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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Port-au-Prince, Ouest, Haiti
    Posts
    6

    Question Homemade Frame Designs

    I'm working with a team of woodworkers in Haiti who are learning to make bee equipment for my apiary and eventually for mass production and sale. The frames have proven to be the most difficult, due to limited equipment. I have 2 questions:

    1: Can someone give me a link for some good schematics for foundationless frames that don't require too much routing and jointing? (Preferably Narrow Frames--1 1/4 inch)

    2: How important is it for the side bars to be notched or tapered from top to bottom? Can I just make them straight or will that cause real traffic problems in the hive?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
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    398

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    Quote Originally Posted by jgbataille View Post
    2: How important is it for the side bars to be notched or tapered from top to bottom? Can I just make them straight or will that cause real traffic problems in the hive?

    Thanks!
    I sometimes have trouble getting frames to separate the way it is. I couldn't imagine having to fight propolis the whole length of the endbar.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,341

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    There are plans for frames here:
    http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yo...t-type-frames/

    One thing that may make it easier to build frames is to do all the machining for the end bars while the end bars are all in one large piece of wood, then slice them off like making bologna slices.

    For instance, if you want medium frames, start with a 2x8 (or other board that is at least 1.25" x 6.25"), do the machining, then slice off 3/8" wafers for the end bars. You could also do the taper with an angled table saw blade before the slices are cut off.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    I would recommend that if you use the idea of Sidetrack's to make your end bars that to make sure the grain of the wood runs the length of the end bar and not across the bars. That means that if you layed one of your end bars down on a 2x8 it would be laying with its long direction in line with the length of the board. It would not have it's length laying in line with the width of the 2x8. If you cut it from the width of the 2x8 it will be very brittle and break very easy.

    Cut a 3/8 inch peice across the width off the end of a 2x8. Notice how easy it will break. You dont want that. Now cut a 3/8 peice on the side of a 2x8 so you are cutting along the length of the board. You will see how much stronger that peice it. That is that you want.

    Many europeans make their own frames and they are made straight down the length of the side bar. They do not bother to "notch" or "taper" the side bars.

    I have made 100s of my own frames with nothing more than a table saw, a dado blade and a thin blade for my saw.

    First plane down the whole 2by to 1 1/4 width. so what you will have will be a true 1 1/4 x whatever.

    I cut up long 2x8, 2x10 or 2x12s to the lengths of the side bars. For this discussion I will use a 2x12. So I have several chunks of 2x12 the length of the height of the side bar.

    Then mount the Dado blade. I would cut the top dado where the top bars of the frame will fit into the side bars first. That is down the center of one end of the 2x12 that is going to be the top of the end bars.

    Then cut the dado at the other end that is going to be the dado for the bottom cross bar of the frame and will be the bottom of the end bars.

    Then use the dado to remove the side taper from the face of the 2x12 that is going to be the side of the end bars when you slice them off. I would start 1/3 down the length from the end that is the "top" of the end bars and cut across the 2x12 so you remove the wood that will leave the bee space when the frames are slid together. Keep moveing down the 2x12 until I get to the end of the board when the end of the end bars will be. Trim both side 1/2 of the beespace. It is easier to work from that point down to the end because the the end part to be trimed off last on the board is there to support the work on the saw. It is just the last trim cut that you have to hold the board carefully with the pressure on the "upper" 1/3 of the end bar to keep it level so that it does not go down in the "end" part of what is going to be the end bars and have too much cut off.

    Then mount your thin blade in the saw and set the fence for 3/8" and slice the end bars off your shaped peice of 2x12.

    If you start with a 2x12x8 you can cut several frame-length blocks from it. Then set up for each cut and run all your blocks through. That way you only have to do each saw setup once.

    But to test your design first. Go through the whole process with a peice of 2x4. All the cuts will then apply to a 2x4 or any other 2x be it 2x6, 2x8 or 2x12. When I was young I bought one unassembled frame from Kellys. That was my pattern.

