Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question - Page 2
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    663

    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    I think...
    you are better off using spacers, especially if you don't have ready access to a table saw.

    My first few hives were using the specs as Michael Bush provides on his website, for the top bars. So I did cut a bunch of bars 1.25 inch wide and 1.5 inch wide.

    It's just easier, say, to cut the top bars 1.25 inch wide and use spacers to make it 1.5 inch wide, in my experience. Because. Despite your best efforts those bees aren't going to want to line up perfectly with your top bar widths.

    also, might be cheaper to buy wooden chopsticks and staple them to your top bars, instead of that molding.


    Quote Originally Posted by BoneBee View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I really appreciate it.

    My understanding is that the honey comb is to be 1.25" wide and the brood comb 1.5". The 1 3/8" is a compromise on this. So, if I can, then have both and managing the hive I place then appropriately as they draw the comb. This negates the need for spacers. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    I will ask around at my local meeting if anybody wants to help me cut some wood. ��

    I'm out of Central Florida btw. Thank you again.
    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. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    woodland, wa usa
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    37

    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    Yunzow
    I challenge you to do the actual research on honeybee combs. Both feral hives and managed hives.
    Over a century ago, Langstroth and other beekeepers during the same period recognized the consistency of comb building and the layout of beespace between the combs. Thus, Langstroth frames set on 1 3/8" center to center layout.
    Comb thickness in hives is so close to one inch as to be amazingly phenomenal.
    When I built my topbars for a TBH, I ripped them at 1 5/16" knowing wood can't be cut as accurately as metal. When these topbars were grouped together, the roughness of the edges placed them pretty darn close to 1 3/8" center to center. And the bees did indeed follow that pattern with their comb build under these topbars.

    "Despite your best efforts those bees aren't going to want to line up perfectly with your top bar widths."
    Well, yes they do, and phenomenally well on a 1 3/8" layout. Absolutely no need for shims, chopsticks, or any other bothersome spacers.

    Why do you think Langstroths 1 3/8" spacing for removable frames has stood the test for over a century?

    Yes I do admit that bees initially may indeed have fatter "honey" comb, but as they use it year after year, they will chew that fat comb right back to a fairly consistent 1" comb, 3/8" bespace, 1" comb, ...

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,550

    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    All combs were spaced by eye until Julius Hoffman decided on 1 3/8" and made self spacing frames. There are many historic references here showing various spacings, most of which are smaller than 1 3/8":
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesframewidth.htm

    I think 1 1/4" bars with 1/4" spacers works fine. It's just a lot less cutting to do 1 1/4" for half and 1 1/2" for the other half, since I don't have to rip the 1 1/2" at all (a one by two already is 1 1/2"). The number of ripped pieces increases a lot when you make all of them 1 1/4" with 1/4" spacers. Nothing wrong with the outcome, but not only is it more cuts, but more pieces of wood to keep track of.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
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    398

    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    hmmm I would love to hear some details about how jnqpblk is managing adding bars?

    The way I have done it, to add new bars at the boundary between the brood and the honey storage, as eventually led to fat comb - especially the honey part! - even for brood comb. The bees have a nice 1 3/8 space and choose to make adjoining drawn comb fat, instead of drawing out their own nice comb, from time to time.

    My bees are sometimes contrary! it may be that with a weaker flow and with adding bars when adjacent comb is uncapped honey, I am running into these problems.

    I find spacers essential, as the bees do odd things and spacers can fix it.

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Greenville, NC, USA
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    162

    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    avatardad is spot on. I pick up pieces of 2x6, 2x8, 2x10 in the scrap where houses are being built. This scrap is great for top bars and once you set up for 3/4 x 1 3/8" you can cut 50 or so and use them whenever...free wooden ware. Cut a groove on one side, insert a paint stirrer and wa-la.

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    England, UK
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    1,187

    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    Quote Originally Posted by jnqpblk View Post
    Absolutely no need for shims, chopsticks, or any other bothersome spacers.
    For anyone finding this hard to accept - it might be worth reflecting on how bees build combs when humans aren't involved: they don't build separate 'brood-combs' and 'stores-combs' - they just build 'combs' ... and then use the same combs (all having the same comb spacing) for both purposes.

    When working like this, there are two bee-spaces between each 'brood' comb which allows two bees to then work on them 'back-to-back' as it were. Towards the top of such a 'brood' comb, and between combs used exclusively for honey stores, the cells are duly extended outwards such that only one bee-space then exists between them.
    When such extension occurs in brood combs, what develops is an inter-comb gallery shaped rather like two saucers placed rim to rim - an ideal shape for retaining temperature within that slot. And - should these combs be again required for brood-rearing purposes at a later date, the cell length is dynamically reduced for precisely that purpose.

    Indeed, although beekeepers tend to focus more-or-less exclusively on combs (understandably, these being visible), there is seldom much focus placed on the non-visible inter-comb galleries - and yet it is within these galleries that the adult bees spend the majority of their time.

    One of the reasons I have such a poor opinion of 'Natural Beekeeping' methods - especially as promoted by certain high profile advocates of the Natural Beekeeping/KTBH movement - is precisely because of this insistence to install wider spaced bars for honey storage ... 'cause such spacing certainly ain't Natural.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Central Florida, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    Thanks all for the responses. I have been reading each reply and the discussion generated.

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    For anyone finding this hard to accept - it might be worth reflecting on how bees build combs when humans aren't involved: they don't build separate 'brood-combs' and 'stores-combs' - they just build 'combs' ... and then use the same combs (all having the same comb spacing) for both purposes.

    When working like this, there are two bee-spaces between each 'brood' comb which allows two bees to then work on them 'back-to-back' as it were. Towards the top of such a 'brood' comb, and between combs used exclusively for honey stores, the cells are duly extended outwards such that only one bee-space then exists between them.
    When such extension occurs in brood combs, what develops is an inter-comb gallery shaped rather like two saucers placed rim to rim - an ideal shape for retaining temperature within that slot. And - should these combs be again required for brood-rearing purposes at a later date, the cell length is dynamically reduced for precisely that purpose.

    Indeed, although beekeepers tend to focus more-or-less exclusively on combs (understandably, these being visible), there is seldom much focus placed on the non-visible inter-comb galleries - and yet it is within these galleries that the adult bees spend the majority of their time.

    One of the reasons I have such a poor opinion of 'Natural Beekeeping' methods - especially as promoted by certain high profile advocates of the Natural Beekeeping/KTBH movement - is precisely because of this insistence to install wider spaced bars for honey storage ... 'cause such spacing certainly ain't Natural.
    LJ
    What spacing do you advocate? Do you advocate different spacing for brood and honey?

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    1,187

    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    Quote Originally Posted by BoneBee View Post
    What spacing do you advocate? Do you advocate different spacing for brood and honey?
    Well - each to their own. If I was a dyed-in-the-wool 'Natural Beekeeper', then I'd install ALL my bars at whatever spacing the bees were 'happiest' with. (by 'happiest' I mean not indulging in comb-to-comb adhesions)

    Bear in mind that bees vary in size - which largely depends upon the cell size of the comb in which they were reared. In turn, the size of those bees determines both the size of the cells they will construct themselves AND the optimal spacing between those new combs.

    So - unfortunately this isn't a fixed measurement. Each beekeeper needs to discover the spacing which best suits the bees that they're keeping: 1+1/2" would most probably suit bees originating from large-cell foundation, whereas 1+1/8" is probably more appropriate for feral bees or bees which have been reared on foundationless combs.

    But - if I were a Honey-Farmer (which I'm not) - then I'd most certainly install honey combs at maybe as much as 1+3/4" - or whatever spacing was found to return the most honey.

