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Discussion Starter #1
i am going to build my first tbh this winter. 1x2s are 3/4 by 1&1/2" what do you use as bar widths and why? no answers are wrong i just want to see what the general consensus is.
 

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I use 1" bars with 1/4 or 3/8ths spacers, depending on where the bars are located [brood or honey].
:thumbsup: Dito!! Except I use all 3/8" spacers. Look/measure a standard Lang. frame 1" bar w/3/16" side extension or 3/8" between topbars. Also; I make my TBHs to accept a standard Lang. frame or box if you want to super.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
if u super do you take out a bar or spread them out to allow the bees into the lang super?
 

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Reading Michael Bushes web site on brood comb spacing of 1 1/4" got me measuring comb and comb spacing when doing cut outs which was as he says. The main brood combs are 1 1/4" center to center, brood comb is 7/8" thick which leaves the 3/8" bee space between the brood combs. Outside of the winter brood nest I use 1 3/8"
I believe the bees can form a better organized winter cluster with the 1 1/4" bars compared to 1 3/8" bars. Even more so if they have built natural small size cells.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i went and bought lumber tonight. i think i am going to use 1x2s for the bars. thay measure 1.5 inches, i am guessing that the bees will build the combs as wide as thay need them on my 1.5 inch bars
 

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I would not give them anything wider than 1 3/8" to start. I think you will be asking for trouble using 1 1/2" bars. They will very likely go off center and over lap bars. Bees are not very good at listening to peoples wants. They have their own plan. It's much easier to go with their wants.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
i agree, the bees do what the bees do. i dont have any woodworking tools, where can you buy lumber that is 1&1/4" or 1&3/8"? could a person use wooden dowel rods of diffrent size for the spacers?
 

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I run 1 3/8" throughout the hives and I have few cross comb problems. At times I'll leave minuscule gaps between the bars in the honey chamber, but otherwise the bees are pretty good.

Not sure about buying lumber at 1 1/4" or 1 3/8". You could have someone mill some up for you, but that'd likely be expensive just for some top bars. :)

I'd recommend either buying 1x2" pine or using spacers. I don't see why dowel rods wouldn't work if that's what you have available.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #11
i bought 1x2s but thay measure 3/4 by 1&1/2. i was thinking of using the dowels for spacers between the frames
 

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If you can't find a table saw to borrow you may be able to rent one from a tool rental outfit. I'm not sure what you plan for guides/starter strips. If you plan on using popsicle sticks or foundation starter strips you will want to run a groove down the center of the bar to fasten them in. You would need a table saw to do that.
 

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you might contact someone like Humble Abodes to see it they would mill some for you... I get my frames with a plain top bar which is 1" wide, mill it into a V. they would probably do that very reasonably and then you would be all set. Also, you might check you area for a cabinet shop or woodworking shop. they would probably have some scrap they could cut up for you for virtually nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
i got 2 hives from a fellow tonight. man where would we be with out the kindness of fellow beekeepers. i am proud to be a part of a group of people who arnt afraid to help others as thay have been helped. he made me a STEAL of a deal on 2 48" tbh. thay both have some drawn comb in them already. there is 2 or 3 diffrent width top bars. he said to use certin widths for brood/honey. i am so excited to be apart of the tbh world. thanks agine chris


i was going to use my handsaw to cut the groves. i had a thought, if i rent/borrow a table saw can i just set it at a 45 and cut the baes into a triangle shape? or do i need to cut the triangle from something else and glue it to my top bars?
 

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My Top Bars is 1 1/2" wide and I have no problem what's so ever. 14 out of 24 frames are fully drawn. Out of 14 frames only one was attached to another frame. Each frame has a starting strip that is 1/2" wide & 3/4" hight.
I coated each starting stip with bee wax. So far so good.
 

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11X :no: If you are not experenced using a table saw and like your fingers Do NOT use one!! You can get a small "hobby" saw at one of the big-box stores or find a used one fairly cheep, afterall your not going to do precesion millwork. Dowel rods may work, but will get costly, besides if you use 1 3/8 or 1 1/2" bars why would you want spacers??
 

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All the bars I use are 1 3/8 inches wide. I generally like to keep things simple, thus no spacers and no two-different-sized bars. Normally my bees build both brood and honey combs from these bars just fine. I rarely have combs crossing over to the next bar (but I also keep an eye on things so I can correct the situation if it does happen to occur).

Top bar hives are nice in the fact that they can be fairly simple to make (although some people are making pretty elaborate ones now a days but you don’t have to be that fancy with them). You don’t have to be an expert carpenter to make the box. If your measurements are off a bit or the box is not exactly square or things are not exactly straight, it will still probably work just fine.

However, I believe you need to keep the measurements of the top bars fairly exact, especially the width and having the starter strip groove or edge of the triangular base in the center. Otherwise you might eventually end up having problems with combs being built off center and crossing over to the next bar. Then you no longer have a “movable comb” hive. The bars will be stuck to each other. Unless you can find precut strips of wood with the exact measurements you will need/want, you probably have to borrow/rent/buy a table saw or find someone who can cut the bars for you. Don’t fudge on these measurements; it’ll just cause you problems otherwise.

Making bars using a hand saw will be a challenge. It gets to be enough work to just make the box using a hand saw/hand tools and have things come out straight (and I’ve made a lot of them that way). I have someone else cut my top bars on a table saw. Top bars are basically the only thing in a tbh that needs exact measurements and be well cut.

11x, you can make top bars with a triangular base using either one of those methods you mentioned. Whatever works the best or easiest you.

Some of these 1 ½ inch wide top bars might work for honey combs, at the end(s) of the box. Honey bees sometimes like to make those combs thicker. I would not use something that wide in the brood area though. Too wide.

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Tom
 

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Well they do a few things that if you are observing carefully will tell you many things. Drawing out real fat honey comb to me says, wow this flow is at its peak right now more storage space needed! curving the ends of the comb toward the front of the hive. Hey we have reached the limit of usable space in here we need to start developing the HVAC system!! These issues really have less to do with bar width as they do with volume. Here is an example of a nice comb on a 1.5 inch bar with a comb guide and ALL the combs in this hive were the same. http://www.customwoodkitsinternational.com/page57.php

This is what you get when you don't mess with the volume of the hive and just give them all the room to work with in the first place. There is a different comb from a different hive on the home page with the same results.

Not trying to sell you anything and to prove it heres what you can do to save your fingers from the saw. Just use 1,5 or 1 and 3/8ths inch bars which ever you choose do not cut anything fancy into them without the right tools SAFETY FIRST always! warm some bees wax and make the triangle starter that way. heat the bar surface with a soldering iron or heat gun and push the wax into shape and in place work it in small sections and you'll be fine. Its labor intensive but much safer and thats what counts! Let me know if you need some 100% natural wax to start I happen to have some I am not using your welcome to it.

These results are the reasons I do not advocate the use of follower boards.
 

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:thumbsup::thumbsup: Tomas: I agree with you completely!! Keep it simple!!
My first TBH was a slanted sided one and I used all 1 3/8" bars X 19", seams to be working out just fine!! I have since built 2, "4' long Langs" using 1" bars (triangle base) and 3/8" spacers. I plain on leaving the first 2/3rds of the box for the bees to do there thing. If ncessary or want to super, all I need to do is rmove spacers for the super rather than remove a bar or two and respace.
One bar size; one spacer size.
Next BIG question - will the bees like it?
 
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