Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick
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  1. #1
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    Default Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    I've been doing foundationless during my vast whopping 2 years doing beekeeping. I use a 1/4" inch wooden dowel on a diamond fashion stuck in the top groove of the frame. If I have 2 straight frames, I sometimes stick a frame with no dowel in between and they pull it just right. With that said that adds about $.50 per frame, plus the labor.
    I seen people talking about ice cream sticks, which are way cheaper. I know some people use the frames with the wedge, but I fear the uneven thickness top bar after the wedge is broken can be somewhat weak.

    The question is, how do you do it? Just like to hear your experiences.

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  3. #2
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    May 2014
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    Charlotte, NC
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    I use barbecue skewers (the small ones) and a piece of a paint paddle. I drill the frame for the skewers and sand the top edge of the paint paddle.

  4. #3
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    Sep 2013
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    Stone County Ar. USA
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    449

    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    I'm trying a variety of methods . Some frames have a vertical starter strip in the center , some have a horizontal strip across the top , some have the wedge turned vertical - some wedges I have tapered the bottom edge to a point some are left squared . I even have some frames with full sheet foundation to use as guides . So far the only way I won't do it any more is deep frames with wired foundation . The wire can distort the wax and combs are weird because of that . Last summer was not a good test , they were not producing a lot of comb other than . Drawn comb is in short supply here because I'm still in "startup mode" but I expect that to change this year . I'm hoping that changes , this year I'm going to try to produce a honey crop too rather than just increase hives .
    So far I haven't seen a lot of difference in their preferences ...
    Retired wannabee Hillbilly Farmer in backwoods Arkansas
    Our biggest crop is rocks ...

  5. #4
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    Sep 2014
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Skewers for vertical support I assume? DO they attach the bottom in the skewers area?

    Quote Originally Posted by dsegrest View Post
    I use barbecue skewers (the small ones) and a piece of a paint paddle. I drill the frame for the skewers and sand the top edge of the paint paddle.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Quote Originally Posted by jcolon View Post
    Skewers for vertical support I assume? DO they attach the bottom in the skewers area?
    Yes. The frames have grooves for foundation at top and bottom. I glue the skewers into the groove.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    South Western Ohio
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    I just finished my first season and did a combo of foundation in some frames and foundation-less in others. For foundation-less I used "tongue depressors that you can find in different dimensions at Hobby Lobby. As I do not have a centriguge I had to crush and strain. The foundation-less works betteer for that.
    Tim
    "Amateurs built the Ark; Professionals built the "Titanic".

  8. #7
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    Dec 2013
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    Austin, Texas
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Quote Originally Posted by jcolon View Post
    I've been doing foundationless during my vast whopping 2 years doing beekeeping. I use a 1/4" inch wooden dowel on a diamond fashion stuck in the top groove of the frame. If I have 2 straight frames, I sometimes stick a frame with no dowel in between and they pull it just right. With that said that adds about $.50 per frame, plus the labor.
    I seen people talking about ice cream sticks, which are way cheaper. I know some people use the frames with the wedge, but I fear the uneven thickness top bar after the wedge is broken can be somewhat weak.

    The question is, how do you do it? Just like to hear your experiences.
    I've flipped the wedge sideways and have never found the top bars to be a weakness issue either foundation-less or with foundation installed.

    Kelley F-Frames are especially nice with a formed wedge and no split or grove in the bottom bar - very strong design about the same price as anything else.

  9. #8
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    Sep 2014
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Anyone have a good picture showing the top bar on a Kelly f frame? the site doesn't really show it very well.
    Last edited by Barry; 11-17-2015 at 08:58 AM. Reason: quoting

  10. #9
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    Clinton, Iowa
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Quote Originally Posted by jcolon View Post
    Anyone have a good picture showing the top bar on a Kelly f frame? the site doesn't really show it very well.
    It just has a triangle guide built into it.

    These are the same frames for over twice the price:
    http://www.beethinking.com/products/...ss-frames-deep
    Kelley makes those I'm positive. There were posts on here last year that Kelley was out and Beethinking didn't have any either because their supplier was out of stock.

