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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to launch into beekeeping and my shipment of hive box pieces just arrived.

I'm using all 10-frame mediums. I had originally wanted 8-frame hives, but the supplier with (by far) the best prices didn't list any 8-frame hives on their website. I should have called them to ask if they had any, but didn't think about it until too late.

So before we assemble everything, I started to wonder about just converting these 10-frame boxes to 8-frame by adding some extra wall or partition in place of the #1 and #10 frame. My husband suggested putting grooves in place where we want the partition, so we could just slide a light little piece of wood down in there.

Is there any reason why this wouldn't work? It seems like this plan will enable us to have flexibility between 8-frame and 10-frame hive boxes, depending on the needs at the moment. And maybe it would give some extra insulation.

My second question is, would it ever be useful to have, say, 10 frames in one box and 8 frames in another, in the same hive? As long as you put in partitions to preserve bee space, do the bees care if the different layers of their hive have different numbers of frames?

Also, I'm using foundationless frames (Kelley's foundationless comb guide frames). I don't know if that matters in relation to my questions.

Thank you for any advice.
 

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Queen breeders use hives with follower boards. Any benefit to 8 frames in a 10 frame is insignificant. Unless the space can be totally sealed, beetles and pests will get in the undefended area and wreck havoc on your hive. I can measure the follower boards I have if you like. The grooves are 3/8 deep commercially and a loose fit for the follower board.
 

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Try and sell your 10-frame locally for what you paid for it, or slightly less and buy some 8-frame gear out of the gate. You'll be glad you did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Or... just cut down the sides to eight frame width and get everything to size from the beginning.
Yeah, I realize that's the obvious solution... but since the corners are all dovetailed, if I cut the sides down I'd probably cut out a chunk in the middle and rejoin the two flat cuts.

I'm just thinking that having the ability to switch back to the 10-frame configuration in the future might be kind of nice, so I'm waffling.

Thanks also to the other folks who posted above about follower boards. I had never heard of those before, so I've learned something useful here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Try and sell your 10-frame locally for what you paid for it, or slightly less and buy some 8-frame gear out of the gate. You'll be glad you did.
Urg. Not a bad idea, except that "locally" is sort of complicated. I live on a small non-ferry-served island and nobody else here wants to keep bees. It's only two hives (10 mediums) altogether, so it's easier to do some carpentry than to package and haul them off the island. We do everything else by hand, living off the grid, so this doesn't feel too hard. I'm just trying to decide the best solution.
 

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So why do you want to run 8 framers? Not cutting down the box but using follower boards will lessen the weight slightly, not as much as cutting down the box though. And, with the larger box even with follower boards, is still wider so the center of gravity is still further away from you when lifting, so is still a bit more bulky and harder to lift or carry.

As far as the bees, they don't care. They'll make do fine in a webber kettle BAR-B-Q or mail box or beehive box.

I myself am thinking of going to 8 frame mediums, I'm currently running 8 frame deeps.
 

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If you want to run 8 frame then I would start with true 8 frame sized boxes, either cut them down or order from another supplier. As stated the bees dont really care if they are in 8's or 10's but if you decide to expand your apiary different sized boxes, widths, number of frames, etc will get old. We just got finished transferring the last of our 10's to 8's (sold all the 10 frame stuff), we run deeps and mediums so it got to be quite a pain carrying 5 different sized boxes to the bee yards. just my 2 cents, good luck, welcome to a very addictive hobby :thumbsup:
steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you want to run 8 frame then I would start with true 8 frame sized boxes, either cut them down or order from another supplier.
I think you (and the other folks who've said the same thing) are right.

It was not a good idea to settle for my second choice just because it was hard to locate an affordable supplier of the 8-frame ware. Cutting down the boxes won't be too hard, but the telescoping covers and screened bottom boards will just be way easier to reorder.

Live and learn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So NOW, all of a sudden, Western Bee Supplies (where I bought my woodenware from) has a big banner on their homepage saying, "YES, we manufacture 8-frame woodenware" !!!!

Good grief. I don't know whether to be more pleased (because now I can exchange my telescoping tops and screened bottom boards and just pay for shipping) or more frustrated (because if they had only put that info on their website 3 weeks ago I would have ordered the right stuff in the first place!)

And I still have to cut down and rejoin the 10 hive boxes, because sending all of those back for exchange would just cost too much in shipping.

At least I'll end up with what I want. And people like me who want to go with 8-frame hives will know they can get them from Western, which does seem to have good products and good prices.
 

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Sorry to hear the problems, I think 8-frame is the way to go.

Cutting the ends thru the handholds and getting them put back together flat, smooth and square will be difficult, and not very strong even with dowels or biscuits.

If you haven't shipped your tops and bottoms yet just add the ends to the box. The sides you have will fit the 8-frame ends.

Goodluck
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
if your going to cut the ends down the middle, you should use dowel pins, or biscuits when rejoining them, for extra strength.
Yes, my husband is helping out with the carpentry, and says he will either use biscuits or just make new dovetail end joints. And then do something about the handles... He's pretty resourceful. In the future, we'll make our own hive boxes, now that we've seen what they look like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Cutting the ends thru the handholds and getting them put back together flat, smooth and square will be difficult, and not very strong even with dowels or biscuits.

If you haven't shipped your tops and bottoms yet just add the ends to the box. The sides you have will fit the 8-frame ends.

Goodluck
Nope, already shipped off the tops and bottoms. I think we're just going to have to deal with the boxes ourselves. We'll figure out some configuration that's strong enough. We're just finishing up a two-story 14-foot diameter hexagonal treehouse in 3 maple trees, 12 feet off the ground, so refashioning beehive boxes doesn't seem too daunting!

But I do very much appreciate everyone's advice... this forum is a great source of support and information for an isolated beekeeper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Michael Bush, thank you so much for the link to your step-by-step guide. I didn't acknowledge your previous post in this thread, but did immediately go to your site (which has already been one of my main sources of information on beekeeping) and study the pictured steps.

We'll undoubtedly look at those pictures again when we actually cut down the boxes. We're going to wait til we receive the new tops and bottoms, so as to be absolutely certain that everything fits just right.
 
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