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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    longton, kansas USA
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    606

    Default Frame jig for scratch building ....

    Almost done.
    I know most people say it is pointless to build ur own frames but , I'm almost done with a jig for the sides through a router table....including to make the channels for the top and bottom bars. I'm getting it all mapped out soo all the components can be made from 2 x 4's. I'm lucky enough to own a good 13" ryobi planer soo that makes it possible to shave the 2x4's down to 1 3/8 .

    The plan for the sides,which seem to be the hardest to develop is to cut the 2 x 4's to length ( med or deep),plane the pieces to 1 3/8, run them through the router table which set for the center of each end of the cut 2 x 4,cut a 3/4 channel then a 1/2 channel on the other end. Rip the 2x4 multiple times to give me a bunch of sides with the channels. Then run them through a simple jig for the planer to do the side downgrading from top to bottom.

    For the top bars I'm thinking if just puttin a stop on my radial arm saw with the correct dado, and run it across the 2x4 on the 3 1/2 side (after they are cut to length of course). Rip the 2 x 4 to get a bunch of tops with the channels for the ears on the sides.take them over to the radial arm saw against the stop again and dado out multiple top bars....handles at once.



    I made it sound wayyyyy more confusing than it is hahaha. But if I can bust out 100 un assembled frames an hour.....which I'm sure I can......I'll be golden. We are completely foundation less soo I'm not worried about the foundation channels.

    image.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
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    606

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    now to be the guy who comments his own post before anyone else does....i would like Michael Bush's insight in the sizing for small cell brood production if possible. since i will most likely be scratch building all my frames from here on out.

    Michael, i have read your site about how to cut or plane down dadant style frames to accomplish this, but im a little bit confused. instead of planing my cut 2 x 4 (sides blank before ripping them into multiple sides) down to 1 3/8,should i instead plane the blanks down to 1 1/4 and rip them out ? or am i getting it all wrong. maybe you could just go over the dimensions of the individual pieces before assembly. that would be awesome. im sure with minimal work i can get it dialed in correctly for small cell frames. i was thinking of also moving the taper up on the sides so that instead of where the taper starts towards the bottom of the side i could start the taper maybe a 1/2" higher ? any thoughts on what you would design ? thinner top bars/bottom bars ?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    But if I can bust out 100 un assembled frames an hour.....which I'm sure I can......I'll be golden.

    Took me 5 hours to"bust out 100". If you can do it in an hour, you are golden! :-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    587

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    I didn't keep track of time on mine, but the last hundred I did was probably 4-5 hours. I use nothing but a table saw, and in this case i didn't use a dado stet at any point. Probably not the way to go for commercial guys, but I've got no plans to have more than a dozen hives and I like making things. I'm impressed with the appearance of those end bars, especially if you're banging them out that fast!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,212

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    I make up frame blanks, then have a custom holder that holds 50 blank endbars at a time in a clamp setup. I then run the entire 50 blanks through the table saw and cut the top bar and bottom bar slots. This dramatically speeds up time to complete for end bars.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    1. Might want to plane the 2X? lumber down to 1 3/8 or 1 1/4 before you cut the pieces to side bar length.

    2. It is easier for me to cut the top and bottom slots for the top bar and bottom bar in the 2X? blocks before I cut them into the side bars. that way you don't have to make a jig to hold the side bars in place and they can't get out of line with each other.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    1. Might want to plane the 2X? lumber down to 1 3/8 or 1 1/4 before you cut the pieces to side bar length.

    2. It is easier for me to cut the top and bottom slots for the top bar and bottom bar in the 2X? blocks before I cut them into the side bars. that way you don't have to make a jig to hold the side bars in place and they can't get out of line with each other.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    Plane down the stock before cutting to length, it's easier and gives you more bars the same width. I prefer 2x6 for end bars, more bars per piece.

    I cut dados using an Oshlun style dado set with two chipper teeth per spacer, my saw bogs down with six teeth on the chippers. I hate smoke....

    If you have a jointer, it's easy to cut the end bars down with it. I do them after they are cut right now, but may try doing the whole 2x6 block next time. If you don't have a jointer, use the router table to cut them. You can just leave them full width all the way, but the bees glue them together pretty badly if you do.

    Peter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    All awesome points....thanks guys. I did decide to use the router for top and bottom bar channels. Going with 3/4 on top and 1/2 on bottom. I must have misspoke, but yes I do plane the blocks/blanks down after cutting to length and before ripping to multiple side pieces.

