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hi, All. I swear I researched this last night, but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. I've read Michael Bush's recommendation on using the top bar of a standard frame and affixing a comb guide to use as top bars for a TBH. I just re-read that post (on the "Using foundationless frames" page) and I think I misunderstood the first times I read it; that is, that recommendation is for going foundationless in a Langstroth hive, right? Not a TBH, per se. I realize that the bars my husband and I made are simply not good enough, and I'd like to re-do all of them -- at least get rid of the 22 they haven't used yet! I thought of simply using the top bar of a standard frame (an inexpensive option), but it looks like the actual dimensions of that bar is only about an inch wide? (Because the bees crawl between the bars to access other frames) That would mean they are too narrow, and I should just find a friend with a table saw? The circular saw just didn't do the job:eek:.
 

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hi, All. I swear I researched this last night, but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. I've read Michael Bush's recommendation on using the top bar of a standard frame and affixing a comb guide to use as top bars for a TBH. I just re-read that post (on the "Using foundationless frames" page) and I think I misunderstood the first times I read it; that is, that recommendation is for going foundationless in a Langstroth hive, right? Not a TBH, per se. I realize that the bars my husband and I made are simply not good enough, and I'd like to re-do all of them -- at least get rid of the 22 they haven't used yet! I thought of simply using the top bar of a standard frame (an inexpensive option), but it looks like the actual dimensions of that bar is only about an inch wide? (Because the bees crawl between the bars to access other frames) That would mean they are too narrow, and I should just find a friend with a table saw? The circular saw just didn't do the job:eek:.
What did you do for top bars that you think is insufficient?
 

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Yes.....a circuler saw isnt gonna do it. You'll wind up missing some fingers or worse even. Gotta bee careful. A lowcost table saw will do. You dont really need anything top end to do bee equpment on a personal level. Mines from Sears I've had for years. Cost maybe around $150? I cut the boxes and frames out just using that.
As far as frames and topbars go...yes....if using as a topbar as in a TBH then they s/b 1 3/8" wide with a wedge down the middle the bees attach the comb too. a lang frame has the topbar at 1" wide but the 2 side frame parts are 1 3/8 and thats how they work. 1 3/8 is the magic figure.
 

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> I swear I researched this last night, but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. I've read Michael Bush's recommendation on using the top bar of a standard frame and affixing a comb guide to use as top bars for a TBH. I just re-read that post (on the "Using foundationless frames" page) and I think I misunderstood the first times I read it; that is, that recommendation is for going foundationless in a Langstroth hive, right? Not a TBH, per se.

Yes. That portion is for foundationless in a Langstroth. The information on top bar hives is here:

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

>I realize that the bars my husband and I made are simply not good enough, and I'd like to re-do all of them -- at least get rid of the 22 they haven't used yet! I thought of simply using the top bar of a standard frame (an inexpensive option), but it looks like the actual dimensions of that bar is only about an inch wide?

1 1/16". You need 1 1/4" for brood and 1 1/2" for honey.

> (Because the bees crawl between the bars to access other frames)

Yes.

> That would mean they are too narrow, and I should just find a friend with a table saw?

Yes.

> The circular saw just didn't do the job

I've done it, but it takes a lot of skill and care and comes with risks... at table saw is much better. The ones in the picture on my web site I cut with a skilsaw, including the bevel. It was before I bought a cheap table saw. I think I paid $69 at Home Depot for the one I have now.

The 1 1/2" bars for honey can be cut from furring strips that don't need to be ripped at all. The 1 1/4" bars need to be ripped. The triangle can be bought as a "chamfer molding" or cut from the corner of a one by at 45 degrees.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for your fast responses! I did find chamfer molding at our local Lowe's, though not the 1.5" furring strips. I'll try the lumber supply stores and see if they carry that.

Why do I feel these bars are not sufficient? The circular saw (or, rather, our skill with it) hurt accuracy and the width of the bars varies from 1.1 - 1.25" depending on which side of the line we cut on. While technical errors such as unseen gaps that provide bees with an alternative entrance seem relatively minor:rolleyes:, properly done bars strike me as an important technical item. Even with a gabled roof, I still have boards placed over the bars to keep spaces between bars from becoming too problematic.
 

