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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    26

    Lightbulb New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    I had some scrap 2x4's laying around and using the dadant type plans decided to see if I could make some frames.

    The winter is long here in Utah, so I thought I would at least try.

    I am not a skilled carpenter - but decided to buy a table-saw off the classifieds and have a go at it.

    What I am worried about is bee spacing people are talking about. You'll see on the side bars, the curves are pretty ugly.

    Here are pictures of mine against a commercial frame.

    Mine is on the left:



    Note the spacing on the side bar:



    and again here:



    One of my mediums:



    ugly, i know:



    way off....sorry



    Do you guys think these will work ok? They sit in the boxes just fine....they top and bottom bars are sitting correctly, and the foundation fits in them very nicely.

    I hope they'll be ok!

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,576

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    -I think they will work fine. The bees certainly won't care. The point of removing the lower part of the frame ends is to reduce the opportunity for the bees to propolize the lower part of the frames together. If you get at least 1/4" space between the lower part of the ends, you will have achieved that part.

    If you are just using a regular saw blade to make your dado cuts (notches), I recommend investing in a set of dado blades (a pair of end blades with a set of cutters). If you are already using dado blades, investigate making a jig to hold the blanks in a consistent position relative to the blade. Also, while using glue will be slower in assembly, it will strengthen the frames and fill some of the gaps.

    Personally, I use Titebond II and one top staple for top bars.

    In the long run, you may consider acquiring a used jointer, if you have the space and some spare cash. It will make the cutting of consistent reliefs in the bar end much easier and faster.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    http://randalcarr.com/workshop/2012/...ames-end-bars/

    nice link showing a jig to cut end bars

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    648

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    You did a great job and your frames will work super.

    Congratulations you saved 80 cents.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    great! Thanks. I was wondering why that gap was designed as such.

    I made 100 of them - so realizing I only saved 80 bucks or so. . . .it was a fun project. Will I do it again? Probably not. But I learned a lot and again - was fun.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,576

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    There is no need for snarky remarks about saving 80 cents.

    If Dmaddox is building frames from scrap lumber, quite likely he is also building boxes. Build several hundred frames, along with a couple of dozen boxes, and you have saved hundreds of dollars. Build some Miller style feeders, some bottom and top boards, and you saved several hundred more dollars!

    Building woodenware is not for everyone, but if you have the time and inclination do do so, why not do it. There are plenty of uses for the money saved in many other areas of beekeeping.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    dmaddox, I build my own and it is very satisfying. Great job! RS is right. You will save a ton of cash. If you have the time why not spend a little of it on building homes for the bees? Especially during the winter.

    All the best.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    Ihave found that it is easier to cut the grooves before you rip the individual end bars out though

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    246

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    There is no need for snarky remarks about saving 80 cents.

    If Dmaddox is building frames from scrap lumber, quite likely he is also building boxes. Build several hundred frames, along with a couple of dozen boxes, and you have saved hundreds of dollars. Build some Miller style feeders, some bottom and top boards, and you saved several hundred more dollars!

    Building woodenware is not for everyone, but if you have the time and inclination do do so, why not do it. There are plenty of uses for the money saved in many other areas of beekeeping.
    Absolutely agree. I'm still a newbie, only 6 years beekeeping. Personally I like saving money! $.80 may not seem like much, but it all adds up, besides for me building all my own stuff is part of the fun of beekeeping.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    Quote Originally Posted by R Dewhurst View Post
    Ihave found that it is easier to cut the grooves before you rip the individual end bars out though
    Absolutely! I learned a few shortcuts along the way. Trying to run end bars by the 5-8 over a dado blade is no fun.

    Great point!

    -dallas

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lee County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    Quote Originally Posted by dmaddox View Post
    I am not a skilled carpenter - but decided to buy a table-saw off the classifieds and have a go at it.
    I think they look pretty good, especially considering your disclaimer.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,444

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    You did a great job and your frames will work super.

    Congratulations you saved 80 cents.