    As far as shaping the downgrade on multiple pieces rathe than one at a time using a clamp set up. I am thinking of that as well. I need to find a really tall/long 1/2 router bit to make it possible.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    Quote Originally Posted by tommysnare View Post

    As far as shaping the downgrade on multiple pieces rathe than one at a time using a clamp set up. I am thinking of that as well. I need to find a really tall/long 1/2 router bit to make it possible.
    As was mentioned earlier, a jointer works really well for that.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,401

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    I'm going to say, more like 5-hours for me, too. But that's just the time it takes to cut out all the parts, it still takes even more time to assemble them, and to wire them. I've only been making, so far, foundationless frames, with Top Bars having a built-in profile for comb guide. And my End Bars (I don't know about all this talk of "side bars"). Presently I use a table saw to cut blanks to length, Top Bars to 19", Bottom Bars to 17" (since I prefer my Bottom Bars to be glued and stapled through the solid bottoms of my End Bars). And, End Bars to 6-1/4" or 9-1/8" depending. I use a band saw to resaw blanks to the width I prefer them (often trimming a little from each side, so both sides, when complete, have a similar finished surface). I've made almost all of my End Bars, 1-1/4" wide, with Top Bars 7/8" wide and Bottom Bars, simply cut 3/8" thick, or 7/16" thich, cut from the edge of one by lumber (nominally 3/4" thick), making them 17" long, 3/4" wide, and 3/8" or 7/16" thick. I have a table saw with a stacked dado set (3/4" wide). I set the fence on the dado saw, so once I've fed the End Bar blanks through the dado, twice, with each side against the fence and the final product being a dado cut of 7/8" wide and centered in the top of the End Bar blanks. Then I separate the End Bars from the blanks by resawing them in the band saw. I cut Top Bars by cutting strips of two by lumber, precut to length, resawing them with the band saw 7/8" wide. Then I make a dado cut on four ends of the Top Bar blanks (which creates the Top Bar lugs in the final product), run the opposite 7/8" edges through the router table to create the comb guide edge. Then back to the band saw to resaw the Top Bars, separating them (one blank makes two Top Bars). When assembling them, I put a drop of glue on the ends of the Bottom Bars, then hold them against the inside bottom edges of the End Bars and staple through the End Bars and into the Bottom Bars. When the End Bars are still blanks I prefer to drill the holes for the wires on my drill press. Two holes for 6-1/4", and three for 9-1/8". Four wires always seemed, to me, overkill on deep frames - the top and bottom wires were always too close to the Top Bar and Bottom Bars to really be very helpful or supportive.




    The above image shows a comb guide profile also cut into the Bottom Bar. I've tried this to see if it helps to get the comb attached here, too. I'm still not sure if it helps, so I'm continuing to produce some frames this way, until I can form a consensus.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 02-17-2014 at 10:27 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    almost there. finishing tweeks tomorrow. i have all stops and jigs made. i might post a video series on youtube if it works out as well as its looking

    it is a long process but, im setting everything up soo u can do hundreds of frames at a time in a step by step process. thinking when u need frames u spend a couple hours doing hundreds of frames in a few hours to store away un assembled.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    charleston, wv, usa
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    I see I'm getting here when all the work is finished. I found plans for a jig to narrow the bottoms of the endbars in FineWoodworking #39, 1983. I can't post a picture with a Kindle, so I'll do my best to describe it clearly.
    Looks like they planed two 1x4's (8" L) to the thickness of the endbars and attached them parallel to a base (1/2" MDF would be good) leaving a 2" gap. The base is long enough to allow attachment of a stop block across the end. Before attaching the right side a large semicircle for chip clearance is cut, centered at 6" from the stop and the short end has 5/32" ripped, end to semicircle. This acts much like a jointer table, so that when you insert the blank past the router bit, it is supported by the outfeed side. After attaching the right side a full hole is cut in the base corresponding to the hole in the fence.
    In the extra space between the sides they used a wood-sliver spring (wooden strip attached to left side and flexed over with 2 nails offset to form a shallow s-curve against the blank) to force the piece against the fence just beyond the cutter. Finally a top is added and the jig is ready to clamp to the router table.
    A picture is worth a thousand words. I don't know how they aligned the jig with the bit.
    The jig could be made longer and a sliding stop could cut all depths of endbars.
    "SERENITY is realizing that the bees know what they are doing, even when you don't..."--thenance007

  14. #14
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    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    I always detested the commercial End Bars where they are full width at the top and narrow towards their base. Perhaps there was some rationale for them being constructed this way, but when I replace frames, I like to slide them back in, with the End Bars pressed against each other, and when I slide them in my preferred manner the narrowed ones act like a scissors, pinching, slicing, and crushing bees as they are trapped by the narrow end as it slides down against the adjacent End Bar, especially where the wide part forms a wedge where it narrows. With End Bars having parallel sides, as I replace a frame by sliding it in against its neighbor, the blunt end of the frame, simply pushes any bee, out of the way, without catching it in a scissors-like action.

    So, needless to say, I have not endeavored to imitate that feature of commercial frames. I like that PF-120 frames have very little of this narrowing - though the larger PF-100's seem to make up for what the shorter frames lack.

