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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've searched the forums but just couldn't find what I'm looking for so I'm throwing it out to hear what people have to say. I've always been a wedge guy because that's the way I learned but I'm curious about the pros and cons of using either wedge top boards or grooved top boards. So let's hear it. BTW my son has already given me all of the wedgy jokes he can think of.
 

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I used wedge with wax foundation and hooks. I use grooved with plastic foundation - it is much quicker to be able to snap foundation into place.
 

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I buy all wedge, because I am mostly foundation-less. The wedge helps me to pin in just a little strip of of wax foundation or if I decide to use a full wax foundation.

I have used a little of the plastic foundation in which case the grooved does make more sense.
 

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I could be wrong but I think the wedge in conjunction with crimped wire foundation eliminates the need to wire the foundation after it is installed. Obviously plastic foundation does not have to be wired.
 

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I could be wrong but I think the wedge in conjunction with crimped wire foundation eliminates the need to wire the foundation after it is installed. Obviously plastic foundation does not have to be wired.
The wedge does nothing to stabilize the center of the foundation panel which still needs cross wiring or at the very least support pins in sidebars.(especially so in deeps) The hooks only keep the foundation from sliding down.
 

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I am not sure what you mean by hooks. The bent wire at the top of the foundation is supported by the wedge. The wire supports the comb from sagging when full of honey. Mediums do not need cross wires in my neck of the woods. And if the deeps are used for the brood chamber they do not need cross wires.
 

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I use grooved - and foundationless in all medium boxes - no starter strip.
Charlie

12 hives zone 5
 

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Acebird says you do not need crosswiring on deep brood combs so take it for what it is worth. I don't like dealing with warped and interfering combs so I crosswire all my wax foundation. If you work many hives strung with vertical wired wax and no crosswiring you will know why.

Incidentally hooks are the name of what Ace refers to as "the bent wire at the top of the foundation"

Wedge top frames are a bit more versatile as has been mentioned though grooved top and bottom are a bit easier to put plastic into.
 

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I find wedgetop a little more useful as for reasons posted. You can use them for foundationless, don't even need to secure the cleat in the groove, just tap it in with a mallet or small hammer and good to go. I haven't any issues using wired/hooked foundation for frames w/o additional support but you do have to be careful as sometimes you get those shifty combs....
 

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I speak as a hobbyist. Don't put the foundation in the frame until you are ready to put the frames in the hive. Straighten the foundation before you put it in the frame if it is warped. Once the bees draw the comb it will not bow. Deep brood comb is stronger because of the cocoons. None of the deep brood frames I got from my nuc supplier had cross supports and he has been keeping bees 40 years or better. Mark, do you cross wire your frames?
 

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The advice not to hang foundation in advance could be rather inconvenient. As far as straightening the panels you will find that often loosens the vertical wires. They are not always well centered in the wax. The vertical wires may appear to have no curve tension as you lift sheets out of the flattened stack they shipped in but as it warms up and hangs relaxed, tensions in the wire take the panel into a curve. Inherent wow in the panel varies from batch to batch of foundation so it is possible to find exceptions to the wisdom of cross wiring.

My advice about advice is to try to assess whether the person giving it has "been there, done that"........ or not.

In the picture you can see some of the vertical wires are almost exposed; if you start trying to straighten that stuff it pops loose and the bees will often chew around it. This batch of frames I experimented with just using two cross wires and a few later showed warping between the larger gaps. I now use all four wires on deeps. Some people also weave the foundation through the wires so they alternate. I may try that on the next batch to see how much extra work it is. Straight hanging foundation is a lot easier to work with.
 

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The vertical wires may appear to have no curve tension as you lift sheets out of the flattened stack they shipped in but as it warms up and hangs relaxed, tensions in the wire take the panel into a curve.
What ever tensions are in the wire they are not going to be effected by ambient temperature changes. Because the foundation is a rolled product the stresses are in the wax and wax is affected by small temperature changes. The wax may also be affected by moisture changes. Normalize your foundation by working in a warm room, maybe leave it in a warm space prior to straightening it if you even have to. If you work with foundation in a cool room you most certainly will pop the wires.

Sometimes it helps to have other experiences besides beekeeping.
 

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> Sometimes it helps to have other experiences besides beekeeping.

Perhaps.

Note that Ace himself has experienced bowed foundation and says that wiring that foundation would be better:

I have frames with foundation that were made 3 years ago and my only complaint is that the changes in temperature and moisture cause the foundation to bow. If you wire or string the frames it is less of an issued.
:gh:

(click the blue arrow in the quote box to see the original post/thread)




Also, a certain member has repeatedly complained that my quoting only a portion of an earlier post is "taking it out of context" and changes the meaning of the original words. :eek: I wish to draw your attention to the Forum Rules regarding quoting:
Quoting. Don't quote back entire messages in your reply. While this board allows you to "quote" (i.e. include) messages when you reply to them, very rarely do you ever need to quote the entire message from a previous post. Simply quote the relevant portion and cut out the rest.

http://www.beesource.com/forums/misc.php?do=showrules
Please no more complaints about my quoting. I'm just following Barry's instruction! :lookout:
 

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What ever tensions are in the wire they are not going to be effected by ambient temperature changes. Because the foundation is a rolled product the stresses are in the wax and wax is affected by small temperature changes. The wax may also be affected by moisture changes. Normalize your foundation by working in a warm room, maybe leave it in a warm space prior to straightening it if you even have to. If you work with foundation in a cool room you most certainly will pop the wires.