    For the 80 cents I think I would rather have the ML frame on the right. Couple of reason. The joints are way to loose for longevity. See bottom board. Secondly..... the use of wood containing knots is a waste of time. All the breakage and twisting that occurs with the use of third grade wood is not worth the price of the frame in the long run. If you gave them away for free I would not use them in my operation. Not a chance. If you would tighten them up and use clear wood I would give them a second look. Otherwise forget it. Being convinced to part with the next thirty years of my life during which I will have to interact with poor equipment is a hard sell be it free or not. Beekeeping is fraught with enough evils to even consider self induced headaches. Going cheap in the short run only precedes perpetual migraines in the long one when it comes to junky equipment.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,576

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    Dmaddox, I wouldn't pay too much attention to Honey-4-All's comments. He seems to have an odd outlook on life.

    Consider that besides keeping bees, he also grows almonds commercially. And when a Beesource member bought up the subject of growing sales of almond milk - obviously made from almonds, this was his response ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post
    Is that a serious question? If you can name three people who you know who drink that stuff I can easily call you a hippy or a liberal.
    What is the point of insulting one's customers?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    oh snap.....i guess i'll go buy some almond milk.

    Seriously though - I'm not easily offended. I wanted people's opinions and I am receiving them! If a dude wants to be a dbag over the quality of a homemade frame....meh, whatever.

    I'll try these frames in the bait boxes I've built while drinking a glass of almond milk. :-)

    Thanks guys!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    648

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    You did a great job for your 1st batch.

    I've made thousands of frames because I can't buy what I like, but I haven't saved a dime building them.

    I only build them because I'm married and not good at golfs.



    Better savings can be had making BB, lids, Inner-covers, and nucs. A little money can be made on boxes, but not much.

    Don

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    648

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    Trick to making frame sides nice, neat, and fast is you:

    start with 2 x 10's or 2 x 12" (clean salvaged scraps are fine)

    -Run them through a thickness planner to get the stock down to 1 3/8" thick.
    -Cut them to length (9 1/8" for deeps, 6 1/4" for mediums)
    -Run the wide pieces across your dado setups across the end grain for the top and bottom bar slots
    -Use a jointer to narrow the bottom halves of the frames
    -Use a band saw to cut off the individual frame sides like a meat slicer

    1 - 2x12x8' yields 250 deep frame sides or 375 medium frame sides.

    Not hard to make 500 frames worth (1000 ends) in a day.


    Still better to spend your time doing absolutly almost anything else.

    Don

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,576

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    > I only build them because I'm married and not good at golf.

    If you count all the money you didn't spend on golf, you save thousands of dollars by building your own woodenware!

    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,540

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    There is not a huge savings in making your own frames, but you can make very good ones, better than available commercially, and you are not limited to standard sizes, either.

    I've been making my end bars a full 3/8" thick -- you'd be amazed at how much stronger they are with that 1/16" more wood on the ends. A band saw helps save wood, but a table saw works great, you only lose one end bar per 2x6 chunk, hardly a real waste.

    I do agree, though, that you should avoid end bars with knots. Knots are quite weak, and make the frame much more likely to break, and you know when that will happen, don't you? When it's gonna cause the most trouble!

    Nice frames, the bees will love them, and in a few years you probably won't be able to tell them from factory ones.

    If you want to stick with this, a dado set is invaluable. Make your end bars the width of the slot in the top bars, and the frames are VERY strong. Takes a bit of fiddling, and you really have to make large numbers to gain much, but it's fun, the bees are happy, and you have a pile of frame parts ready when you need a box full.

    Boxes are less fun, but if you are careful, equally good and much cheaper than commercial. I don't count my time, as this is a hobby and I'd be cleaning and fixing watches or spinning fiber to weave with otherwise.

    Peter

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,010

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    To me a dato blade is a PITA to set up on a table saw for a few pieces. It is more apt to blow out scrap wood like spruce from 2 X4's. I would rather set up the fence to cut the extremities and then clear out the middle with a router or the table saw depending on numbers. I am wondering what would be the harm if you didn't narrow down the end bars towards the bottom.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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

    Default Re: New beekeeper - made my own frames, will they work?

    my only issues is the staples in the first picture. be careful when stapling twice on that top bar. see where they go to the edge ? that is a sever weak spot and most likely your frame ears are gonna break off. but great job....i need to learn how to make frames ! ill do them by the hundreds and have 2 hives dedicated to drawing them out ! great idea !

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