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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Murray KY, USA
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    263

    Default My TBH and Some Questions.

    I thought I would post up some pictures of my TBH. Granted, the body is plywood but ATM that was my option. It's 4' long by 18" deep. Internal size is 17" by 15" comb on the bars which tapers down to 8" or so at the bottom, which is a solid board with no screen.





    Now, for the bars, I'm using 1 1/4" wide by 19" long with a 5/8" deep rabbet on each side which gives a 3/8" high ear to hang by. The bottom of the bars has a centered 15 degree bevel. I'll be using 1/4" spacers for honey bars.

    I chose that for the bars because it will fit into a standard lang hive. Are my measurements correct for the bars? I've got some cut and milled, but others are waiting to mill. Figure it'd be best to find out if I'm screwing it up now and keep from wasting bars to bad measuring.

    Another concern may be the depth.. At 15" deep, it seems a bit much to my eye.. Or am I just worrying myself? The hive will not be in direct sunlight from noon on and I'm using a piece of 1" foam above the bars and under the corrugated plastic roof, so I don't expect any large fluctuation in temps that the bees themselves can't handle regulating.

    I've also got a 55 gallon drum I'm considering making hives out of. Has anyone had success with this? I'd seen it done, but never any long term data.

    Last thing racking my brain is the entrance. I'm planning for sure on putting it at the end and not the side, but I'm stuck wondering if I should indeed put it at the top, or keep it at the bottom... Choices choices.

    Oh yeah.. With the legs, it comes up to my waist in height. Thinking of dropping it 6 more inches or so.. Maybe.

    So... Critique away!
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    I also used plywood, and yours looks very similar to my finished hive, which I started last year. I just finished my second one, and am waiting to split my first hive in a few weeks. the only differences between yours and mine are the overall dimensions, both width and depth, mine being less of both. Not important other than the weight of each comb will be extremely heavy for you once laden with honey, and could lead to collapsed combs during the summer heat. Otherwise, enjoy!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Murray KY, USA
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    The size is one of the deciding factors on laying down 1" foam under the roof section. The winters are mild, but we can get some days where it's over 100 degrees.. About a half a month worth or so? So I figure a solar radiation block would be well served.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,684

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    > I chose that for the bars because it will fit into a standard lang hive. Are my measurements correct for the bars?

    Yes, your top bars will fit into a standard Lang body. You can find full dimensions of Lang frames here:
    http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yo...t-type-frames/
    Of course, if your bees do build comb 15" deep, you will have to stack up multiple Lang hive bodies to accommodate that 15".

    Whether or not that depth of unsupported comb will stand up to the stresses involved in manipulating combs in a TBH is open to question. You will need to be vigilant to make sure the bees do not make comb bridges between adjacent bars. If they connect two combs together you will probably have a collapse trying to remove the bars.
    -- Victor Hugo -- "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Murray KY, USA
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    I guess I'll just wait and see. I've still got this barrel sitting around (several in fact, get chicken feed in bulk in them) and can always whip up a quick hive out of it with the same top bar width handling, then trim and sacrifice the comb as needed to fit in the event I have to do an "aww crap" move over.

    I'd been planning on making a custom hive tool as well out of a piece of rod bent over and hammered flat at the end with a double cut edge, much like Warre tools, so that it's easier to get in and manipulate any problems with attachments.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Jefferson Co., WV, USA
    Posts
    156

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    You dont want to put tbh bars in a lang after they have been drawn out in the tbh, they will fill in the corners and when you go to take it out lots of cutting it free from both the tops, side and bottoms. I think its brilliant to grow the tbh in a lang until it gets big enough it can start touching all the sides, that woudl be a good time to add it and keep those combs from touching the sides and being a paiiiin in ass. WVMJ
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkWolf View Post
    I thought I would post up some pictures of my TBH. Granted, the body is plywood but ATM that was my option. It's 4' long by 18" deep. Internal size is 17" by 15" comb on the bars which tapers down to 8" or so at the bottom, which is a solid board with no screen.
    My current TBH hives are 4' long by 19.125" wide by 10" deep, inside dimensions (1/8" tolerance for getting the 19" bars in & out). My prev. hives were 11.5" deep, internally, and I had a bit more collapsed comb than I liked last year (and those super-deep combs are a PAIN to handle without damaging them), so I switched to the Lang deep box depth.


