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

    Default Top Bar thickness and condensation?

    OK, I've made up a bunch of nucs and I was getting ready to start doing something about the bars. I had been thinking about using thinner bars. Currently my bars are made from ripping a 2x8 to 1 1/4 inches and cutting the wedge into them. So the bars at the thickest point are 1.5 inches thick. The thickness at the end (the tang) is about 3/4 or an inch, which would be great if I had twenty pounds of honey on a bar, but I think that it is overkill in hindsite. I was thinking of either trying to get some wood that is thinner and making them basically the same way, but the overall thickness would be less, or just cut them down and accept that I'm making lots of scrap wood. Then I got to thinking about the insulating value of the top bars. If I use thinner bars am I going to run into a condensation issue since the top of the hive is going to be potentially cooler than the sides due to the thinner wood? I'm using 1x12's for the sides, so the sides of the hive a only 3/4 of an inch thick. Or am I just thinking too much about this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
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    959

    Default Re: Top Bar thickness and condensation?

    I just built top bars and havn't gotten bees yet, so I don't know how well they will work, but I got a box of 36" survey stakes ( lath) from Home depot 12 of them were $8 get 2 bars each. They are about 3/4 in thick and 1 1/4 wide. I gule and nail cove trim for the angles. when you get to honey bars you can cut spacers out of scrap pretty easy.

  3. #3
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    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: Top Bar thickness and condensation?

    It's funny, I saw those when I was in HD not that long ago. The problem for me is I would only get one bar from each stake, as my bars are 19" long. And I wasn't sure if they were treated with anything. If I didn't have access to a table saw I would probably go that route. Honeybee Habitat sells there bars for $2 a pop. That seems high, but if you don't have access to a table saw and don't want to build bars that isn't a bad way to go, particularly for one hive. I need to make around 150 bars. I'll probably make 200 just to stay ahead of the game.

    I've considered making bars from 1x8s, ripping the boards to 1 inch strips and then ripping the strips. That will leave strips that are 1x1.5. Trim the 1.5 inch sides to 1.25. Then cut the wedge into the 1 inch width side. The probably with this method is it adds a lot more work to the construction of the bars. After doing all that work I will still need to chop to length, cut the angle on the wedge and tenon cut to get the handle cut out. The way I do it today is rip to length (1x8s), do the tenon cut and back angle on the wedge, then rip the bars. This lets me do the tenon cut on 5 bars at once, same for the back cut into the end of the wedge. At this point I basically have a bar with no wedge. Cut the wedge and I'm done. It goes quick, especially since I do this with my cousin and he knows what he is doing on a table saw.

    I've may look at purchasing some Langstroth foundation less top bars and just using spacers to get the correct width. The only thing going that route is they may be a bit too thin. And again, wondering if I should be concerned with condensation due to thinner bars.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    5,685

    Default Re: Top Bar thickness and condensation?

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    Then I got to thinking about the insulating value of the top bars. If I use thinner bars am I going to run into a condensation issue since the top of the hive is going to be potentially cooler than the sides due to the thinner wood?
    You can address your concerns about condensation by using a top entrance. Once condensation is not an issue, switch to 3/4" thick bars and just attach a Vee strip to form the comb guide. More on that here:

    The top bars are ripped from one bys with a beveled comb guide glued and nailed on. You can see a bar on top of the hive on the right end. The brood nest is 1 1/4" wide bars and the honey is 1 1/2" wide bars These bars are 15" long.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
    Set your table saw to 45 degrees and rip off the corner of a 1" board to form the guide. Return the saw to 0 degrees and rip off another guide bar from the angled side. Of course, batching the cuts with multiple boards works a lot better.

    and

    In any hive (top bar or otherwise) I think a top entrance in the winter is always a good plan. It lets out the moisture and cuts down on condensation. Heat is seldom the problem, condensation is the problem in winter. A top entrance will let it out. Mine are all JUST top entrances. The reason I went with them was the skunks. My first TBH have a bottom entrance and the skunks were a serious problem. After going to the top entrances they have ceased being a problem. My entrances are simply the gap at the front of the hive between the first bar and the front wall. No holes to drill.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#entrance
    -- Victor Hugo -- "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  5. #5
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Top Bar thickness and condensation?

    Thank for the tip on the top entrance. I'm sure I've read that on Michael's site, but it slipped my mind. I'm wondering if it is good to have a single bottom and single top entrance to create a chimney affect, or if that is overkill.

    I would rather make the bars and mill them down with a comb guide than attach a comb guide, but I may go that route just to save time. I can cut guides quickly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Top Bar thickness and condensation?

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    I'm wondering if it is good to have a single bottom and single top entrance to create a chimney affect, or if that is overkill.
    Mr Bush is recommending a single [top] entrance.
    Bees seem to have more trouble ventilating a vertical hive with no vent at the top. They have to force dry air (which wants to go down) up to the top and hot moist air at the top (which wants to go up), back down and out the bottom. It's sort of like walking 20 miles to school, uphill both ways. So a top vent or top entrance in a vertical hive seems to be very helpful as it allows the hot moist air out the top which sucks the dry air in the bottom. With a horizontal hive, this is not an issue. They just move the air in a circular fashion in one side and back out the other side and out the door. Sort of like a nice level walk with no hills. This seems to work well. With cross ventilation (such as a front and back vent or entrance) the wind may blow through the hive and that may be a bad thing.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#entrance
    -- Victor Hugo -- "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    959

    Default Re: Top Bar thickness and condensation?

    they make 48 in lath as well ( I believe)

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