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I would like to build a top bar hive this year. I presently use all langstroth hives, but would like to try out the TBH's.

Since I'm not at all familiar with this type of hive, I was hoping that some of you with good knowledge of these could recommend a hive plan to me. I am a woodworker and could build a fancy one, but would prefer to build one that is "good enough." After I've tried this type of hive (TBH), I may decide to go with a fancier one, but for now, I just want one to get started.

So, if you have a plan to recommend, could you provide me with a link? I will greatly appreciate your help. I have looked at some here already, but I'm hoping that there is a general consensus on a hive plan that would be universally liked by most TBH enthusiasts.

Thanks in advance for you help!
 

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The only design features I would suggest is make it at least in the 4 ft range. I made one that can accept medium frames, which makes it easier to add brood and feed sugar board (in frames).
 

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i thought Chandlers design was good. we did solid bottom instead of screened. and added a window. also cut the ends flush with the sides.. i probably would keep them square next time.

 

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I agree with Reo on the length just under 4 ft so you can use a 4 foot sheet for the top. For the width, I see lots of posts that recommend 19" to match lang. Top bars, I'm not sure the logic since lang top bars are too narrow when not using them with the side bars to get the bee space correct.
I've got a couple of top bar hives mine use 18" bars but one hive I set the bars on top of my sides, 1x12's in the other hive I used cleats recessed down from the top so that the top of the bars are just shy of the top edge of the hive. This hive has 3/4" plywood sides. I worried that they would build comb around the cleats, but they haven't and I actually like this hive design a little better. I used 1/8" screen on the bottoms. The pine hive only has screen and the plywood hive has a plywood floor with large cut outs that are screened. I have wooden bottoms that cover the screens for winter. I get a lot of bearding in the summer months so I would assume you would too in FL. I think I will add some top entrances, maybe 1" holes to help ventilate. I think my hives get sweaty in the cold winter months, I found a little mold this past week when I opened them.
Good luck
Fabian
 

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Greenride, the reason I made mine 19 inches is so that I could put them in a lang if necessary. You couldn't fill up a lang, but you could put in a few with regular lang frames adjacent. So if I need to give a lang some eggs or a queen cell I could just take the bar from the top bar. This would be temporary situation, not permanent. I haven't done that yet, but my cousin did on a small swarm with no problems.

I make mine similar to Les Crowders and Phil Chandlers, but I use 1x12's for the sides and a 1x8 for the bottom. I cut each board with a 30 degree cut on each edge, so from the end it is trapezoidal. When I put it together there is no critter room in the bottom of the hive for SHB.

For assembly I turn the boards upside down on a work bench and tape along the joint. Flip the three pieces over, run a bead down the joints and then fold the raise the sides up. Put some tape across the top to hold it together. I also made a jig for putting inside so that I can apply a clamp as well, but I normally just use it to test the interior size. I have an 18 gauge battery powered nailer and I put a bunch of nails in along the edge, but the glue is doing most of the work. Put some 1x12's on the end, paint it and put some bars in it.

I can make a hive faster than the tops that I have been using. I still have a good supply of political signs, so they are my tops, along with a simple wood frame and some half inch foam insulation to give the thing some rigidity.
 

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I'm gonna try some splits in a few weeks from my 18" top bars to lang. I'm planning on adding screws to one side of the bars to bridge the gap. I did have to chop some comb, last week, from the sides of a couple of brood combs to fit bars from one top bar to the other weaker hive. I know it was a bad idea to make them different dimensions, but oh well. It seemed to be 90% or more empty comb at the edges. I'm really glad I did because my smaller hive had about 1/20 the action of the larger donor hive. Today the smaller hive seemed to have a lot more traffic. We are getting one or two flight days per week, snowy and 37 yesterday and 60 and sunny today.
Shannonswyatt I realize my folly, comb cutting for transfer was a pain. No one got too upset but it was more time consuming that I wanted and I had to race home from work on the one warm day last week for a long lunch. When I do my tb to Lang split, I'll try to move the top bars away from the nest to see if I can get them to be abandon before removal from the split.
 

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Of all the plans I've seen, Phil Chandler's top bar hive seems to have the easiest directions for me (a total woodworking novice). http://biobees.com/build-a-beehive-free-plans.php. If I get any honey to sell this year – my daughter is getting married and my first 40 lbs goes for the wedding favors – I am going to spend my profits on 1 by 12 boards and make my own top bar hive next winter.
 

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Trying to find a good plan for a top bar hive. I have looked at these plans, but all seem to be lacking one thing or another. Some really nice plans that lack the 60 degree angle, others have no screened bottom or no plans for angled roof or legs, etc. Any other ideas or plans? Thank you.
 

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Trying to find a good plan for a top bar hive. I have looked at these plans, but all seem to be lacking one thing or another. Some really nice plans that lack the 60 degree angle, others have no screened bottom or no plans for angled roof or legs, etc. Any other ideas or plans? Thank you.
I know you've asked for "plans", but have you looked at the kit from Beeline apiary and woodenware? I LOVE mine. no drawbacks at all (but I do add a long observation window). For 2016, their kit ships to your door for about $170. Bars fit a Langstroth frame to help you get a start from another beekeeper. It comes with 2 division boards, 28 bars, screened bottom board, IPM board, & metal roof. I save the 2 boards out of the roof and use them to make a second hive. They also sell extra bars for $1 ea. You can easily buy one kit and copy it for your other ones. You can see pictures of them on my FB page.
 

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I have looked at these plans, but all seem to be lacking one thing or another. Some really nice plans that lack the 60 degree angle, others have no screened bottom or no plans for angled roof or legs, etc. Any other ideas or plans? Thank you.
I don't like legs on my hives, I have one with legs and I curse the thing. I don't use screened bottoms, so plans with screens bottoms would be a negative for me. I started with something like Phil Chandlers design. It sounds like that may be a good start for you.
 
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