Sometimes it helps to have other experiences besides beekeeping.
Man o Man! The warping tensions are not in the wax; it is in the virtical crimp wires! The wax holds the wires straight but slowly creeps as the wires exert their pent up force. The wax is even softer and flows easier at brood nest temperature than at room temperature.

You are absolutely correct about the benefit of having other experience, but only if the conclusions reached were accurate.

Back to the wedge topbars. The wedges get enough grip on even unhooked virtical wired or even totally unwired wax foundation to keep the upper part of the sheet lined up but horizontal stability and further vertical support is best provided by horizontal or diagonal cross wiring.
 

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Thin foundation and wireing drives me insane. I tried it when I first started beekeeping and quickly thought it was for the birds. Maybe I was doing it wrong. I tried foundationless, but that dosen't work reliably in deeps.

I find it still slightly painful to fork out the $$ for rite cell. Painfull, until I quickly pop it into assembled frames and never have issues with it in or out of the hive. Then it seems worth twice the price (Don't tell MannLake I said that!)

Black rite cell is Just my preference:) Groved bars please.

Staple, Staple, Staple, Staple, Snap, DONE!



I tried wedge frames and a half sheet of rite cell. It worked, but the time it took to fiddle fart around to install it, it wasn't worth the savings of being able to stretch my rite cell twice as far. But I do 1000+ frames a year-so someone with less frames to make might want to try it. Someone called this my 'Yin and Yang' frame. LOL. True. My thoughts were when making them, the bees would use the 5.4 cells above for mostly honey storage and close to 4.9 foundationless below for brood. But found they frequently made very large cells below the brake of foundation. Placement in the hive was very critical to get small cell natural built.



(If you are interested in making these Yin and Yang frames, let me know. I can tell you exactly how I installed them to be secure.)

If you look at the two photos above, you can see in the natural comb they leave a space on the bottom two corners for access. So when I get my foundation, I put about 10 sheets on the miter saw and cut off the corners. Only takes a few minutes to do a whole case. Gives the queen easy access everywhere. Afer using followerboards and seeing how reluctant bees are to cross a solid barrier, I started doing this. I feel it makes a difference.




https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miller-Compound-HoneyBees-and-Agriculture/256954971040510
 

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Lauri, I have to agree with the labor savings of plastic. Black too, as it makes it much easier for my old eyes to spot eggs. I find with these bees and our cool weather that plastic foundation is not good to put in along with wax as the bees definitely do a lot of cogitating before they reluctantly draw it out and it is second season before the ends and corners get drawn to full depth. Whole boxes of it no problem; no choice, no dithering I guess.

I have never really tried to highspeed my frame making but after the novelty wears off I sure found I was coming to resent to time to do wired wax frames. A persons attitude sure is different depending on whether they are doing things to kill time or save time!:D
 

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Well said Crofter, I've been busy these last few years to get the majority of my equipment built while I still am enthusiastic. Once it becomes a chore with pressure, it's not as enjoyable. I know from personal experience of a life time of trying to do things way beyond a single person's ability..but try to do them anyway. Enthusiasm is a priceless motivator.

Ask me how hard it is to climb a cliff, and how hard it is to climb that same cliff when an elk is bulging on top during archery season.

I do enjoy woodworking though. It's the reason I got into bees in the first place. But I like to be efficient and the frames shown above work well for me. Quality, reliability and performance.

Time consuming experiments and custom projects are for the winter months:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
wow got a lot more information than I thought I would. Unless I missed it I don't think we heard from anyone that uses grooved frames with a full sheet of wax. I'm not sure how it would stay up unless you cross-wired and used melted wax in the groove. Speaking of which I tried the melted wax one winter because I was having a problem with blowouts in the center of the top of the foundation. I used old comb, cappings and bad sheets that I had that I melted down and then stuck the top of the foundation to the wedge. It takes some time when making up frames and I could never make that crazy tool the supply houses sell for doing just that work. The foundation stayed up but the ladies seemed to shy away from the frames with the melted wax. Can't figure out why - no chemicals no nothing just beeswax.
 

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Heat the edge of the sheet so you can fold over about an eighth of an inch of the sheet and tuck the doubled edge into the groove of the top bar; the double thickness will nearly fill the groove, then take an old paintbrush and some molten beeswax and dab some wax along both sides of the foundation. (thanks Joseph Clemens) Somewhere in a clipping from an old book it was shown to use very fine strips of wood (toothpick size) dipped in molten beeswax, lifted out with tweezers and pressed against the foundation. I think the strips were rather vertical and in lieu of wiring. Might have been a hundred years old but struck my fancy.

Sometimes nice to have comb without too much wire if you are going to cut out queen cells or do cut cell but it sure is delicate at first drawing if you have no support.
 

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