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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Newnan, Georgia
    Posts
    4

    Default Plans and dimensions for top bar hive follower boards

    Hello everyone! This is my first post here. I had a hive of bees in a Langstroth back in 1985 when I was 16. I have always wanted to get back to beekeeping and I am at a place where I can do that now. My questions are about how to make a Chandler style hive using the dimensions posted on the Bush Farms website.

    I am going to be using the parts list from the Bush farms website using 15" top bars. I have been looking at Phil Chandler's plans and he shows how to make follower boards to fit his hive dimensions. How do I change the measurements to make follower boards that will fit Bushs' hive dimensions (15" top bars and is 46 1/2" long)?

    Phil's instructions are to make a mark across the top edge at at 15", and another mark at 7 1/2". Next he instructs to draw a center line and measure 2 1/2" on either side of the center line. To make follower boards that will fit in the Michael Bush example, how far from the center line do I make my marks?

    Phil also states that you can use an 11" or 12" board (top to bottom) for the followers. I will be using a single piece. How wide (top to bottom) does the follower board have to be to fit in the Bush hive?

    It's great to have a forum like this to ask questions and share information. I'm glad to be a part of it!

    Sincerely,

    Mark Tillis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,501

    Default Re: Plans and dimensions for top bar hive follower boards

    Honestly I found it easy to just use 1x12s on the side and a 1x8 for the bottom, and to cut the bottoms so you get the angle you are looking for. I use 120 degrees, so I cut a 30 degree angle on each board and glue them up. with this setup I end up with 19 inch bars with about a 1 inch tang on each end. of the bar.

    I made my first hive first, then I made the bars.

    Some folks say to make a follower board first and then build the hive based on that. But for me the available lumber drives the dimensions.

    Don't sweat this too much, the main thing when making them is to be able to make them the same each time. The bees won't be measuring the angles!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,323

    Default Re: Plans and dimensions for top bar hive follower boards

    Welcome to Beesource!

    > How do I change the measurements to make follower boards that will fit Bushs' hive dimensions ...

    Make the hive per Mr Bush's plans, but use screws to attach one of the end boards instead of nails. Then run a pencil mark around the inside corners of the end board (where the sides meet the end). Now remove the screws from the end board and cut it based on the pencil marks. Attach a new board for the TBH end.
    Graham
    -- The real problem is not precise language, it's clear language. - Richard Feynman

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Default Re: Plans and dimensions for top bar hive follower boards

    Screw the end on with a piece of cardboard between the end and the sides. Cut the cardboard to fit. Take the screws out and remove the scraps of cardboard...

    Cardboard is hard to beat for a template for anything...

    Another option is just cut three ends instead of two. Screw both ends on and mark one (as per Rader Sidetrack's instructions) and remove it and cut it for the follower. Attach the other left over end and you are done...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Newnan, Georgia
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Plans and dimensions for top bar hive follower boards

    Thank you everyone for your helpful answers. I'm still trying to decide on the hive length. I'm leaning toward the five foot hive, but no larger than that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Exeter, WI
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Plans and dimensions for top bar hive follower boards

    If you didn't make the follower boards before making the hives, you can do what I did. Measure how wide the top is. Measure how wide the bottom is. Measure how deep the hive is from the floor to the bars.

    I used styrofoam insulation as a template to be sure it fit before cutting wood, but cardboard would work well, too. Of course I see no reason that my styrofoam one can't be used as well and I plan to cut a space on the bottom to use with a boardman feeder.

    Then you draw a center line to use as your starting point. Draw a top line that is the depth of the hive above the bottom. Measure half the width to each side of the center line at both the top and bottom. Use a straight edge to draw the outside edges. Works like a charm.

    In theory you could calculate the width of the top and bottom by subtracting the width of the boards, but once it's built, it's easier to just measure.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Exeter, WI
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Plans and dimensions for top bar hive follower boards

    As for hive length, I like MB's recommendation to make it slightly shorter than 4' so you can use 4' boards to make the cover. I made mine with 19" bars and a 4'x8' sheet makes 4 perfect sized covers with just enough overhang.

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

    Default Re: Plans and dimensions for top bar hive follower boards

    The way that I build my hives is I attach the sides to the bottom before I put on the ends. Because of this it is easy to put a piece of paper at the end of the hive before attaching the end boards.

    At this point though I usually don't bother making followers until after construction. The hives are all the same size and with the exception of one that had a bad cup in it I'm able to use the same followers in all the hives.

    I like the idea of making one from foam or cardboard though. You could also use butcher paper or heavy paper and fold it until you get a nice fit and then use that as the template.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    London, United Kingdom
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: Plans and dimensions for top bar hive follower boards

    The best thing about the chandler style is you make the follower boards then fit the hive to them. So what ever size tou make them will be your hive size.
    There are indepth plans on my blog below.
    Based on a topbar overhang of 1" on each side. Your follower baord would be 13" across the top, be 11 1/8" deep, have a 12" sloped side, and 6" across the bottom .... or something like that

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    London, United Kingdom
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: Plans and dimensions for top bar hive follower boards


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