Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2017
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    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    Question Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Hello, all,

    I think I'm going to try some new comb guides for the new hive I'm building. I had been using the triangular guides, but dealing with enough Franken-comb has nudged me into, well I should at least try something different. Plus I think this will be way easier to make the bars and guides than what I had been doing.

    Anyways, I would appreciate any advice and experience about this kerf + popsicle stick method, like dimensions for example.
    I plan to use a table saw to cut a notch in the top bar. I don't know how long of a notch, but I think NOT all the way the length of the bar. Then insert a popsicle stick(s) into the notch. Not sure how much length of popsicle stick either. Truth be told I will probably use tongue depressors. Not sure how tall the popsicle sticks / tongue depressors need to be either.

    Thanks,
    thomas
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Leo Sharashkin says:
    IMPORTANT: top bars with a V-shape profile under the top bar are not reliable and may result in cross-combing.
    Otherwise, I think this entire comb-guide thing is over-complicated.
    I pickup any old stick from the orchard or wood trash pile (try for about a pencil thickness if possible).
    Staple it to the bar - done.
    This is what I am doing and it works for me.
    20170610_124229.jpg
    20170513_105502_Small.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Ukrainian frame experimentation.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Thanks for the idea Greg! I'm having a hard time interpreting the first picture. The second, it seems like it doesn't matter what length of stick?? Also, what size staples do you use? Would 1/2" be long enough for the staples?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Leo Sharashkin says:


    Otherwise, I think this entire comb-guide thing is over-complicated.
    I pickup any old stick from the orchard or wood trash pile (try for about a pencil thickness if possible).
    Staple it to the bar - done.
    This is what I am doing and it works for me.
    20170610_124229.jpg
    20170513_105502_Small.jpg
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  5. #4
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    May 2017
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    Arlington Hts, IL
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    80

    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    I have the V shape from Beethinking and have not had anything but straight combs.

  6. #5
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    Mar 2017
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    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Well, that's interesting. But sadly I have not had the same luck.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Corto View Post
    I have the V shape from Beethinking and have not had anything but straight combs.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  7. #6
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    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Actually, come to think of it, what is the width of the bars from beethinking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corto View Post
    I have the V shape from Beethinking and have not had anything but straight combs.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  8. #7
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    May 2017
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    Arlington Hts, IL
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunzow View Post
    Actually, come to think of it, what is the width of the bars from beethinking?
    2018-05-09 10_48_40-Beethinking Top Bar Hive Plans.pdf - Nitro Reader 5.jpg

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Same thing could I ask you what the width of your top bars is?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Leo Sharashkin says:


    Otherwise, I think this entire comb-guide thing is over-complicated.
    I pickup any old stick from the orchard or wood trash pile (try for about a pencil thickness if possible).
    Staple it to the bar - done.
    This is what I am doing and it works for me.
    20170610_124229.jpg
    20170513_105502_Small.jpg
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Only my second year and just 1 hive but I have been using 14" paint sticks cut in half lengthwise in the top groove and they seem to work well. My kerf was just 1 blade wide in my homemade frames but the ones I bought from Dadant are much wider and are not as tight of a fit. Are your hives level side to side? I think that has more to do with bad comb than the guide itself.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,748

    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    I tried the large tongue depressors for my foundationless Lang and the were too skinny to hold up to the staple I ran through them. The ones I did not staple in, fell out, so I won't use those again.

    For the topbar, I'd run the kerf the entire length and then use the wider paint sticks or yard stick for the comb guide. That's the width you are looking for. Not too wide or too long. These are the ones I get from Beeline Apiary for about a buck.

    shortbar.jpg

  12. #11
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    Dec 2017
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunzow View Post
    Same thing could I ask you what the width of your top bars is?
    I started with 1.5 inch (again per Leo Sharashkin) and quickly realized - wrong.
    1.5 inch feels too wide, for sure for the nest.
    Bees have tried double-comb on numerous occasions on 1.5 inch bars.

    I am now doing 1.25 inch.
    Gradually shaving down all my existing 1.5 bars - a self-made hassle.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Ukrainian frame experimentation.

  13. #12
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    Mar 2017
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    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Okay, maybe I'll stick with the 1.25....

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    I started with 1.5 inch (again per Leo Sharashkin) and quickly realized - wrong.
    1.5 inch feels too wide, for sure for the nest.
    Bees have tried double-comb on numerous occasions on 1.5 inch bars.

    I am now doing 1.25 inch.
    Gradually shaving down all my existing 1.5 bars - a self-made hassle.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Also, what do you think about using a round wood dowel for the guide, pencil thick or less? Easier for me to acquire.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Leo Sharashkin says:


    Otherwise, I think this entire comb-guide thing is over-complicated.
    I pickup any old stick from the orchard or wood trash pile (try for about a pencil thickness if possible).
    Staple it to the bar - done.
    This is what I am doing and it works for me.
    20170610_124229.jpg
    20170513_105502_Small.jpg
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Eureka! disposable Wooden chopsticks....
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  16. #15
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunzow View Post
    Eureka! disposable Wooden chopsticks....
    Tada!
    Sure. I'd use them.
    Whatever material lays around and is free, I use it.
    1.2 inch staples are fine to attach most anything.
    I got a bunch of apple scion wood leftover after grafting - I will let them dry and use them.
    TB beekeeping is supposed to be stupid simple and dirt cheap.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Ukrainian frame experimentation.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Wise County, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    I started with paint stir sticks from paint store. I cut a kerf with my saw by trying to center then made a pass in both directions and then it was on true center.The groove did go to the ends but my bees just seal it up.20180423_111914.jpg Used the stick as is but found my bees just attached to the bottom and not the top bar. Have made them 3/8 to 1/2 inch wide ( hang down from top bar. Also got basswood strips. Don't think it matters the wood. bees have been building straight combs so far.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    313

    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    If you guys have a table saw, it is easy to rip strips from a 2x4. these shims also come in handy later on, closing up the honey section (a shim is a great way of mildly tweaking comb spacing in the TBH).

    See Ruth's post below. I also have been trying these and am thrilled with them so far. The strips are 3/16" thick, and extend 3/8" down. They feel solid, and the bees completely envelope the starter strip and attach to the main bar... it feels very secure. I think the thickness and depth are both perfect.

    If you have no table saw, I think there is some pre-fab molding at the lumber store which might work.

    Thanks

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Hey what Ruth post are you talking about?
    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarDad View Post
    If you guys have a table saw, it is easy to rip strips from a 2x4. these shims also come in handy later on, closing up the honey section (a shim is a great way of mildly tweaking comb spacing in the TBH).

    See Ruth's post below. I also have been trying these and am thrilled with them so far. The strips are 3/16" thick, and extend 3/8" down. They feel solid, and the bees completely envelope the starter strip and attach to the main bar... it feels very secure. I think the thickness and depth are both perfect.

    If you have no table saw, I think there is some pre-fab molding at the lumber store which might work.

    Thanks
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
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    313

    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    In post #10 in this thread she shows a picture of the Beeline Apiary bars. I bought some, and also made some homemade versions of these. They work very well.

    They don't list individual bars in the catalog, but will sell them if you ask.

    Mike

  21. #20
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,550

    Default Re: Kerf + popsicle sticks / tongue depressors

    Jumbo craft sticks works fine, of course, but I've had the best luck with a V on the bottom of the bar. I have my top bar hive, A Gold Star Honeybee hive and a Bee Built top bar hive. I've had great luck with all of them and they all have a V top bar. I've had bees in mine since 2006, the Gold Star since 2011, and the Bee Built since earlier this year.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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