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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,557

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Nice job on the kelley style wedge. I have just been making the whole bottom wedged, but I think I try that method next month when I need to make more bars.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    I want to make some like the kind you buy from Backyardhive.com.

    triangle-top-bars_1.jpg

    Any tips?

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,057

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Top Bar View Post
    I want to make some like the kind you buy from Backyardhive.com. Any tips?
    Those look easier than the Kelley style. Four cuts versus six. But I doubt the attachment is as strong.

    Does anyone have pictures comparing the comb attachment to different styles of cuts? That would steer us to the best style to use.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Yes, I have been doing some more reading and have read everything from just putting a line of melted wax on the bars to hanging a couple inches of wax foundation to using the wood wedge bars. And pics would be greatly appreciated.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,557

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    I make mine very similar to the backyard hives stlye, but I don't make the wedge as deep anymore. At first I made them at 45 degrees, but then I got to thinking about how far that is into the hive, and I really noticed how heavy they were when I put them in a swarm box. Since then I made them shallower, around 30 degrees, I just eyeball it to see how it looks. I've read someplace that the angle of the comb is 13 degrees downward. I was thinking that maybe that would be a good way to go after they start pulling straight, since it would have a lot of attachment at the bar. The next bunch I make I'm going to make a few like that.

    Interestingly when the bees start pulling comb they always start at the lowest point and it comes down perfectly straight with the guide, but if the previous comb is a bit wonky they mirror it, so no matter what you use for a comb guide you have watch your new comb, or swap empties in between straight comb.

    As far as tips, I make mine usually from 2x8's if I'm in a hurry, or if I'm bored I'll make some from 2x4. When I'm making them from 2x8s I cut the length of the bar (19 inches for me) on a chop saw, then I do a cut at 45 degrees that will be the part of the end. Then I end cut with a home made tenon jig the end. That completes the tang on the end of the bars. I then rip them to 1 and a quarter inches. The last part is the wedge. What I do is put the blade at approximately 30 degrees or so and then I setup the cut using a featherboard. Run it through, flip it, run it through and it is done. This method does produce a ton of scrap wedges that go into a burn pile. When I'm making bars from 2x4s I chop the 2x4 to length and then I rip it to a little over an inch, giving me three pieces per 19 inch section. Then I rip the other side to 1 1/4 inches. Cut the angled relief cut and then do the tenon cut. Last thing is the wedge. With this method you end up with less waste, but a lot more cuts. So making them from 1x8s is a bunch faster for me.

    I made a few hundred last year with a circular saw and some home made jigs. DO NOT ATTEMPT!!! I got horrible tennis elbow from it. Knowing what I know now, I would say that if you don't have access to a table saw just buy them, or watch craigslist. I got a great deal on a decent job site saw. I was warned to get a table saw last year but didn't listen.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by tomcheetoh View Post
    Hello all,
    I have just built a top bar hive body out of a plastic drum, reclaimed lumber and a table top. Now I need to make top bars. I am waiting on a book I ordered on how to build hives, but I was wondering any of you fine people had any experience making your own top bars? My hive body is 23" wide, so my bars will probably be 25" long. Any tips on how to cheaply made good top bars? Thanks in advance. I have a ton of fun building this first hive, I might want to do it again.
    I pasted this in another thread. These top bars are already beefed up enough for barrel hives. By tweeking you can make them stronger or lighter. The basic method is the same for cutting them out.
    http://youtu.be/TTIV1OzcGxg
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    1,557

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colino View Post
    I pasted this in another thread. These top bars are already beefed up enough for barrel hives. By tweeking you can make them stronger or lighter. The basic method is the same for cutting them out.
    http://youtu.be/TTIV1OzcGxg
    I'm not a big fan of the pushing the stock sideways against the blade for a dado effect (speed tenon). A saw blade isn't designed to be used that way, and I need my fingers for work, but to each there own. If I were going to go that route I would replace the rip blade with a combination or crosscut blade. But if it works for you go for it.

    You may also want to go with a thinner top bar. They don't need to be an inch thick. I crush fewer bees with thinner bars, and they are still plenty strong.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    I'm not a big fan of the pushing the stock sideways against the blade for a dado effect (speed tenon). A saw blade isn't designed to be used that way, and I need my fingers for work, but to each there own. If I were going to go that route I would replace the rip blade with a combination or crosscut blade. But if it works for you go for it.

    You may also want to go with a thinner top bar. They don't need to be an inch thick. I crush fewer bees with thinner bars, and they are still plenty strong.
    The top bars in the video were laid out to accommodate the long width of a barrel hive, by tweaking the settings you can make them any thickness you want. Also I have no idea why there are so many people who want to stick their fingers in the saw blades on this forum.
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  9. #29
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,557

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Like mom always said "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye!"

