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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default what makes the best hive tool the best?

    Let me preface this with a simple statement. I have no bees, nor have I ever had them? I am certainly to be considered a newbie.

    I have fabricated and assembled a couple of Langstroth hives, fabricated and assembled all the necessary frames, and have two 5-frame nucs on order. I've got the PPE that i feel necessary and a smoker. What i do not have is a hive tool. As this seems to be a rather important thing to have, I want one that will be useful. I gather that there are a couple of designs, and that nearly anything can work in a pinch, but I plan to make my own. I my free time, i am a bladesmith and have all of the tooling and forges to make whatever I could possibly want.

    So, are there any features that you wish a hive tool had? So far, I am partial to the double beveled design

    http://www.leominsterbeeman.com/imag...-Hive-Tool.jpg

    as seen in this link...assuming i got the link to work. I fabricated my frames before learning that any "rough" wool would be heavily propolised and I suspect that I will have the need to do a fair bit of scraping and prying. I plan to make new frames to tighter tolerences and sanded smooth if the need arises.

    I will be tempering this steel to a low 50s on the rockwell scale to permit some prying without cracking, yet retain a sharp edge without regularly sharpening.

    So, if you you any ideas, design critiques, or even criticisms of tools you have or have used, I sincerely welcome the input

    Regards,

    Kris
    Last edited by Barry; 02-04-2013 at 08:31 AM. Reason: fix link

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,025

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    "Best" is a subjective term. The tool you linked to - usually referred to as a Maxant tool - happens to be my favorite. However, when I'm out checking hives, I have at least two different ones in my pocket, and tend to use them interchangeably. Which one is "best" depends on what I'm doing at the moment.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Leominster, MA USA
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    I LOVE the 14" Betterbee Giant Hive Tool:

    http://www.betterbee.com/Products/Hi...iant-Hive-Tool

    The hooks let you lift up frames easily without gouging into the comb.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,592

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    I have had a Maxant (and a generic spare) for a long time. When I lost my Maxant, I bought another.

    I found my lost tool some months later.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    havana fl
    Posts
    1,358

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    So your going to make your own tool?? Add a Swiss army knife too it then all bases will be covered.
    Im really not that serious

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Saint Louis, Missouri
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,999

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Klein View Post
    This is a really good hive tool. I bought one after seeing my mentor's. It is very good at lifting glued down frames. When I "misplaced" mine even though it's more expensive than a standard tool I ordered another one. A few weeks later I found the misplaced one! Now I have a good backup. Some folks use pry-bars/nail-pullers from the hardware store but what I have found is that those are made of thicker metal and don't slip between the boxes as easily as a hive tool that was made for that purpose.

    Ed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Saint Louis, Missouri
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    This is a really good hive tool. Ed
    FWIW: The KW hook is not too big as with the J-hook. It fits between ten frames and because it has the bent paddle, does not gouge the frame next to the one you are prying.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    Thanks for the feedback! As I expected, there seems to be no one answer to the question. I have a hunch I'll be making a couple of different styles and see what I like/dislike about them.

    Thanks again,

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,419

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    Quote Originally Posted by KPeacock View Post
    I will be tempering this steel to a low 50s on the rockwell scale to permit some prying without cracking, yet retain a sharp edge without regularly sharpening.

    So, if you you any ideas, design critiques, or even criticisms of tools you have or have used, I sincerely welcome the input
    While you're going through the trouble of tempering, you might as well take a grinder to the hook on the end. It's too wide to fit between the space of two top bars. Not sure why Maxant doesn't fix this.
    Regards, Barry

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fair Grove,MO,USA
    Posts
    1,664

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    I don't think there is a Best hive tool? It's the person using it and how they us it. Come to think of, i've never broke one.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    The hive tool was an Australian Patent in the 1930's. It is what I use and I find it great along a "good" frame gripper. There are different models, I find the thinner one made of spring steel better. A 3 or 4 inch paint scaper is good for scraping the top of the frames etc.

    Before you go the final step and get bees, just be prepared to accept the affliction you are acquiring.

    Have fun
    Geoff

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Dudley, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    Quote Originally Posted by KPeacock View Post
    So far, I am partial to the double beveled design

    http://www.leominsterbeeman.com/imag...-Hive-Tool.jpg
    I have this same tool, and I like it... EXCEPT: the scraper end is too darn sharp! I end up gouging / shaving the wood I am trying to scrape!
    I use the cheapest "standard" tool for my scraping needs, and this tool for the nice frame lifter on one end.

    -- Steven

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Plantsville, Ct.
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    Kris,
    I agree with Indy as to whatever your doing at the moment indentifies what is the most important tool. Wish you the best.
    You sound like me last winter. I made my own tools also and I'm glad I did. I made my 'Maxant' tool from A-2 tool steel, hardened to 50-60rc, ground the blades, broke the edges and then flash chromed it. I painted the top half with some red enamel paint which really stands out nicely. (def. makes it easier to spot in the grass) I made the tip of the hook end smaller so that I have no issues getting between & under the frames. In my opinion there is no need to temper as the wood or plastic will give way before the tool will.
    Besides this tool, having a standard hive tool that is thin enough to easily get between the boxes is necessary. This one I would harden and then temper as I use this for more heavy prying.
    Enjoy!!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
    Posts
    1,245

    Default Re: what makes the best hive tool the best?

    I have several hive tools. I don't know where any are except the KW tool from Kelleys. If I lose it I will replace it quickly. In case no one knows it was developed by Kent Williams here in Ky. Thus KW tool. It was exclusive to Kelleys for a while. It is by far the best I've used.
    So much to learn, so little time!!

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