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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I decided to build myself some simple top bar hives for my packages, which doesn't give me a lot of time. Since i couldn't find any chamfer molding like M. Bush recommended and I decided I didn't have time to cut all the triangular pieces, I decided to buy the top bars to go with my home-built hive. I decided to use the M. Bush method as shown on his website, with one small alteration. The top bars from the local bee supply shop are 17.75". So, I thought if I use a 1x8 instead of a 1x6 for the floor, the 2" from the wider base and a bit more angle would work to accommodate the additional 2.75" of bar.

Today when I was talking to the owner, he said that he can mill the bars to any length that I want. So, I was wondering if it would be worth getting them in 19" lengths to match my langs. It seems that if I use a 1x10 as the floor, the angles would all work out exactly the same for 19" bars as M. Bush with his 1x6 and 15" bars. But, is a hive that wide going to work better/worse for the bees? I'm a bit worried that it will be harder for them to move around the edges of such a big comb during winter. I'm also worried that the longer the bar, the more they tend to curve the comb towards the ends. I also realize that because the sides are sloped, a lang frame will still not fit without being trimmed even if the bars are the same length. So, is there really any benefit in using lang length bars? It would let me put top bars into a lang and get a bit of started wax, eggs or brood in it to supply some resources to the top bar hives. And trimming lang frames would be much simpler if the bar was already the correct length.

The other option, of course is that I get 15" bars and copy Bush's plans exactly. I should probably mention that I already bough the 1x12s and 1x8s to build these.

So, what would you recommend for bar length? Stick with the bar length that the local shop sells? Standardize the length with langs? Use 15" bars like M. Bush recommends.

I know it is probably not a hugely important decision, but once I choose I will want all my top bar hives to be interchangeable, so now is the time to get it right.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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Do you know anybody in your area that is using a lang? Or, do you think you will know someone that is using a lang. If not, then I would go with the plan that you are already on. Otherwise it might be worth the time to use a 19" length. Also, this would let you start a lang at some time in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Do you know anybody in your area that is using a lang? Or, do you think you will know someone that is using a lang. If not, then I would go with the plan that you are already on. Otherwise it might be worth the time to use a 19" length. Also, this would let you start a lang at some time in the future.
I have a dozen langs of my own. I guess I forgot to mention that. I am just trying top bars because they seem like fun and a new chance to learn.
 

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Then, I think you would want to go with the 19" bars then for convenience.
 

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If you already have Langs, I'd definitely go with 19". Got my first few combs of the TBH started by putting them in between frames in a beekeepers Lang and they drew out nice and straight comb. Have also needed to put the empty comb back inside a Lang to have another queen lay some eggs for my hive to get a boost.
If you don't want to have them built locally, Beeline Apiaries and Woodenware sells the 19" top bar for .90 each. They have 2 widths to choose from. email them at [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the quick replies!
I'm still listening if there are others with opinions.

If I do go with 19" bars, does it sound like a good plan to just use 1x12s for the sides and a 1x10 for the bottom and otherwise use the Michael Bush design? Or, does that make for a hive that is too wide for its depth or comb that is too long or unstable? I assume using a 1x8 as the bottom would result in a side angle that is not steep enough?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm

Thanks
 

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I built a square-sided TBH that a deep frame could hang in. They build comb that fills the entire space. I would say the downside is, that when fully drawn out, the combs are rather massive. Handling new comb on a warm day requires a bit of care to prevent the whole thing breaking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I built a square-sided TBH that a deep frame could hang in. They build comb that fills the entire space. I would say the downside is, that when fully drawn out, the combs are rather massive. Handling new comb on a warm day requires a bit of care to prevent the whole thing breaking.
Thanks for the input. That's what I am trying to avoid. I don't want huge, unmanageable comb. I want to try top bars for their own sake and with two, I can share resources between them. If I just wanted a horizontal lang, I would try that. But, I also see some benefit to having standard length bars. So, that's why I'm wondering if I am stretching the original design too much by extending everything an additional 4 inches. Or, are the small benefits worth it.
 

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Thanks for the quick replies!
I'm still listening if there are others with opinions.

If I do go with 19" bars, does it sound like a good plan to just use 1x12s for the sides and a 1x10 for the bottom and otherwise use the Michael Bush design? Or, does that make for a hive that is too wide for its depth or comb that is too long or unstable? I assume using a 1x8 as the bottom would result in a side angle that is not steep enough?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm

Thanks
I built my top bars 17" long by 1-1/4" wide. That way when I switch them to my Langs I just fasten a 3/8" by 19" cleat on top and they fit in my Langs. You can even add end bars and a bottom bar for a full frame if you want. Works like a charm.
Colino
 
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