    I've seen a few mangled hands. I'm interested in keeping my fingers.

    Hey, at least you left the riving knife in place.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    Like mom always said "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye!"

    I've seen a few mangled hands. I'm interested in keeping my fingers.

    Hey, at least you left the riving knife in place.
    It's just that I worked all my career with machines that could cut hands off. I have seen a hand stuck in a metal break and bent to 90 degrees, and a hand smashed under a rail but these were always by novices or people not accustomed to powerful machinery. If a person is afraid of the equipment they are usually the ones who get hurt. The trick is to respect the machine and always know where your hands are in relation to moving parts.
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  11. #31
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    1,557

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    My experience has been that it is the folks most comfortable are the ones who get hurt. The more you use anything the greater the odds of getting hurt by it.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,742

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    > The more you use anything the greater the odds of getting hurt by it.

    The crash statistics regarding "new" automobile drivers vs "seasoned" drivers certainly do not support that view!
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #33
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    1,557

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    True! But that has a lot more to do with age. Rarely will you find a boy under 25 make a good decision. That's also why young woman pay less for insurance then men, yet arguably they usually have less relevant experience than young men based on other vehicles they may have driven (go-carts, ATVs, motorcycles, etc).

    The more miles you drive the greater the odds of having an accident. The longer you play with fire...

  14. #34
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    My experience has been that it is the folks most comfortable are the ones who get hurt. The more you use anything the greater the odds of getting hurt by it.
    Yes especially at repeated tasks, if you're making 100 top bars you could eventually lose focus and run a hand through the saw.
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Crivitz, WI
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Last summer I made 300 top bars, and 350 comb guides. I was using my buddies really, really nice table saw instead of my old work site table saw. Using my buddies table saw was so sweet it was almost a sexual experience of smoothness!!!! I had to keep telling myself to focus on not loosing a finger or two!!!! I still have all my fingers!

  16. #36
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan151 View Post
    Last summer I made 300 top bars, and 350 comb guides. I was using my buddies really, really nice table saw instead of my old work site table saw. Using my buddies table saw was so sweet it was almost a sexual experience of smoothness!!!! I had to keep telling myself to focus on not loosing a finger or two!!!! I still have all my fingers!
    Keeping all your fingers is always a plus!
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,785

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    I think I've done them all. Most of them work. I've done just bars with no guide at all and fed them between the drawn brood comb with just as good of luck. Or if there is a good straight comb to start, you can do all bars with no guides as long as you keep a close watch. "Nothing" works just as well as the "bead of wax" method so I don't see any point in the "beed of wax" method at all. Niether one of those ("nothing" or "bead of wax") is very realiable UNLESS you have some drawn comb to work with. A small beveled piece of wood works ok. More bevel works better. I think the bevel is the strongest attachment as far as the comb not breaking off. A strip of wood works ok. Probably anything over 3/4" is too much. Probably anything under 1/4" is too little. I've waxed them by dipping in hot wax and by rubbing wax on, but without wax they make better attachments. The dipped wax sometimes fell off on a hot day even before they built comb on it and sometimes it came loose from the wood when they had comb on it. The problem is it's not attached well enough. Maybe if you heated the wood first it would suck the wax up into it, but I don't see any point in the wax. When I first did the bevel, I started a the angle of the cell thinking that was the reason they followed it, but experinmentation showed that the steeper the angle the better they followed it. I make mine 45% (the point of the bevel is a 90%, the slope to that point is 45 degrees on each side). I have one Goldstar hive that Christy gave me. I put bees in it about five years ago and have seldom had time to mess with them since (out of the country and then speaking). I've been clear through it three times in that five years. The bees followed the guides VERY well and only one comb was spanning two bars. Those bevels are steeper than 45 degrees. I never measured them, so I can't say what they are for sure.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Last season was my first, so take my input for what it is worth. I used 1 inch thick x 2 inch Furring strips they measure 1.5 inches wide. I cut them to length, and since I did not have access to a table saw, I just used wood glue to attach 1/4 inch dowel material down the center of each. I had only 1 comb drawn a little crooked out of 20. I made all my bars the same width and did not have any problems with comb off center.

    KB

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Lizard Creek, Louisiana
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    Who's using Popsicle(Craft Sticks) as a guide for their top bars?

  20. #40
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,557

    Default Re: How to build cheap top bars.

    I have some bars that a basically the same as craft sticks, maybe just a little bit thicker by not much. They work fine. I had a need last year for a few hundred and I wanted to see how they were and if they would work in my boxes. They were fine, but the Scotch in me wouldn't let me spend the $600 it would have cost to purchase what I needed. So I just made them myself. I made that batch with a circular saw and some jigs. I paid for them many times over in pain, I got really bad tennis elbow in both elbows. After that I bought a table saw from Craigslist.

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