    Now, for the bars, I'm using 1 1/4" wide by 19" long with a 5/8" deep rabbet on each side which gives a 3/8" high ear to hang by. The bottom of the bars has a centered 15 degree bevel. I'll be using 1/4" spacers for honey bars.

    I chose that for the bars because it will fit into a standard lang hive. Are my measurements correct for the bars? I've got some cut and milled, but others are waiting to mill. Figure it'd be best to find out if I'm screwing it up now and keep from wasting bars to bad measuring.
    I believe you're 1/8" short on your "ears" ... going off of the dimensions given in an earlier post in this thread, I think the ends of the bars should be 1/2" tall (that, or I messed up on about 250 bars already )


    Last thing racking my brain is the entrance. I'm planning for sure on putting it at the end and not the side, but I'm stuck wondering if I should indeed put it at the top, or keep it at the bottom... Choices choices.
    With my warm (96F is pretty much a record for us here), humid (I live 1mi from the coast) summers, I put all my entrances at the top of a box-end, with the theory being that the bees can then fan out the hottest air in the box more easily.


    Oh yeah.. With the legs, it comes up to my waist in height. Thinking of dropping it 6 more inches or so.. Maybe.
    In my experience, when working the hive, you'll be doing a LOT of work down inside the hive (cleaning up burr & brace comb, separating bridged combs, lifting bars), and a slight bit on combs that you've turned upside-down on the top of another bar. That said, think about how far you want to be bent over the whole time you're working the hive; I put my hives with the lids hitting somewhere close to the bottom of my sternum (breastbone), and find that to give me less in the way of a super-sore back after going through & re-queening 5-10 hives!



    Good luck, and enjoy your bees!
    Last edited by robherc; 04-17-2013 at 01:35 AM. Reason: legibility

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,438

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    I think you may want to make a frame or something put some screen on it to reduce the depth of the hive. Otherwise I think you will have a lot of collapsed comb in the bottom of that hive. But it would be nice to see a bar of capped over honey that size!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gallatin, Montana, USA
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    I made a couple of TBH that were a little to deep so I just beveled a couple of pieces of plywood and dropped them into the hives and created false bottoms. I live in the mountains of Montana and still had some comb collapse in the original depth. To cold to use screened bottoms. I use multiple side upper entrances.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Murray KY, USA
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    See... Now y'all have me worried..

    A false screen bottom may indeed be in order..

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    1,438

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    I was thinking you could just drop a screen in the existing hive over top of the bottom board. It would serve the same purpose, and it would be lighter.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Murray KY, USA
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    Well, I've got all the bars cut and milled at a 20 degree angle on the bottom. The rabbets may be a bit tight though as I've got 1/8th inch of side to side play maybe? I actually put a 15 degree bevel at the start of the rabbets to allow it to fit down into the hive body with the tapered walls.. I think I still want some more clearance though to allow for expansion and ill fitted construction of further hives.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    1,310

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    When building boxes, I consider my total tolerance on any given measurement (except box length, as you can always add/remove bars for that) to be +/- 1/16th of an inch. With that in mid, I think your "about 1/8 inch" side-to-side play allowed by your rabbets should be fine; there really shouldn't be any more wood swelling/shrinking, or missed-measurements, that change your dimensions past where that 1/8" should cover it

    As far as the false bottom goes, I don't know about your SHB population around there, but for *here*, I'd have to opt for the beveled plywood approach...put a couple nails in it, and seal any cracks with glue, to be sure. If I put a false bottom made of screen in any of my boxes, the SHB would likely kill off my hive within 3 months (SHB can fit thru the screen, while bees can't...resulting in a TON of "hiding space" for the beetles to escape harassment from the protective bees)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Murray KY, USA
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    I guess you're right. I shouldn't be sloppy enough to need to allow for more than 1/8th inch play in the top bars in any of my future construction.. Didn't pick up this nice hybrid granite topped table saw for nothing.... Though... I made 95% of the cuts for the body with a Kreg Rip-Cut... Oh how I would love to afford Festool equipment...

    I'd been watching for 2 years now off and on before deciding to start up, the whole debate on a screened bottom board or not. Weighed the pros and cons and decided to not use one at all. Though it helps with monitoring the hive, it doesn't truly seem to prevent or keep much of anything in check. At least that's my take on it at this moment.. Who knows what it will be in the future.

