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Thread: Starter Strips

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Vermontville, Michigan
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    101

    Default Starter Strips

    I've decided to delve into the Top Bar world, and I've got my package ordered and am going to start work on my TBH shortly. I'm wondering about the starter strips for the bars, wondering what people use when you make your own. I like to build as much as I can rather than buy, but is buying top bars vs making them the equivalent of buying vs making frames for a Langstroth? (IE: Not worth the time compared to the cost?) I know it'll be easy to cut the bars themselves, but its the starter strips that I'm really wondering about. Thanks for the input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    647

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    I dont do TBH but imagine starter strips would be the same as what I do in my comb honey supers. I use thin surplus foundation. I cut 1" full length strips from the sheets. These get glued into the top bar slots. To glue them I use a small double boiler filled with wax. Dadant sell a tool called a wax tube fastener. When the wax is liquid the WTF is set in to heat up. It has to be the same temp as the wax to work. When its hot it will fill with melted wax. It has a little breather hole on the handle that when plugged with your finger the wax stays inside the tube. The starter strips are held in the inverted top bar slot while the WTF trickles out a small bead of wax to glue it in. About every 3rd or 4th frame I glue in a full sheet instead of a strip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    587

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    a lot of folks think that making frames for langs is a waste of time, and for them, they are correct. For me, I like to make things, so it satisfies a desire to build, and it also satisfies a need for frames. even if one buys in bulk, frames are about $0.75. well, a hive with two boxxes for brood, and two honey supers, requires 40 rfames. if you have two or three hives, thats 80 or 120 frames you need. I'll gladly save $100 and doing something i kinda enjoy, that supports a hobby I'm interested in. Heck, that savings just "paid" for another package/nuc of bees.

    Anyways, you don't care about that, so back to starter strips. I made up some foundationless frames to test out and used plastic foundation as a starter strip. i cut the leftover sheets to about an inch or so. I then took the top bar of the frames and ran them over the table saw to cut a small groove in them. I forget the exact width required, but I made the groove just a bit wider than the foundation...and I mean just a bit...like thousandths of an inch. I squireted a bit of titebondIII in the groove, and then pressed in the 1" strips of plastic foundation. Just in case, i rand 4 narrow crown stables through the top bar perpendiculat to the "foundation" so that they go through the top bar and foundation to mechanically secure it. This will give the beest a few cels headstarts and a nice guide to get them going with their own comb making.

    This is all just an idea though. i happened to have some extra plastic foundation sitting around, and wanted to try foundationless. I won't know if this works for a few months, so you may want to take the advice of someone more experienced. I think i have a solid plan though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    I have been able to make two TBH without virtually purchasing anything. It is usually pretty easy to find scrap wood around the neighborhood when people are throwing away furniture, etc, which is what I have done. the only item I purchased was a couple of hinges and bolts for the legs and the hinges for my window. As far as the strips, I used paint stirrers, cut in half to optimize the number of strips from each stirrer. went in to Home Depot and asked for them, no problem. otherwise you can make the strips out of any 1/8" piece of wood and router out a strip in your top bar, then glue the strip into it. works like a charm.
    thanks and good luck.
    larry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#guide
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundat...htm#whichguide

    I like most anything but the wax filled groove ok, but I prefer wood over wax as it's more permanent and doesn't get deformed easily.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Thanks everyone. I've been pretty excited about doing a TBH since last fall, and this was the missing link for me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    i've heard and read that gluing Popsicle sticks for starter strips works like a charm.

    but, i've purchased my first hive from beethinking.com and their hives come with all-in-one bars with starter strips

    See here:

    040__23941.1361479576.386.513.jpg

    my next hive will be a warre hive...but i first want to manage the horizontal top bar and see how that works.
    Zone4A
    “We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.” -Maclean

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,501

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Bob, I made some bars like thebalvenie has a photo of in the previous post. The first ones I made with my cousin on his table saw and it was pretty easy. We probably knocked out 40 or so in an hour, maybe less than that. The next batch I made with a circular saw and a few home made jigs. I made 150 and it took me probably 20 times longer, plus the time to make the jigs. Word of advice, if you don't have access to a table saw and you want bars with a wedge in them, purchase them.

