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10 Frame medium question

1454 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  JWChesnut
My saw shop is lacking as some people say, and well I just don't have the honest need for much more than I got right now.

But I had a question about building mediums. Is anyone building 8 or 10 frame mediums/supers using the coates style construction? Where you cut the ends at 6 inches tall and use that edge to rest the frames on this lip, then just use a 1x1 1/2 or 1x2 to close the end off like a coates plywood nuc is made. It provides the hand hold as well as cover up the back side of the lip.

Anyone building them this way.
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I have thought about it. I have made one nuc that can accommodate nine frames, but haven't made any Coates style that can substitute for full-size supers, yet.
The thing about that would be that standard covers wouldn't work on them - or would it? I have a few 1/2" ply boxes that I made with a ledger strip on the inside as a frame rest which is simple, works well, and surprisingly does not result in comb being built between the end bars and box.
An all-ply box is to be avoided. Warping and delamination are issues. Attachment to end grain of ply is always problematic.

My nucs use ply sides, but solid wood front and back -- I think the hybrid design is far more practical than the all-ply Coates model.

A 1x8 fenceboard can be cut into a medium with simple lap (butt) joints and fastened with drywall/deck screws.
You need to make three cuts:
You need to be able to rip the board to width (or use the 7 1/8" frame size sold by ML and others -- already fitted to the modern 1x8 dimensional size).
You need to be able to cut the rabbet.
You need to be able to make square crosscuts to length.

You can do all this with a certain awkwardness with a hand circular (Skil) saw. Most skil saws cut 1 1/2" from the left side guide.

Get a couple clamps and a straightedge -- old angle iron, machine edge strip of ply, a straight board, old aluminum extrusion from a window frame, etc.

Lay out the rip using the straight edge as a guide. (in the default case clamp the guide exactly 1 1/2 inch in from the desired cut mark. The guide will prevent you from undercutting the width. A bit of experience will let you run the saw tight against the guide.

Crosscut the ripped to width board at 19 7/8 twice, and (about) 32" (this adds to 72 inches -- a fenceboard).
A triangle square held against the board makes a great guide for perfect cross-cuts.
Set up the guide for making a cut 1/2 inch in from one edge of the 33" piece
adjust the depth on the saw to a mere 3/8th and make the first cut for the rabbet. You can make a second wasting cut a blade width or two over (try shimming the guide with a yardstick to move the cut over without resetting the guide.)

The rabbet can be finished with a chisel, small plane, steak-knife, or blade. In Costa Rica, I used a steak knife to build >>500 boxes.

Cross-cut the rabbeted 32 inch piece to final length (~14 7/8"). This length is dependent on the true thickness dimension of the board -- on the west coast, loss leader 1x8 fenceboard is finished to 11/16 so the final length is 16 1/4 - 2*(11/16) == 14 7/8. (and note sometimes, one should slightly undercut the 19 7/8 to provide suffient overlap for frame ears on the rabbet).

Screw the box together using deckscrews. Fenceboards are often dry and brittle so predrilling the countersink prevent splitting. Square the box with a scrap of the rip offcut cut to the exact correct diagonal. Don't worry about glue, as endgrain will not hold a glue joint.

Boards can cup- the edges pull toward the center of the tree, - so assemble the boxes with bark-side out, resisting the tendency of the top to cup away from the correct dimension.

I build butt joint boxes reinforced with a cabinet "biscuit" (requires special tool). These are entering their 10th year with no failure.

I agree with David LaF -- you can build a rabbet on the inside with a bit of scrap tacked on -- the bees don't burr comb that space frequently. All the end bars of the frames put it outside the nest.
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