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Lowes will have 1.5 furring strips. They may call them "one by twos" but they will have them.

I believe several people are selling just bars (usually they also sell hives). Seems like Backyard Hives and Goldstar Honey Bees have them, but then there is always the issue of them being the right length...

I have measured brood comb that was 1 1/8" (30mm, 1.125") but that was the lower limit of brood comb.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I believe several people are selling just bars (usually they also sell hives). Seems like Backyard Hives and Goldstar Honey Bees have them, but then there is always the issue of them being the right length...
the last time I checked, Goldstar was selling bars in 10 packs for a bit over $80.00. Beautiful things made of cedar, cut from a single piece of wood, and buying 30 would cost more than my first hive cost, even buying all new materials! I'd rather spend the money on a table saw and do it myself. I actually enjoyed the work...and so did my husband; gave us something to do together besides watch American Idol! The end result just didn't turn out quite good enough for the long haul.
 

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Holy cow! Eight dollars a bar? That is insane! $3 or less per bar is reasonable. My cost to make a bar with new wood is less than 50 cents, it does take a bit to make them but I can knock out 30 (with a milled in wedge) in an evening no problem.
 

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Holy cow! Eight dollars a bar? That is insane! $3 or less per bar is reasonable. My cost to make a bar with new wood is less than 50 cents, it does take a bit to make them but I can knock out 30 (with a milled in wedge) in an evening no problem.
I think that I need to start selling top bars! I cut my own, and make my own triangle combs guide for about 28 cents each. Some people are really proud of their work!
 

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Our bars are 20" wide. We cut 36 1.25" bars and 36 1.5" bars from two 2x12x10'. Total cost about $18. Quite a bit of time involved, but at the prices I saw of about $100/hive for a full set of bars, I figured this was much more economical.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Backyard Hives were much less pricey, at $3.25 a bar -- but they won't fit my hive. I asked my husband for a table saw for mother's day -- he's pretty stoked:D.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Our bars are 20" wide. We cut 36 1.25" bars and 36 1.5" bars from two 2x12x10'. Total cost about $18. Quite a bit of time involved, but at the prices I saw of about $100/hive for a full set of bars, I figured this was much more economical.
I used 1x12x10 -- why 2"? Just curious -- I can see they'd insulate better and be stronger.
 

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I used to agonize over my top bars and spent a lot of time cutting and measuring and making sure they were just right, making honey bars and brood bars different widths, but I just don't have the time or patience for that any more. I now just buy 1"x2" boards, which are actually 1"x1.5". It's made my life a lot easier. Once you have comb to put the bars between, you don't need to bother with guides, either.
 

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I used 1x12x10 -- why 2"? Just curious -- I can see they'd insulate better and be stronger.
> I used 1x12x10 -- why 2"?

I believe it is because JWCarlson's bars & comb guides are a single piece of wood. See photos here:
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?295044-TBH-Build-Pics
Rader is correct on the reasoning. I have to say, all three packages have built the comb nice and straight like champs so far with the wedge design.

When I buy wood for bars I get 2x8's generally. I 2x8 is less expensive than a 1x8. I get 8 footers since they will fit in my car.
I bought 10' 1x8s to make our last batch with popcicle sticks. I'm happy with how they turned out, but I don't know how good they are compared to the one piece wedges. I had Home Depot cross cut them down to 5' to fit in my Civic on the way home from work. We made 105 bars in a couple of one hour sessions. Rip them down the 5' length to width, cut the kerf down the 5' length, cross cut to 20", and then glue in tongue depressors. We made enough for four 12 bar nucs/swarm traps plus two new 48" "Les Crowder" top bar hives. We have enough of the one piecers to start the majority of the initial broodnest on in those three hives. I figure once we have good combs there, it won't matter as much if the tongue depressor ones aren't quite as good or not because we can feed them in between good combs.

This method also left us with some very nice "spacers" that I'm currently using with a 1.5" notch cut out of for entrance reducers for top entrance. Working great.
 
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