    NOW! Personally, If I was in where you are, I would be thinking top bar hives. The design is much more simple and will be much cheaper to make with less tooling skills. Just my Opinion!
    Old Guy in Alabama

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    jacksonville,fl.USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    This is a great explanation of how to make frames, I can see it in my mind clear as a bell, but a picture would be worth a thousand words, its at times like these that people are willing to share there knowledge that makes keeping bees enjoyable, thanks old guy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Waterville, NY
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    jrbbees has a good plan...I think I will try it. I have a table saw with dado and a thin blade...........but it looks like I am also going to need ............. a planer.

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

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    Beemilk,
    If you don't have a planer. I I didn't when I started. Make all your frames as you did above. Just ignor the fact that your widest part of the end bars are 1 1/2 wide. when you cutting down the sides with the dado removing the 2/3 down the length just cut them to where you want them the end up ignoring the 1 1/2 upper 1/3.

    The after you have sliced off all the end bars from the shaped blocks with the thin blade remount the normal blade on the saw.

    Now you are goung to take care of the 1 1/2 wide part and cut it down to 1 1/4. Set the width from the blade to the fence to 1 3/8 and lower the blade until it is just 1/2 high. Now take each end bar and make a dot on one flat side of the each end bar. Now carefully hold the end bar against the fence so that only the widest 1/3 of the end bar is square against the fence. Do this with all the end bars with the dot up and run them throught the space between the blade and the fence. You now have a 1 3/8 wide top to your end bar but it is off center just a little.

    Now move the fence to make a 1 1/4 space between the blade and the fence. Now run all the end bars through with the dot down. The result is that you will have shaved 1/8 off the upper 1/3 widest part of the each end bar. Now you have a 1 1/4 wide endbars.

    Beemilk, set you a PM to make sure you see this.
    flbee, sorry I am off in Africa at the moment so I can't do any pictures right now. I'll send you a PM to make sure you see the addition above.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Coopersville, Michigan
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    I do something similar to jrbbees, but I can make a couple reccomendations, depending on your equipment.
    A jointer works really nice for making the taper in the endbars. I have a 2x4 with a C shaped hook in the end to hold the board using the groove for the bottom bar to keep my hands away. Really fast easy and clean, but requires a jointer.

    Also I would very highly reccomend making a sled to cut the end bars from the finished block. If you use the fence you have to worry about shooting end bars out the back of the saw. I built a jig that slides on the fence to accomplish this. Sorry at work no photos at the moment, I'll try to post some when I get home if I have time tonight.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,515

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    I agree with jrbbees that top bar may be much better choice. Also, I am using foundationless truncated "frames" in my Lang. Some of them are just top bar from the standard frame... one could use just a plank as in Warre hive.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    756

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    The other thing I would recommend is to cut the 2x stock twice the length you want, cut the bottom of the dato’s, then the taper with the jointer (as described above). I am with Mr C, I clamp a piece of wood to the fence (and draw a line on the fence for the size of frame). This gives you more clearance for your fingers from the blades and makes kick back less likely. Then chop the frames apart, do the dato for the top bar (different size dato I think). Then I cut them apart and throw them all over the shop.
    I want to see the sled! I actually put a bucket behind me about 4 feet and most go into the bucket. Not the right way to do it.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Topeka, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    I also use the scrap triangle from cutting the 45 degree top bar as a bottom bar by cutting a 45 degree notch in the end bars on the bottom, so that the point is up. I find that the bees will connect the comb to the bottom of my foundationless frames sooner with a bottom "guide."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    You can make frames just using 19mm (3/4") boards.

    Top, bottom and sides are all the same width. The spacing is done using 8mm (5/16") Map pins. Here's a link to some map pins: http://www.alibaba.com/trade/search?...t=8mm+map+pins

    So the total width is 35mm (1-3/8").

    1. Cut the boards into three lengths. The lengths of the top bar, bottom bar and side bars.

    2. Then rip the boards into strips to a width of 11mm (7/16").

    3. Put a groove no more than 5mm (3/16") deep down the center (length ways) of the top bar.

    4. Assemble the frame and then glue three ice cream sticks in the groove of the top bar.

    5. Hammer in map pins to the sides of the top bar. (2 each side, offset from each other.)

    That's it.

