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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Phoenix, OR
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    38

    Default Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Construction site near me was tossing some perfectly good lumber the other day so I helped myself to the pile and have managed to construct several items to use around the farm with it.

    Today, I built a top bar hive. Measures 14 inches wide at the top (interior measurement), 9 inches deep, and 47 inches long. One inch plywood for the bottom and sides and the ends are a couple 2x6's on one side and a broken 2x12 on the other. Found a couple the same length, so I had to do no cutting for this build. I even used recycled screws to assemble it because I am too cheap and lazy to drive to the home depot for more.

    All I need now are some top bars and a cover. May have to bite the bullet and actually spend 5 bucks on the lumber for the top bars.

    Here are some photos:





    See my Lang in the background?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
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    152

    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Looks pretty good

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
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    127

    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Looks good, my only comment is you need the "ends" to be an inch higher then the sides, so when you put the cover on, it will not move or disturb the bars

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
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    1,018

    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenzero View Post
    Looks good, my only comment is you need the "ends" to be an inch higher then the sides, so when you put the cover on, it will not move or disturb the bars
    no you don't mine works just fine like that one I leave the end bar set back just a little for a top entrance

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Casey, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Go back to the construction site and see if they have any grade stakes they are precut 1_1/4 wide and all you have to do is put 1/4 in spacers on honey bars

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Phoenix, OR
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    38

    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    Go back to the construction site and see if they have any grade stakes they are precut 1_1/4 wide and all you have to do is put 1/4 in spacers on honey bars
    Good idea. Will stop by on Monday when the foreman is around. He has been pretty cool with letting me haul away their garbage.

    So far I have made a few rabbit nesting boxes, chicken nest boxes, some chicken roosts, flower boxes, repaired a fence and a bee hive. Not bad for a pile of trash.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Lowes sells some "1x2" slats that are a lot closer to 3/4"x1.25-1.5" in my estimation...and super cheap; I'm sure they'd do in a pinch, just might have to put in a little extra effort keeping the bees building their combs where you want them

    Also, just FYI, that box seems a little small to me, so you may have to manage it a bit more actively to prevent swarms, and to get a honey harvest. It doesn't look "too small," just "a bit on the small side" defo not bad for "trash" though, huh?


    P.S. I ran a couple calculations, it's plenty big for overwintering, I'm sure....just kinda smallish for peak flow times

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Robherc,

    What numbers were you using for your calculations on honey flow and wintering? That is a ~4 ft box and the depth and width are not too far off from other published sizes. I am asking as I am starting some top bars after only ever having langs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Phoenix, OR
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by robherc View Post
    Lowes sells some "1x2" slats that are a lot closer to 3/4"x1.25-1.5" in my estimation...and super cheap; I'm sure they'd do in a pinch, just might have to put in a little extra effort keeping the bees building their combs where you want them

    Also, just FYI, that box seems a little small to me, so you may have to manage it a bit more actively to prevent swarms, and to get a honey harvest. It doesn't look "too small," just "a bit on the small side" defo not bad for "trash" though, huh?


    P.S. I ran a couple calculations, it's plenty big for overwintering, I'm sure....just kinda smallish for peak flow times
    Yeah, I was thinking that it was a bit on the shallow side. Most designs I see are a couple inches deeper, maybe a couple wider depending on what site you are looking at. Figured it would require more visits during the peak season and a little planning to overwinter with no problems, but from what I have been reading that is the nature of TBH's anyway.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2012
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    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    1,310

    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbackotter View Post
    What numbers were you using for your calculations on honey flow and wintering? That is a ~4 ft box and the depth and width are not too far off from other published sizes. I am asking as I am starting some top bars after only ever having langs.
    Honestly, for that one I didn't write any numbers down...just built a visual image of it in my mind & compared to my 24"x19"x11.5" (19" wide at the top, 30degree tilt to the side walls) TBH boxes from last year...I ran the numbers on them, and they came out just SLIGHTLY larger than 2 Lang 10-frame Deeps (nearly identical, just slightly ahead), that's figuring based on square-inches of comb, fully drawn. As such, those functioned exactly as you would expect of a double-deep hive; brood on nearly every comb, needed constant maintenance during flow to avoid overcrowding swarming, but came through the winter beautifully (all except one that had issues with its lid).

    For this year, I've changed dimensions to 48"x19"x10" to relieve some of the comb collapsing I had with the 11.5" deep hives last year, and to alleviate some of the crowding, as I now have the equivalent of about 2 deeps & 2 mediums, giving the bees space to keep some stores for me to take...without having to go in & move things around every 3-4 days (hopefully)


    P.S. If you are considering anything NEAR like the "Golden Mean" design, please do a search on other threads with that in the title here on BeeSource...from what just about everyone who's used it says, the things a swarm-thrower box, and little more
    Last edited by robherc; 04-28-2013 at 12:47 PM. Reason: added PostScript

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
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    152

    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Mine are 17 "x 11" x 60". I will probably do the next ones on a 19" bar to sub into and out of a lang. We will see how they do.

  12. #12
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    Sep 2012
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    Casey, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbackotter View Post
    Mine are 17 "x 11" x 60". I will probably do the next ones on a 19" bar to sub into and out of a lang. We will see how they do.
    Langs work great for building straight comb I screwed one of my 17 in top bars to the topbar from a med frame about a week before my package arrived I pulled it and shook off all the bees and trimmed it to fit my topbar a d just pulled the screw when I installed my package the bees immediatly clustered on it , it gives the queen an immediate place to start laying and it gives a nice straight comb foe a guide

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Casper, Wyoming
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    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    Langs work great for building straight comb I screwed one of my 17 in top bars to the topbar from a med frame about a week before my package arrived .. to start laying and it gives a nice straight comb foe a guide
    I was thinking the same thing but I don't have any Langs right now as I have had a long hiatus from keeping. I did cheat and split a few top bars and put small cell foundation in them.

    Hank

  14. #14
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    Sep 2012
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    Casey, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    If your bees are anything like mine I would put empty bars between the foundation my bees will not touch foundation until all empty spaces are filled I thought about cutting plastic foundation in the shape of the follower board only smaller to allow for bee space and put them in every other bar once they get at least one empty bar completely full then replace the bars with foundation with empties

  15. #15
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    Feb 2013
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    Casper, Wyoming
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    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    ...my bees will not touch foundation until all empty spaces are filled I thought about cutting plastic foundation in the shape of the follower board only smaller to allow for bee space and put them in every other bar once they get at least one empty bar completely full then replace the bars with foundation with empties
    Interesting. I cut them some foundation with an 8" x 4" trapezoid I was going to give each 4 of these stacked next to one another and have 4 other bars with molding comb guides. This would give them 8 total bars to start on. You think I should alternate the foundation and comb guides?

    Hijacking the post a bit, sorry.


    Hank

  16. #16
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    Sep 2012
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    Casey, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Scrap wood Top Bar Hive

    I would when I added my starter bar to my Lang to have them build for my tbh it was placed when I added a new box of foundation and they built it out in 4 days and now a week and a half later they still haven't hardly touched the foundation

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