    - - - - -
    It just occurred to me, that the parallel-sided End Bars may more closely imitate how feral colonies arrange their combs. With the combs attached at the sides and top, predominantly. Though our "frames" create an opening at the top, between each comb and its neighbor, and the end combs and the hive walls. So, most air will move up or down between the combs, and be restricted in moving across the combs in a horizontal direction, though with a bee space outside the End Bars, bees and air will be able to travel there (where that might not be possible in a feral hive). But it will change the nest ventilation and bee movement dynamics.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 02-18-2014 at 08:28 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,401

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    I just realized I hadn't directly addressed the issue, as described by the title of this thread:

    As for a "jig" to produce frame components, I have a few different setup pieces, some of them are simply components that are already finished, which I use to more quickly set my dado blade for those cuts I make on the dado, and other ones I use to set the band saw, for cuts I make on that tool. Right now, I leave my router table set up for cutting the comb-guide profile in the Top Bars, so that's always ready to go. And I have a table saw, I only use for cutting stock to length, from different width of two by lumber, whichever I have been able to find suitable boards of, on that day, at the lumber yard. I believe that it would be advantageous for me to create sleds (jigs) designed to ride in both miter slots of the table saw, and use them to cut various rough blanks, to length. This is always my first step in creating any frame components. However, I am awaiting a replacement table top for my RAS (radial arm saw). Once I have it functional again, there are several, easy ways, for me to set it so I can cut stock to length, so that is what I plan to do. I will probably retire the plain, table saw from its current duties, and then be safer and make more accurate cuts, more quickly and easily with the RAS.

    So, since I use four different power tools to create my frame components, it is more expedient to keep jigs (pieces of wood cut to the different widths, and with the essential dado cuts, necessary to create frame components). These facilitate setting and resetting the tools to perform the series of cuts necessary to create the various components. Besides these "jigs", I find the most important "tool" to be my plan of the sequence of cuts I use to create the various components, and to decide before I begin, how many of each component I will need, for the quantity of frames I need and plan to create. Also, acquiring the appropriate amount of raw lumber, necessary to create the desired frame components and to ensure it is suitable to the purpose. This way I should only need to make only one of each setting change, on the tools that will be requiring changes for the various steps in the creation of the frame components - for a single run/batch of frames.

    In other words plan the most efficient way to create the various components, so the different power tool settings for each component only have to be made, once for each batch being created. For me the first step, is to decide how many frames I will be creating in the next batch I am planning. And the second step is to make sure I have all the lumber necessary to create that batch. The third step would be to cut all the lumber to the lengths needed for the creation of blanks. It gets slightly more complicated in subsequent steps, but I think you see where I'm going with this.

    My simplest blank is for Bottom Bars. I cut one by (3/4" thick boards to seventeen inches long), then I simply cut them from that stock in the thickness I want those Bottom Bars to be, on the band saw, creating the largest number of components, with the least amount of waste (sawdust), possible.

    Since I make my Top Bars, 7/8" wide, I cut two by in 7/8" wide strips, from two by material that has already been cut to 19" length. then I make four dado cuts, one on each end of this Top Bar blank, then the comb-guide profile cut, one on each side, then I separate the two Top Bars, creating one from each side of the original two by material (approximately 11/16" thick after the band saw cut, with a comb-guide profile on one side and ears/lugs on each end to later support the frames on the supers' frame rests.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 02-18-2014 at 07:19 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Strasburg, Pa, USA
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    118

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    I picture would be great Hive+, Thanks for your post.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    I agree that 100 an hr is optimistic. Last year a few of us got together and did 240 frames in a very well equipped shop. We had 2 table saws one set to rip one set with a dado to cut the top and bottom of the side bars. We had a head planer and a joiner planer, a drum sander for beveling the frame rests, band saw for cutting the side bars.

    3 of us took over 3 hrs to do 240 frames.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    With some of the new 7-1/2 " table saw blades as almost thin as band saws I see no reason to use a band saw. Use a block with a over hang piece of wood as a push block.
    David

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    tommysnare,
    I especially like your thought of making the frame components ahead of time, then assembling them, just before you need to use them. This way most components that are unstable and twist, warp, or check, etc. can be eliminated before they are used in frames and ruin an entire frame. I especially see such problems in Top and Bottom bars, rarely in End Bars. But your plan should certainly reduce this issue.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: Frame jig for scratch building ....

    having issues guys hahahahaha .... OF COURSE !!! i WILL figure this out. but it has kept me in the shop for a few hours in the evenings. not like i mind though. i have everything set up except for those stinking channels for the end bars 'ears' to go around the top bars. just thinking of scrapping it and going with ryan bekkes design on youtube and forget about the 'ears'. anyone ever used his design ? it seems like it may be a weak spot but id like to know if anyone else has tested them .


    Shalom

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