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Discussion Starter #1
I've been keeping bees for a few years now and am plenty satisfied with the setup I have and the foundation and frames I have been using. But, I am interested in trying foundation less frames as well. I don't want to start the argument about whether natural cell size will fix all my mite problems (I don't believe it will) but I feel it has some benefits to the hive.

Anyway, where is the best place to buy foundation less frames. Do they make frames designed for this that have a triangular top bar. Do I just uses regular frames and skips the foundation. (Since I'll be putting them between drawn frames, I probably won't have a ton of trouble getting them drawn correctly.) if sou. Is there a particular design that works best?

I'd appreciate advice from anyone with experience. Thanks I'm advance.
 

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I believe the supplier, Kelley, sells Top Bars for foundationless frames, designed with a comb guide. Though I don't believe they currently sell End Bars that are 1-1/4" wide; if you were also looking to run narrower frames. If you did choose to use narrow End Bars, you'd also want to trim the Top Bars down to 7/8" width, so there is an appropriate bee space between the Top Bars, when the frames are in the hives.

I make my own wooden foundationless frames - that way, I control the design and everything else about the frames.

Below is an image linked to SketchUp plans of one of my foundationless designs -->
 

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I run mostly foundationless. When dropping between two drawn frames they don't need anything.
With groove top bars I glue a paint stir stick or Popsicle sticks in the groove. Most of mine are wedge type with the wedge glued on edge.
 

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Mann Lake frames made for foundation. Pop the wedge piece off, run a bead of glue in there, and jam it in. I use a hammer to get the piece in there sometimes. Once the bees draw wax + the wood glue, that sucker's not going anywhere. Slide your frames in-between drawn comb in the broodnest and you'll get really nice comb. As I am sure you're aware, make sure the hive is level from side to side. It can be leaning forward for drainage, but side to side is critical.
 

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Appreciate the thread. I'm a first year newbie, and I'm curious if I can add a couple foundation less frames in with my foundation frames? Would love to test this but already have all of my gear. Maybe I can add a couple FL frames when I get to the upper supers.
 

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Adam
When you add a second box pull the third frame in from each side and move it up. Drop a foundationless frame in their place. It will be drawn 100% drone.
This will cut down drasticly on your burr comb.
Once they have these a frame dropped in the middle of the brood nest will be drawn mostly worker cell.
Frames dropped between drawn comb don't need a comb guide and can be any kind of frame.
Woody Roberts
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, this was all great advice.
I had another related question. If I use foundationless deeps in the brood nest, will they be stable or will I have trouble with breaking comb. I use mediums for the honey supers.
 

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I broke a comb of newly drawn foundation less brood last week. I was looking for the Queen and she was on that frame. I saw her, carefully laid down the frame...that was my mistake...and when I picked it up it literally disintegrated into pieces! Fortunately the Queen by then was in a marking tube. The comb was sooo soft that everywhere I touched it it dripped away like hot wax even though it was only in the mid 50s.
 

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I started to build frames like this one:

http://daveybees.wdfiles.com/local--files/frames/HomemadeFrame.jpg

They are very easy to do.

I make the wax starters warre style. It's very fast and don't need to add any groove nor buy foundation to make the starters. I'll try to use all combinations and see wich one suits me: between drawn frames, alone, with or without vertical sticks. I'll wait for good weather in order to opens the sides again next week, using empty frames this time.

I have no experience in this whatsover :)

Bye,
Cristian
 

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People handling foundationless frames need to think like a top bar hive beekeeper until they attach and harden things up. If you've used a top bar hive once then you instantly find out how you can hold and move comb without messing it up.

if you start out with foundationless completely then you will probably not learn the 'bad' habits of turning frames all around and sideways without thinking of the physics.
 
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