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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    grand rapids, michigan
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    401

    Default So which frames to start with?

    Hello... New beek here. Well I will be this Spring once I start my hives. I will build my hives this Winter but buy the frames. I am seeing N style, J Style, whatever other style. How do you decide which style to go with?
    And actually, I would consider making my own frames. I have a nicely equipped woodshop. But I am sure it will be very montonous work. But I'm thrifty too and prefer to make almost anything I can instead of buying it. Anyone out there make their own frames?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,394

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Regards, Barry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    grand rapids, michigan
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    401

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Yeah I saw those plans Barry and it looks very doable. Thank you. What wood do you prefer? Pine, popular? Any cheap softwood?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,394

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Whatever I have laying around the shop. Mostly pine, some redwood and poplar.
    Regards, Barry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,910

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Wouldn't poplar be prone to rot?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Siloam Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    I've seen poplar rot in many instances. Too bad, fun to work with. I build (built) my own frames , so if you're up for some satisfaction go for it. If you're trying to get rich, well........
    Trying techniques that I doubt will work because I like to be right!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,870

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Frame style is dependent on foundation type or lack of.
    groove-groove for plastic foundation
    wedge-plain or wedge-groove for vertical wired
    plain-plain for crosswired beeswax
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    1,959

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,489

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    There are three major types of frames: Wedge with split or solid bottom bars, slotted frames, and grooved frames. The wedge style frames are nice for wired foundation since the wedge traps the top of the wires and holds them securely. Slotted tops are the easiest to use, just drop the foundation in. Grooved frames are a bit more fiddly, but work great with plastic foundation.

    I make my frames as follows:

    Find a nice 2 x something that is flat or very nearly flat. Cut to 19" lengths. Set table saw to cut the taper on the end, or 3/8" if you want a flat end to keep hive beetles out of the space (but the bees glue them down more). Cut both side across the end. Set fence to width (1 1/16" for standard frames, 7/8" for narrow frames) and rip the 2 x across the width. You end up with proper width sections with two tapers. Set the saw to exactly split these in half, should come out a bit less than 3/4". Cut dados on the ends to hold the end bars, exactly one inch from the inside of the dado to the end of the bar on both ends.

    It really helps to have a band saw for this job, as it give you an extra bar out of a 2x6 or 2x8 and they will be a hair thicker too. You can use a narrow kerf blade on the table saw too, I do.

    Of end bars, plane some 2 by stock down to 1 3/8" or 1 1/4" (standard or narrow bars) and cut to the correct length for whatever size you are making (deep, medium, shallow, Dadant deep, whatever). Mill a slot with a dado set down the center to fit the top bars you made (measure -- should be about 3/4" for the narrow and 7/8" for the standard, but mine vary a bit). Mill whatever slot you want on the other end for your bottom bars - -I like split bottom bars and use 3/8" x 3/8" bars, but 3/8" x 5/16" works fine too.

    Slice these blocks to make the end bars -- make sure they are the same as the dados you cut on the top bars so they fit tight but don't split things.

    Cut bottom bars to fit whatever you cut in the end bars.

    I find that I set up a pile of wood in blanks. That way I can set up a cut, get it exactly right, and crank out a pile of parts. Do one operation at a time and process the whole batch -- stay awake, it's BORING, and watch that you don't machine your fingers too!

    I have a ton of frames to make -- plan on a three more hives next year, so that means 100 narrow frames (33 deep and 66 medium, plus a few) and I'll need at least 80 standard shallow frames for honey. Gonna be a lot of sawdust in the shop this year.

    I do really like narrow frames -- the bees seem to build comb really fast on them and keep it flatter than "standard" frames. Fill it up with brood, too, top to bottom.

    Peter

  10. #10

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Berry how about adding the jumbo frame to the drawing. You have listed the lenght for small med and large Seeing there is so much interest in it.
    David

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,927

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    I just made 100 frames from the drawings Barry shared. Made them all from free scrap wood. And maybe 10 hours total in set up and cutting. What did it save me in the way of money? maybe $70 or so over buying them pre made. Unless you are just flat broke, not working, and have time on your hands anyway. I am not sure making them at home is saving anything.

