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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Lawrence, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Folks,
    I'm new, so if this is a stupid question please forgive me. I've searched the internet over, as well as this forum, and I have a question regarding medium supers that I cannot find an answer for.

    I'm wanting to use all medium equipment. I've read posts/articles from folks that have the same types of winters I do here in NE Kansas, and they like a standard size to streamline equipment needs, and they affirm that mediums can work well overwintering bees. I like everything I've read. I'm fairly handy, and I'd like to build some medium boxes to save money. The plans I've found for mediums have the height as 6 5/8 inches. Is this some scientifically studied height, or does it perhaps derive from a former standard wood cut of some sort?

    I've got lumber that measures 7 1/4 inches, and Id love to use it as is, if possible (not rip 5/8 off of it, no table saw). If the 6 5/8 inch number is critical for overwintering or something, Id love to know why. Thanks for any information you experienced folks could share here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,287

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Yes, the 6 5/8" height is critical. Your medium frames will measure 6 1/4" from top to bottom. That will give you a 3/8" gap between frames when your boxes are stacked, a correct bee space. A gap wider than that will cause the bees to build comb between the frames and you will have a mess.

    If you cut a frame rest that is 5/8" deep from the top of the box you will have about 1/4" gap between the top of the frame when it is in place, to the top edge of the box. The bottom of the frame will be about 1/8" short of the bottom of the box. Combined you have about 3/8" gap between the boxes when stacked.


    This will give you a little background on bee space.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langstroth_hive


    Last edited by Mike Gillmore; 12-31-2013 at 12:21 PM.
    To everything there is a season....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    It will be had for you to build a box without some kind of power woodworking tool that can also rip the boards. You could rip them using a skillsaw with a fence, or a skillsaw with a jig, or a router or??? As I drive around I see table saws in many garages, no friend or neighbor you could go to?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    What matters is that the frames fit the box. The frames should be between 1/4" and 3/8" less than the depth of the box. A standard medium frame, as Mike pointed out, is 6 1/4" and it goes in a 6 5/8" box. If you are making all your own boxes and all your own frames, then you can make the boxes 7 1/4" and the frames between 7" and 6 7/8" and they will work fine.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Spanish Fork, UT, USA
    Posts
    337

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    It doesn't matter the exact size of the box and frames. What I have found that helps in the long run is making sure your equipment is the same size. In the future, if you ever plan on purchasing frames of boxes from another source than I would recommend staying with the conventional dimensions. If you always plan on building your own equipment than go ahead and use the 7 1/4" wood.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,287

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    I don't think he even has a table saw yet. Constructing frames with a circular saw might pose a real challenge. Under the current circumstances I think it would be much easier for him to just rip the excess material from the boards and be done with it, stick with traditional medium frames.
    To everything there is a season....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,099

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Yes. I would make them standard size either deeps or mediums. In the long run deeps are the cheapest per volume, less frames/boxes per volume, faster, quicker, less cuts etc. If honey wasn't so heavy everyone would run deeps only.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    I don't think he even has a table saw yet.
    LOLOL You guys crack me up! Has nobody here watched Gibbs building his famous boats using no power tools?!? I'm not THAT good because I do use a router. But otherwise I use hand tools. No, it's not as easy or as fast as you table saw lovers, but my boxes are just as good. I do buy all my frames. But I build deeps, IPM bottom boards, hive top covers, feeders, etc and I do it without using any power tools other than my router for the frame rests. It CAN be done. It just isn't very fast. But then, I'm in no rush--I'm retired!



    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,957

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    > no table saw.

    Craigslist is a good place to remedy that ailment! Here are a couple of affordable possibilities:

    seems to be nearby:
    $100 > http://lawrence.craigslist.org/tls/4261617262.html

    further to drive:
    $125 > http://kansascity.craigslist.org/tls/4219158467.html

    If you don't regularly monitor Craigslist, bargains may get past you. You can use a free tool like IFTTT to monitor Craigslist and alert you when listings meeting your search criteria are posted.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,593

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm View Post
    Has nobody here watched Gibbs building his famous boats using no power tools?
    Gibbs is also building that boat in a cellar with no way to get it out.
    5Y-25H-T-Z6b

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Collinsville, VA
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Direct Tools Outlet has some killer deals sometimes too. I picked up a factory reconditioned Ryobi 10" table saw (with stand) a few months ago for about $150.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Lawrence, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Quote Originally Posted by bbruff22 View Post
    Folks,
    I'm new, so if this is a stupid question please forgive me. I've searched the internet over, as well as this forum, and I have a question regarding medium supers that I cannot find an answer for.

