpsters for lumber. Keep it up! You'll find you'll have good luck with them.
    "How do you expect to get by in life if you're not precision!"

  16. #16
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Hi K.E.N

    Do you have a picture of your frames that you could post? thanks.
    Devon

    Quote Originally Posted by K.E.N. View Post
    I'm also a woodworker. It saves alot of time not having to set up for making the dado cuts on the top bars. I also save time by not grooving the the bottom as I don't use foundation. I just put a small strip of wax in the top groove and the bees are very happy. They'll draw comb faster also.. I've actually been making them this way myself. I haven't had any problems with them at all. I use the crush and strain method so the knife is not an issue. Getting wood cheap is a problem for most people. When I'm lucky enough to be working around new construction (very rare these days) I raid the dumpsters for lumber. Keep it up! You'll find you'll have good luck with them.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    If you put two of your frames next to each other, is there a "bee space"(about 5/16 inch) between the top bars?

    Crazy Roland

  18. #18
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    He stated that his end bars are standard size, but he shaved his top bars down by a 1/4, by my calculations he has about 1/2" space between bars which is why he needs them as close together as possible. The bees will probably extend the comb out to a proper bee space as long as he keeps his frames tight together.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    If you put two of your frames next to each other, is there a "bee space"(about 5/16 inch) between the top bars?

    Crazy Roland
    If I push them tight together the bee space is 1/2 inch between the top bars. The end bars are the standard width so bee space between the foundation/comb is unchanged.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: DIY Frames

    Yer gonna get some propolis between the top bars, I bet. And bees won't easily move above the top bars into a new super. I predict. Let us know if that is or is not so.

    3/8 inch is bee space. Anything wider gets comb built in it. Anything less gets propolis put in it. This is a Bee Law. Laws aren't always followed and I can't tell which bees are Police Bees. Maybe they are the ones w/ the flashing lights that precede the Undertakers.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

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