    Note: Map pins need to be placed further in than the usual side bars to be compatible with Dadant style frames. I usually use 4 on each frame, 2 on each side of the top bar, offset from each other so that they don't touch when placed next to another frame.

    The Map pins don't seem to get much propolis and bees don't get squished when putting frames back in place.

    I have also put a groove on all bars, so insides and bottom and done biscuit joins along the top and the bottom. Just glued them, and they are strong enough. The extra strip along the bottom then allows you to squash the comb onto the strip if it is going off to one side.

    Matthew Davey
    Last edited by MattDavey; 12-06-2012 at 04:57 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    260

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    I'll be in the shop tonight and take some pics of the jigs I use, they are all easy to make and really speed things up.

    Mr. C

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Coopersville, Michigan
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    260

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    So the pictures are in backward order, but this should give you an idea.
    http://s1113.beta.photobucket.com/us...09357145023644

    So these are jigs I just tossed together one at a time as I needed them. They are not perfect and could definately be improved upon. Next time I cut end bars I will probably do some work on them, especially the end bar slicer. I need to make a tunnel to enclose the blade so that it is only exposed when cutting through the end bar stock. I just plop in the blank that has been planed to 1.25inches and had the ends notched for the top bar and bottom bar. I use a scrap block to hold it in the jig and slide it through to slice it. Clear the blade and pop out the finished endbar and repeat.

    Let me know if you have any questions I didn't have any blanks cut since I still have a pile to assemble.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Port-au-Prince, Ouest, Haiti
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    Quote Originally Posted by jrbbees View Post
    NOW! Personally, If I was in where you are, I would be thinking top bar hives. The design is much more simple and will be much cheaper to make with less tooling skills. Just my Opinion!
    Wow, great description. Thanks for the tips. As for the type of hives, many local beekeepers are only recently modernizing from the old Log Hive method. Langstroth is quickly becoming the preferred method, and there is still a gap when it comes to quality, standardized equipment. If my guys can find a way to make these frames (and boxes, etc.) quickly and efficiently, they could carve out a good niche for themselves among other woodworkers.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Port-au-Prince, Ouest, Haiti
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. C View Post
    So the pictures are in backward order, but this should give you an idea.
    http://s1113.beta.photobucket.com/us...09357145023644
    Thanks Mr. C. These images really help me to put it all together. I've been "visualizing" similar jigs, but haven't had a chance to put it all together yet. This will give us a head start as we attempt to "toss together" what works for us.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
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    1,068

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    Quote Originally Posted by flbee View Post
    I can see it in my mind clear as a bell, but a picture would be worth a thousand words, thanks old guy.
    Sorry flbee, I am in Africa for a while so I can't get back and make you any pictures. But I know you can do this. Search for "feather boards" pn the net used in wood working. using them will make many of these steps safer. When you can make a jig that will allow you tp simply push you wood through the blad while holding it in a safe manner. Spending 1 hour working out hoe to make a cut while keeping your fingers from the blade is a better use of time than the time it takes to heal.

    Look at the jigs these guys have done and work out how to aply ther to the tooks you have.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  18. #18

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    One jig that I like for slicing thin strips. Take a 1by add a strip of plywood that hangs over the 1by so that it forms a hook. Cover the main board to be cut with hook board cut just the hook and slice away.
    David

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Lewiston Idaho USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    One of the best resources I have found for learning alternative ways of beekeeping is using google translate and youtube. The old eastern block countries came up with some of the most inexpensive inovative ways of keeping bees. Take beekeeping terms, translate them into different languages and see what you find. For example, I just translated beehive frame in to hungarian and came up with the following cool video. They run wire from the top bar to the bottom bar rather that from side to side. I've seen many other videos of people doing the same. If you think about it, it makes sense. When frames come apart, it is usually the top and bottom bar that seperate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkEXx...PCIxOmDGguBSU3
    Last edited by Tony Rogers; 12-11-2012 at 09:07 AM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Port-au-Prince, Ouest, Haiti
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    6

    Default Re: Homemade Frame Designs

    Ooo. I like that idea Tony. Not just for frames, but for everything else. I think I'm gonna do that this weekend. Thanks!

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