    I'm highly tempted to keep the hive this deep and see how it goes... I'd seen someone else who runs a deep TBH who had center hanging bars on his bars, so that the bars look like T's.. That may be an option to help strength the comb, no?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    I think the "T" shaped hybrid top-bar/frame type thing would be HIGHLY recommendable if you decide to use this hive at its original depth. In theory, at least, if the center "hanging bar" is attached to your top bar well enough, and the bees attach the comb to it nicely, it should eliminate most, if not all, comb instability problems that your extra-deep TBH box is likely to cause. Of course, that's only my opinion.......

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Murray KY, USA
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    Might be interesting to give it a try. First saw it in use on this site, which is a really interesting site. Not sure where he is in Wyoming, but I figure there's a 10 degree difference in average temp.

    The spot I chose for this hive gets direct morning sun until 11:00 or so when it falls under the shade of a tree. That should keep it from overheating due to exposure. I'm also planning on the 1" of foam near the top bars to keep the solar radiation away from the obvious week point.

    I've got plenty of 1/4" cutoffs from making the rest of the bars (used 2x4s), so I can simply notch the top bars and then gorilla glue them in after dabbing the end in some water.

    Just considered something though. If I put bars down the center of the top bars which are the exact width of the bars themselves, I would basically be blocking off the left and right side of the hive. Mayhaps not totally, but it would impede movement. So with that thought, I should use narrower bars and allow for bee space. Agree?

    EDIT: Ah, I see now.. It's also laid out here in more detail. The support bar is not as wide as the bar itself. Good to know.
    Last edited by DarkWolf; 04-18-2013 at 06:57 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    1,310

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    Although I don't see anything inherently wrong with his approach, the natural tinkerer in me has an idea...lol
    I think, were it my hive, I'd use 1/2" diameter dowels for the "hangar bars". That way, you could simply put a 1/2" bit in your drill press (hand drill works, but drill press is a lot faster, easier, and more precise); drill a vertical/plumb hole though the center of each bar; then put a dab of glue (I'd go for good ole' wood glue over water-blown poly [Gorilla Glue]) on the inside of the hole & press in the end of the dowel until it's flush with the top surface of the bar. Seems like the tight-fitting hole method would be easier to support while gluing (it holds itself in place, so you don't need a jig, or to hold it by hand), and I know it'll give more surface area for the glue to form a stronger bond holding it stable

    All in all, that looks like a really cool idea for stabilizing TBH combs...just that I naturally can never leave "well enough" alone, lol

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    Those 1/8" gaps between the guide and the walls might get filled with propolis living you with fight to get them out. I don't know this will happen for sure...just something to keep an eye on.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Murray KY, USA
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    Well, the bees came in this morning and I decided to install them. Figured I'd do it sans suit.. Exhilarating is one way to describe it, with a pinch of disconcertion.



    The opening is a little above the hive floor. I ended up dropping in a raised bottom (solid) to bring the comb height down to 10" vs. 15" which was making me worry about collapse.

    For the queen, I decided to tack the cage against the wall half way up and to put a nail hole all the way through the cady. There were a few nurse bees blocking the way out that I could not shift out of the way, so I'll need to check it in a couple days and see that she's released.

    I decided not to spray them down with sugar water during the install since it was colder (not bad) outside, misty and was still deep in fog. Having a dozen+ bees circling your head going "WTH man?" is rather interesting. And the sound.. Wow..

    The entrance is 1.5" diameter and is a single entrance. Once it comes time to inspect in a few days I'll shift the bars and put a spacer in to allow entrance via the top and just prop the top open a bit if they need more moving space.

    All in all a mind bogglingly cool experience. Really hoping things go well. Stood there for a long while just watching them, though anything closer than 5' and too close in front of the entrance and I had guards checking me over rather close. Though I did wear a dark blueish plaid shirt.. Doubt that their fashion police were bothered by that though.

    Oh yeah, for feed, I've got a 2 quart mason jar near the back follower with 1:1 and 1Tsp of HBH. Lots of blooms out, so I don't need any pollen substitute, I'd say. I'll move to a gallon feeder later when able. Which begs the question.. How long should I feed?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    United States
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    93

    Default Re: My TBH and Some Questions.

    On the other hand there is the argument that deeper comb may allow the bees to winter better as they have more capped honey on a single comb and they will be able to move up further and consume it when it is too cold for them to move horizontally.

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