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Discussion Starter #1
Decided to try making my own foundationless frames.
Top bars are made from smooth 2x4 cedar. Paid $12 and change for two of them. Each made 15 top bars. 32 degree angle cut on bandsaw.
The side bars are made from lath strips, because they were already 3/8" thick. $18 bought a bundle that will make 350-400 side bars. I used a 3/4 wide by 1/2 deep dado for the top and bottom of the side plate. My only real concern is I didn't make the step down on the lower part.
Is that space there so the bees can move through there or just so they don't stick frames together with propolis?
The bottom bars are all leftover 3/4" rips leftover from building boxes, bottoms, and tops. Pine, cedar,cypress, whatever was handy.

They cost about 1.00 a frame before I added glue and nails, and sooner or later I will run out of scrap big enough to make bottom bars.
This is more about me wanting to do it than saving any money.




 

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I would cut the space out of the bottom of each end board to allow the bees to traverse the frames without having to go all the way to the bottom or the top. IIRC, I cut 3/16" off each side prior to cutting to length. Cut one blade width, then shifted the fence for another 1/2 blade width.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
:)
I was saying the same thing while changing the dado blade.
The only valid reason is because I wanted to.
The sanded cedar 2x4 for top bars was where the big cost is.
I could get free scraps from work and a friend ar a local cabinet shop. Material cost would be glue and staples.
But then you factor in time spent building them and I would still be behind.

Main reason was just to do it.

Thanks, I think i will go back and make the extra cuts.
 

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Yeah, nice work Backyarder! Love the big wedge. I've wanted a good excuse to make my own too. I'd get to play with lots of my woodworking tools! But it seems way too time consuming to be worth it. Fun project though.
 

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I went with grooved for popsicle sticks vs the wedge but yours look really nice too.. i agree with shaving the side bars a bit for about half of the height. I made a whole bunch from a single 2x10 x 8' which you can get for $10 at home depot.. I made the rest to fill out more than 5 boxes of 8 frame out of free 2x4's from craigslist. Everyones situation is different.. some have more time than money.
 

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You can buy frames for 70 cents a piece. Why would you make them for a dollar?
70¢ where? I know Kelley sells them for about 83¢ each (per 100), but then you gotta pay shipping...
 

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I went with grooved for popsicle sticks vs the wedge but yours look really nice too.. i agree with shaving the side bars a bit for about half of the height. I made a whole bunch from a single 2x10 x 8' which you can get for $10 at home depot.. I made the rest to fill out more than 5 boxes of 8 frame out of free 2x4's from craigslist. Everyones situation is different.. some have more time than money.
You should set your stapler depth so that staples are driven just flush or a tad beneath the wood. I like to go deeper than flush, then put a dab of glue on the staple afterwards, when I am not in a hurry.

Also, it looks like you are stapling the top bar down from the top... might wanna put a staple UNDER the ear, parallel and angled up into the top bar. This will help keep the top bar from pulling off the end bar (though I personally haven't seen such happening, and as I use titebond III, I doubt it ever will).
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Titebond III is my go to glue for anything that has to hold up.
I had better luck with brads than staples shooting side to side.
I'm trying not to over build things, keep it quick and simple...as possible.:)
A few extra staples or brads is probably cheap insurance.
Im going to add a super of these to a couple hives this weekend and if they work out great I will come up with a plan for more.

We have no experience, but we are learning. The one thing I did not want to do is hang all of our hopes on 1 or 2 hives. It was hard to decide what kind of hive we wanted. The obvious choice was one of each. Got a great deal on some straight and clear cypress and haven't stopped yet.

Lanstroth (top and bottom entrance/sbb and solid
Top bar
Long Lang
(Maybe tackle a Warre next year)

Im up to 6 homemade hives and hope to add or make a few splits before winter. Doing a little of everything to see what we like managing and what is successful in or area. 1 purchased pkg of carniolans and the rest local swarms. My wife and i really like checking hives and working with bees together.
 

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Really, better luck with brads? I have only shot a handful of staples with my new HF stapler/nailer, but so far, not a single mis-driven staple. I have had many brads go wonky on me if they hit anything remotely hard, but usually just cut them off with my dremel then glue over the spot. I was driving my brads from the top of the top bar, but now that I have a stapler, I have switched to driving from the sides. Haven't had a top-nailed frame give way, and doubt they will, but logic dictates that it's a better method of securing based on where our forces are used lifting frames out.

Learning is what it's all about. I bought some, then made some, and then bought some cuz I was in a hurry to build and was building other wood things. I will probably build more of my own when this 100 is built and used up. I enjoy making them, getting it "just right". Haven't tried your beveled trick, I too have used popsicle sticks or scrap strips cut to fit the top bar groove.

Have fun!!
 

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Sorry, not knocking your efforts at all. I build a lot of things that don't come near justifying my investment of time or shop equipment, just because I want to. I just buy wedge top bars and rip them at 45 degrees on the table saw. I built a little sled/push stick to do them. I can run one every 10-15 seconds. I buy mine from Dadant by the 1000 lot and pick up, so no shipping and no tax on ag use items. I don't bother breaking out the wedge anymore, just rip both sides. It's faster.



 

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Discussion Starter #15
No offense taken, I'm one of those people that has to try and build it myself. My first 100 frames were from brushy mountain. I get the "Why don't you just buy it?" About most of my hobbies.

I like the push board. It looks safe, keeps hands away from the blade!
 

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Wow! all those notches and everything. with titebond/staples, ya really dont need all that. On youtube theres a guy that has an easy frame to make. Look up Ryan Bekke. "Dont get no easier than this!" his favorite saying! lol.
 

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I tried some of his stuff, Santa. