Help with choosing nail size for a Michael Bush style topbar hive
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Newnan, Georgia
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    Default Help with choosing nail size for a Michael Bush style topbar hive

    Has anyone build a Michael Bush style top bar hive? I don't know what size nails to use to nail through the floor into the bottom of the sides or how many nails to use. The hive is 5 feet long.

    The idea is after the bottom, sides and ends are assembled, you bend the sides away from the center and then nail or screw through the top of the ends into the sides.
    I am picking up my bee packages tomorrow and need to assemble tonight. Thank you in advance.

    Mark T.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,610

    Default Re: Help with choosing nail size for a Michael Bush style topbar hive

    A galvanized 7p box is probably perfect. An galvanized 8p box would work. I'd put a nail every 8 to 10" or so.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    681

    Default Re: Help with choosing nail size for a Michael Bush style topbar hive

    I built about six of these over the past couple of years. I used "finishing" nails, the kind that barely have any head on them. for the end boards I used a combination of nails and screws. Wood warps!
    Quote Originally Posted by BackwoodsBeeman View Post
    Has anyone build a Michael Bush style top bar hive? I don't know what size nails to use to nail through the floor into the bottom of the sides or how many nails to use. The hive is 5 feet long.

    The idea is after the bottom, sides and ends are assembled, you bend the sides away from the center and then nail or screw through the top of the ends into the sides.
    I am picking up my bee packages tomorrow and need to assemble tonight. Thank you in advance.

    Mark T.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Newnan, Georgia
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    21

    Default Re: Help with choosing nail size for a Michael Bush style topbar hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    A galvanized 7p box is probably perfect. An galvanized 8p box would work. I'd put a nail every 8 to 10" or so.
    Thank you so much Michael. I built my two hives and installed the packages last Sunday. I checked them today and the queens are released and the workers are building straight comb!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Newnan, Georgia
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    21

    Default Re: Help with choosing nail size for a Michael Bush style topbar hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunzow View Post
    I built about six of these over the past couple of years. I used "finishing" nails, the kind that barely have any head on them. for the end boards I used a combination of nails and screws. Wood warps!

    Thank you for your help Yunzow!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    west central Arkansas
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    1,080

    Default

    I think MB did a wonderful thing by giving folks a simple design to follow, making construction possible for those with the most rudimentary of tools and materials to build a movable comb hive. This design was my first couple of TBHs. The issue with this hive is you will find that as careful as you are in regard to measurement, the inside space, from my experience, will not be symmetrical, which leads to issues when you are sharing comb between hives. If your plan is to make one and not worry about interchangeability, it should work fine.
    Season 5. TF.

  8. #7
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,610

    Default Re: Help with choosing nail size for a Michael Bush style topbar hive

    > the inside space, from my experience, will not be symmetrical

    If you put the center of the bottom board in the center or the end board it will be as symmetrical as it can be.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    west central Arkansas
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    Default

    I agree it should be, geometry doesn't lie. Perhaps I didn't get it quite centered, possibly the boards were warped a bit too much, but I remember specifically that the inner mid-section was narrower toward the top than the outer inside dimemsions, which led to some violation of beespace and glued combs to sidewalls when moving comb around.
    Season 5. TF.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    1,298

    Default Re: Help with choosing nail size for a Michael Bush style topbar hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordak View Post
    The issue with this hive is you will find that as careful as you are in regard to measurement, the inside space, from my experience, will not be symmetrical, which leads to issues when you are sharing comb between hives.
    I made a KTBH some years ago, and followed Phil Chandler's method - which is to make 4 identical trapezoid boards first. Making these boards first ensures that their shape is symmetrical around the mid-line.

    Then - two of these boards are used as the hive end boards, with the longitudinal boards being attached to them. The other two can simply be made into follower boards by having top bars attached. That way, everything is symmetrical, and everything fits everything else.

    At any time more boards can be made (for more hives) using any of the above boards as a template. It may be slightly more involved than Michael's method (which I know nothing about, btw), but I think the end-product justifies this.

    I still have the follower/template boards in store from my brief excursion into KTBH's, so if anyone wants them and is passing by Boston (Lincolnshire, England) - do call in and collect them. I also have a 10-bar carry-home KTBH nuc box (with it's own follower/divider board) made from plywood if anyone wants it.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    west central Arkansas
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    Default

    That's how I make mine these days, LJ. I have an original custom template that I base all my measurements on. I have retired the hives that didn't follow these measurements, making life easier. I am also trying to phase out my langstroth gear as to make all hive parts interchangeable, which will simplify my beekeeping endeavors even more. Thank you for the in-depth post nonetheless.
    Season 5. TF.

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