    I do get a satisfaction knowing they are frames I made though.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,394

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Wouldn't poplar be prone to rot?
    Can't imagine how used as a frame within a hive covered with wax. I've never seen a single rotten frame in my life. I've seen frames that broke or damaged by moth, but never rotten.
    Regards, Barry

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,394

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Quote Originally Posted by My-smokepole View Post
    Berry how about adding the jumbo frame to the drawing.
    David
    Sure, if someone can give me the accurate numbers.
    Regards, Barry

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,845

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Can't imagine how used as a frame within a hive covered with wax. I've never seen a single rotten frame in my life. I've seen frames that broke or damaged by moth, but never rotten.
    I have 37 year old medium extracting frames from a supplier in Oregon on which the topbar ends have become pithy and weak, maybe from four decades of soaking in honey every year. It is not really rot, but just getting pithy and soft. Of the hundreds of frames I extract annually, it is always those that break in the uncapper. Their batch of wood was poor, the supers from the same order rot out faster than other supers I made in the same era.
    I made tops from cedar pallet lumber a few years ago that was also too wide grained to hold up. This video explains pithy as wood that grew to fast and wet.

    http://youtu.be/tuX5jeGcfWk

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,845

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Sure, if someone can give me the accurate numbers.
    The endbars are 11 1/4" tall. The suppliers just make them to fit their standard top and bottom bars. . And I think a true Dadant Jumbo has 1 1/2" wide topbars.

    Copied from Beesource:

    Hive Sizes
    JWG
    Field Bee


    Icon 1 posted December 20, 2006 03:57 PM Profile for JWG Send New Private Message Edit/Delete Post A couple notes on the larger brood frames:

    Historically in North America there were two large brood frame designs, the Dadant and the Langstroth Jumbo. There is no "Dadant Jumbo."

    The standard Dadant brood frame (like the one used by Br. Adam) has the dimensions 17 5/8 * 11 1/4 inches. There are 11 of these in the Modified Dadant hive, and 12 in the Buckfast Dadant hive. The frames are spaced wider than Langstroth, on 1 1/2" centers (an important difference).

    . Normally used in an 8 or 10 frame configuration. (One of the reasons why the 10 fr. hive became popular is because the 8-fr. had a tendency to tip over.) Frame spacing is 1 3/8" center to center.

    The Langstroth Jumbo brood frame is deeper, at 11 1/4", making it similar to the Dadant brood frame, but it retains the narrower spacing.

    In Britain, many users of National Hives have gone to a 3 1/2 inch-deeper version of the British Standard brood frame, at 14 x 12 in. to allow for a larger continuous brood comb area. This would be analogous to the Jumbo Langstroth frame.

    20 years ago you could still get Lang. Jumbo frames and bodies from at least one supplier in Quebec but now they aren't in the North American catalogs anymore that I know of. Posts: 131 | From: Wakefield, MA, USA | Registered: Jun 2004 | IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
    Mike Gillmore
    Field Bee


    Icon 1 posted December 20, 2006 04:25 PM Profile for Mike Gillmore Send New Private Message Edit/Delete Post This sounds like a very natural, bee friendly set up. But it could end up being a beekeepers nightmare.

    For example, in the spring flow. If the bees form a band of capped honey across the tops of all of the deep frames, refuse to move nectar into the supers above and start to backfill the deep frames, how would you "open up" the brood nest?

    --------------------
    To everything there is a season....
    Posts: 401 | From: Massillon, Ohio | Registered: Feb 2006 | IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,489

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    I would suggest making boxes with locally available 1x12's and make the frame end bars 3/8" to 1/2" shorter than the actual lumber is wide. Might shave the boards down a tiny bit to eliminate variations, too, and make the end bars to fit that dimension. I've noticed that deep frames tend to be 1/8" shorter than medium or shallow frames compared to the depth of the boxes -- wonder if that has something to do with drone brood in between the boxes every spring?

    I may do that this year, but you do want to watch that you don't get half a dozen different sized brood boxes going -- you never know when you are going to need to swap frames between boxes to do splits, open a brood nest, or give a hive some eggs to make a queen. A big mess if they are different depths.

    Peter

  17. #17

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    Thanks odfrank and berry
    David

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    poplar actually turns into a hard wood as it dries, so Im told ! It gets extremely hard and strong. Its why they make furniture out of it other than it keeps straight and little to no knots.
    I have an old chicken coup in my yard made out of cut poplar logs, 80 years old and no sign of giving up yet
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,910

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    I believe the poplar in Canada grows slowly and is a different timber than the poplar in my country which grows incredibly fast (great to grow a quick shelterbelt), but is a very light, porous wood that will rot down quickly and doesn't even burn very well.

    Same tree, i think, but different climate.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: So which frames to start with?

    could be. They call this tree trembling aspen.
    we make wind fence out of it. soo much of it around and it keep straight and easy to cut when freshly timbered
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

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