    I glued in tongue depressors from Amazon something like $10 for 500 of them. They worked well. Kelley frames are OK, but their frame quality doesn't hold a candle to Mann Lake frames.
    So much easier and better to toss in a $1-1.20 piece of foundation, though.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    > Kelley frames are OK, but their frame quality doesn't hold a candle to Mann Lake frames.


    That was my fear.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Quote Originally Posted by jcolon View Post
    > Kelley frames are OK, but their frame quality doesn't hold a candle to Mann Lake frames.


    That was my fear.
    I regretted buying them. They send extra end bars and bottom bars because they will break when assembling. Tolerances are way too tight. Need to hammer almost every top bar in, end bars split. Compared to Mann Lake. I haven't broken a frame part yet that I am aware of. I suppose there might be a hairline crack or somewhere in hundreds of them. Of the 100 foundationless ones I assembled from Kelley, I bet I had 5+ end bars just straight up break. To the point of needing to be replaced.

    But they were nice in the sense of not having to glue in tongue depressors. It's all a trade off. The frames are perfectly acceptable, but just be prepared for a little frustration in the assembly department. You might make that up in the not having to glue in guides though. The Kelley guides were OK for me.

    Here is a Kelley F frame in use:


    Here's one of my Mann Lake tongue depressor frames:

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Thanks JW. I don't mind the extra work of the ice cream sticks. Im used to the Mann lake quality and quick response. Im just trying to see what the experiences around are with them but I think im gonna order me some from amazon and glue away.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Quote Originally Posted by jcolon View Post
    Thanks JW. I don't mind the extra work of the ice cream sticks. Im used to the Mann lake quality and quick response. Im just trying to see what the experiences around are with them but I think im gonna order me some from amazon and glue away.
    Once the comb is built out it doesn't matter. Heck, between good combs you don't need a guide at all. Regardless of the guide... they all break off easily anyway.

  15. #14
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    Dec 2013
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    Austin, Texas
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    It just has a triangle guide built into it.

    These are the same frames for over twice the price:
    http://www.beethinking.com/products/...ss-frames-deep
    Kelley makes those I'm positive. There were posts on here last year that Kelley was out and Beethinking didn't have any either because their supplier was out of stock.

    I glued in tongue depressors from Amazon something like $10 for 500 of them. They worked well. Kelley frames are OK, but their frame quality doesn't hold a candle to Mann Lake frames.
    So much easier and better to toss in a $1-1.20 piece of foundation, though.
    Agree x2. Fresh Kelley mediums made for a very pretty frame of foundation-less comb honey but I went back to the Mann Lake Wedge top. If I have time, I rip some thin scrap on the table saw and glue that into the grooved botom

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    It just has a triangle guide built into it.

    These are the same frames for over twice the price:
    http://www.beethinking.com/products/...ss-frames-deep
    Kelley makes those I'm positive. There were posts on here last year that Kelley was out and Beethinking didn't have any either because their supplier was out of stock.

    I glued in tongue depressors from Amazon something like $10 for 500 of them. They worked well. Kelley frames are OK, but their frame quality doesn't hold a candle to Mann Lake frames.
    So much easier and better to toss in a $1-1.20 piece of foundation, though.
    For that price they should have drawn comb and honey.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Quote Originally Posted by dsegrest View Post
    For that price they should have drawn comb and honey.
    No joke! I just linked it for a better picture of the top bar.

    I mean, you can't even drain the honey right out of those and onto your pancakes. Come on.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    I think that's called a Flow Hive.
    Last edited by Barry; 11-17-2015 at 09:01 AM.

  19. #18
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    Feb 2013
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    Humboldt Co., California
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Woodlyn Brand beekeeping supplies has foundationless frames for about $1.40 each, un-assembled. Their web site is: woodlynnbrand.com. He will even make narrow top bars if you are into the Michael Bush thing.

  20. #19
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    Mar 2013
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    Seattle WA
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    I was really cheap and went to Lowes and got paint stirrers for free. They are long enough that one stirrer split the long way down the middle fills the entire frame.

  21. #20
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    Sep 2014
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    Default Re: Foundationless - dowel vs ice cream stick

    Wonder if they will frown when I go and grab about 200 of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    I was really cheap and went to Lowes and got paint stirrers for free. They are long enough that one stirrer split the long way down the middle fills the entire frame.

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