    I'm wanting to use all medium equipment. I've read posts/articles from folks that have the same types of winters I do here in NE Kansas, and they like a standard size to streamline equipment needs, and they affirm that mediums can work well overwintering bees. I like everything I've read. I'm fairly handy, and I'd like to build some medium boxes to save money. The plans I've found for mediums have the height as 6 5/8 inches. Is this some scientifically studied height, or does it perhaps derive from a former standard wood cut of some sort?

    I've got lumber that measures 7 1/4 inches, and Id love to use it as is, if possible (not rip 5/8 off of it, no table saw). If the 6 5/8 inch number is critical for overwintering or something, Id love to know why. Thanks for any information you experienced folks could share here.
    Folks,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post. I just got done reading "First Lessons in Beekeeping," but I don't think I've got my mind around bee space as it relates to one box on top of another yet. I will revisit that for sure. I don't want to make my own frames, so I need to stick to the standards and probably need to buy a decent table saw if I want to build proper boxes.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,287

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Below is a diagram that I hope might help you see where the "bee space" is critical in the hive. Your target is 3/8".
    1) The gap between the end bars, and the inside of the box.
    2) The gap between the top of a frame, and the bottom of the frame stacked above it.

    If the gaps are much wider then 3/8" they will build comb in that space, where you don't want comb to be. If the gap is less than 1/4" they will propolize the gap shut, creating another undesirable condition.


    Beespace.jpg
    To everything there is a season....

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA, USA
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    doing wood working is great, if you have time and inclination. But if you are starting with 2 or 3 hives you might get started in beekeeping by ordering unassembled equipment from somewhere like MannLake. then you'll have real patterns to look at if you decide to build your own.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Gibbs is also building that boat in a cellar with no way to get it out.
    I am just trying to point out that it is not necessary to have a woodworking shop and a bunch of expensive tools. The hobbyist can build what he needs with hand tools, just like Langstroth likely did with his original hive design. It IS a viable way to get started. Decide that you actually LIKE keeping bees before you put out for that table saw and all the rest of the power trip.

    (Oh, and Gibbs must have gotten that boat out somehow. After all, it did wind up in Mexico at one point and in Abby's evidence locker at another! )



    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
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    438

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Gibbs is also building that boat in a cellar with no way to get it out.
    He is waiting for the big flood.
    Less than 8 months, 5, opps 4.5 Langs, and treatment style not decided yet

  17. #17

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    Yes, the 6 5/8" height is critical. Your medium frames will measure 6 1/4" from top to bottom. That will give you a 3/8" gap between frames when your boxes are stacked, a correct bee space. A gap wider than that will cause the bees to build comb between the frames and you will have a mess.

    [/URL]
    I find 2/8" bee space far better than 3/8". If you are a beginner and planning what kind of equipment you should build, I highly recommend it. I have used it for 30 years and only positive things to say. Well, if you are using wooden frames and washing them with 100 C steam, 1-2% of the frames will get twisted so when the bee space is less than normal, these frames might be caught to each other. Thats the only negative thing. (Some frames twist inside, and smaller bee space is an advantage.)

    When other beekeepers come for a visit, and they see how easy it is for me to take apart my boxes, they are astonished.
    Treatment free, honey production, isolation mated queens, www.saunalahti.fi/lunden/varroakertomus.htm

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,477

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Gibbs is also building that boat in a cellar with no way to get it out.
    Not to mention Jethro Leroy Gibbs is a fictional character on a TV Show. Nothing he does has to make any sense.

    Seems like making boxes bigger than 6 5/8" because that's the size lumber you have defeats the purpose of using all mediums. To cut down on weight one needs to lift.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  19. #19
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    2,608

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm View Post
    LOLOL You guys crack me up! Has nobody here watched Gibbs building his famous boats using no power tools?!?
    Famous Boats! Just where exactly is one of these boats? Even the character you are talking about is fictional.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Medium Supers...Is 6 5/8 height critical?

    Yeash. Doesn't ANYBODY have a sense of humor anymore?!?

    Okay, I'll be grouchy like you guys: "Power tools are a frivolous expense and bee equipment can be built with hand tools and a little muscle. So stop being lazy and wasting electricity and money on that sissy stuff!" There. Does that fit the grumpiness level of this forum better?

    Double yeash!!



    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

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