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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's my very-NewBee question about frames:
Top bar grooved v. wedged?
Bottom bar grooved v split?
I'm looking at Brushy Mt, dadant, betterbee, and I can't seem to make sense of the frames issue.
I'm planning on using all 8-frame mediums with SC foundation, if that helps with the discussion.
Thanks!

Samantha
Stamford, CT
 

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I don't have the paper catalogs in front of me, but I think at least Dadant and Brushy Mountain tell you which type goes with which foundation. Can't remember if it's near the foundation page or the frame page. Well, this was probably no help whatsoever...!
 

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I am not sure what you mean by "SC" foundation, but when I started a couple of years ago, I too was confused by the different frames. I decided to go with type R E Bonney recommends in "BEEKEEPING a pactical guide. He recommends hook-wired foundation, and frames with wedge-style top bars and split bottom bars. the frames are wood and the foundation is bees wax. I have since found that the prefer that over plastic and it was a good way to start. I bought the frames and foundation from Dadant and put them together myself ( takes time to learn) but they are also sold assembled. Good luck!
 

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>Top bar grooved v. wedged?

Grooved top bars - Foundation is inserted into the groove and held in place by liquid (hot) wax.

Top Bar w/ wedge - wedge is removed, foundation placed in frame and is held by the wedge.

>Bottom bar grooved v split?

Groove in bottom bar keeps the bottom of founation in place (founadtion is not attached at bottom).

A split bottom bar has a groove all the way through the bar OR in most cases "the bar" is actually two pieces.

If you plan to use small cell (SC) foundation, follow GABE's suggestion and follow Bonney's recommendations.

The book "BEEKEEPING a pactical guide" is a good one, I refer to it often.
 

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Do you plan to wire your foundation? (You don't have to - there are different opinions on this.)

I started last year with (unwired) SC and mediums also. I used starter strips instead of a full sheet of foundation. It saves foundation and money and the bees draw it out beautifully.

Brad nailers are a must to put the frames together. I used wedge top frames. We cut off the wedge, put the foundation in and nailed the wedge back in. When I have some wax I will use the 'wax tube fastener' and wax them in to grooved top frames. For some reason Brushy does not sell a wax tube fastener.

Read about the frames, pick one, and go with it. Once you have bees it will be the least of your thoughts...
 

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Or you could just buy plastic frames - can't get any easier than that.
Though the purists might yell at you.
 

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i use wedge top frames with wired SC foundation and starter strips...the bottom bar doesn't really matter..I have split bottom. (same as Gabe describes)
 

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The most important thing, probably, is that the frames and foundations are designed to fit together, so you should probably buy both from the same supplier.
My bees won't draw comb on plastic unless there is no place else availble.
 

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With whatever choice of foundation...if you can use grooved bottoms, then do. I like the solid wood bottom of the grooved bottom bars. I find with split bottoms, that the bees sometimes hide young queen cells in the space. Difficult to spot when doing swarm control.
 

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If I were buying plain wax I'd get a solid bottom bar from Walter T. Kelly, so there's no place for the wax moths to hide there, and cut the foundation a little short so it doesn't touch it. If you want mediums, them buy deep foundation and cut it in half. With grooved top bars you can put it in the top and wax it in with a wax tube fastener (also available from Walter T. Kelly or Dadant) If you buy wired wax, then it's difficult to cut down so I'd probably get grooved top (and wax it in with the wax tube fastener) and a split bottom, so if it's too long it can stick out the bottom.

All in all I prefer a solid bottom, if I don't need the groove (which I would need with plastic foundation) and a grooved top, so I can wax the foundation in, but individual requirements vary by the kind of foundation. Some of the wired has to have the wires either bent under the wedge (which would take a wedge top bar) or cut off.

Here's a deep wax small cell cut in half, put in a medium frame grooved top, solid bottom frame and wired:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Foundation49.jpg
 

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I have found that there are as many options as there beekeepers. I use grooved top and bottom bars, and have used duragilt, and solid plastic foundation, and the bees draw it out pretty good. The only thing you need to put it together is a hammer and nails. It was also easy to put together.
 

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When I first started beekeeping, I would use Duragilt and wedge tops and split bottoms. I would take the wedge off and put them in a use later for something pile and then staple in the duragilt along the top. Worked fine, bees fastened it down the rest of the way.
 
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