    I have seen some folks that use strips of coroplast as starter strips in lang frames. That should work fine in a top bar hive as well. I may try that for the next batch of bars.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    320

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Look in the trim section in the lumber dept. at a big box store. There are lots of cove moldings, etc. some of which are the perfect shape to glue under the top bar as a starter strip--cheap and easy.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Quote Originally Posted by thenance007 View Post
    Look in the trim section in the lumber dept. at a big box store. There are lots of cove moldings, etc. some of which are the perfect shape to glue under the top bar as a starter strip--cheap and easy.
    This is how I do mine - a bit of molding, a few panel pins and glue. Simple as pie...................
    Cheers
    Rob

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    We use bars as shown on this link. They're a little harder to make, and you have to have a table saw, but they worked better than other versions we tried.

    lyonsvillefletcher.blogspot.com/2009/03/top-bar-pictorial.html

    There is a top bar hive powerpoint presentation at this link and this type bar is shown in the presentation.

    http://honeysunapiary.wordpress.com/tbh-warre/
    Last edited by SteveBee; 03-06-2013 at 10:29 AM. Reason: add info

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    1,501

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    SteveBee, that is the way that I made them on a table saw as well, but when we made the wedge cut we made it with the wood over top of the blade. The safest way would be to use a sled to hold the work.

    It is very fast to do on a table saw. I'll probably make a few hundred more, but I'll wait until I can get some cheap good wood. The results from the circular saw are almost identical, but it is too labor intensive to recommend to anyone. I would like to have a table saw, but I got spoiled by my cousins high end job site saw, and I can't afford a $500 saw.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    @ steve

    these ones?

    warre_topbars01a.jpg
    Zone4A
    “We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.” -Maclean

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    1,501

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Nice bars, but those bars would be a lot of work for a Warre. With a Warre you don't care how they pull comb (at least that is the way I understand it) so I wouldn't use a wedge.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,359

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    I would like to have a table saw, but I got spoiled by my cousins high end job site saw, and I can't afford a $500 saw.
    As Cleo Hogan has pointed out several times, Craigslist has lots of decent tablesaws for sale. Here's a couple from Roanoke:

    A $60 Delta benchtop:
    http://roanoke.craigslist.org/tls/3615881970.html

    Or a full size Craftsman with wheels at $200
    http://roanoke.craigslist.org/tls/3656143722.html

    Lots more choices ...
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Nope, thebalvenie. Those are what I made for a Warre. The ones we used for the TBH are cut from a single piece of 2X scrap. They're shown as a slide on the Powerpoint presentation on the TBH/Warre tab on our site. The Warre top bars are small v-shaped pieces nailed on to the main bar.


    Shannonswyatt- - we never could get our state apiarist to tell us if the Warre is even legal where we live. So, we want to make the combs as "removable" as possible, since this will be the sticking point. With that being said, I want them to build the straight and on the strip, which makes them easy to remove (using a bread knife) if required.

    Shannonswyatt - -You are correct that making a sled would make it much safer to make the top bars. It's risky business with that blade sticking up at an angle. I used a strong push-bar while cutting.

  17. #17
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    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Like I said, I got spoiled by my cousins sweet Bosch jobsite saw. I know how I am. If I buy something that is ok I will cuss it every time I use it until I replace it with what I really want. Right now my play money is tied up on some other stuff, but if I came across something like a Bosch for a couple hundred I would be all over it.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,501

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBee View Post
    Shannonswyatt - -You are correct that making a sled would make it much safer to make the top bars. It's risky business with that blade sticking up at an angle. I used a strong push-bar while cutting.
    Yes, there really isn't a cost savings if you lose your thumb!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    arnoldsville, ga
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Here is an old vid I did about this very same thing and it worked great,,, do not make the problem harder than it needs to be.....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiBp0YiXpII

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Starter Strips

    Fantastic ideas, everyone. I'm not sure which route I'm going to go yet, but I appreciate all the input.

    I've got a table saw that I bought off of Craigslist, and it works out okay for me for small jobs. For the precise or really nice things, I borrow my father-in-law's shop, which comes complete with some very nice high end tools, and a master craftsman to help me out too. I'm still waiting and saving for my expensive, nice cabinet saw, but the cheap-o from Craigslist has allowed me to get an awful lot done that I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.

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