    The attitude which surrounds the fixed spacing of combs is one of many reasons I don't use Top Bars anymore. Even our 35mm commercially-produced frames are a compromise I no longer tolerate. The bees I keep here are 'happiest' at 34mm, and I'm planning to trial 33mm next year, and then watch to see what happens. It's the only way. One millimetre may not sound much to us, but for insects which are only a few millimetres in size, it's a BIG deal - which is THE reason why I now use foundationless frames with adjustable spacing.
    'best
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  10. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    woodland, wa usa
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    37

    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    trishbookworm,
    First, the top bar hive I made was not for myself. As soon as I built it I gave it to the new beekeeper I built it for. As I have stated already, my top bars were made by cutting them 1 5/16" wide and when stacked in the hive, fell on a near perfect 1 3/8" layout. A saw kerf was cut in the bottom and a strip with sharpened guide edge was placed in the slot. The hive was 4' long and had enough topbars to fill the length. The bees for this hive was a swarm I captured. All bars were in place, with an equal width follower board, to expand the area of the bees. What comb the bees did draw out did follow the guide strips, but they only drew about 10-13 bars. I do not recall the specifics, whether it was a late season swarm, or much of the details, but I know it didn't make it into winter.

    I understand the tendency of bees to build fat honeycomb, if they are not simply filling ready made 1" thick comb. Since this was not my hive, neither did i manage it. This top bar hive is the only one I have built.

    For myself, I have +-20 Langstroth hives and often times will simply literally cut back fat honey comb, like when they are building one foundation out into the space of another unbuilt foundation. I find the 1 3/8" layout to be such an absolute, that my bent is to encourage the bees to do so rather than build fat honey comb. Once they have comb built out, they tend to even cap honey comb closer to the 1" thick comb, or maybe go over about a 1/16", thus making the beespace between closer to 1/4".

  11. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    1,762

    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    For anyone finding this hard to accept - it might be worth reflecting on how bees build combs when humans aren't involved: they don't build separate 'brood-combs' and 'stores-combs' - they just build 'combs' ... and then use the same combs (all having the same comb spacing) for both purposes.
    ,
    even if it has the same cell size, bees often cap cells with honey in it at a longer length, I am sure many beekeepers here have seen honey drawn out past the end of there hoffman frames ...combs like jnqpblk is talking about

    this wider comb impacts the spacing of the next comb... Doc WAM has a good write up on it https://www.beeculture.com/why-are-m...combs-crooked/
    this shows what happens when humans arn't involved... the bees change the spacing... henc its a common KTBH topic, what human involvement will "fix" the spaceing to what it "should" be.

    the other things bees do is draw drone comb, both for drones and to store honey in, like extending the brood sized cells, it uses less wax to store more honey, This makes for much fatter combs. I am sure many of the fokes who do cutouts have seen this, I am sure many KTBH fokes have harvested such a comb. Nice clean drone comb, no cocoons.
    I alternate blank bars between drawn, and often rotate brood combs to the back, keeping them drawing worker combs in the center of the nest. This keeps my combs strait, and more importantly gives me worker sized food combs for splits, I need them to change that comb of food in to one of brood, hard to do if its drone comb.
    Bees don't build a standard one size fits all cell, thats why beekeepers use standardized imprinted foundation and frame spaceing, interchangeability.

  12. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    ,... this wider comb impacts the spacing of the next comb... Doc WAM has a good write up on it https://www.beeculture.com/why-are-m...combs-crooked/
    this shows what happens when humans arn't involved... .
    In that article there isn't a single example of combs being drawn without some kind of human involvement.

    Bees don't build a standard one size fits all cell
    I didn't say they did - I said they use they same spacing between combs. The only way they could adjust that spacing at a later date would be to tear down several of their combs in order to re-draw them at a new spacing - which they most certainly don't.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  13. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: Total newbie asking bar (lumbar) question

    bee space, and comb spacing are to very different things, at least to me... different combs have different spacing do to there different thickness, if they didn't varry the comb spaceing they would not be able to maintain a constant bee space
    they don't adjust the spacing at a later date,but they sure build combs at one as the swarm transitions from the 1st few brood cycles all the way to storing a crop.
    If bees kept the spacing and thickness constant, being a topbar beekeeper would be much easer
    Last edited by msl; 12-22-2018 at 07:08 PM.

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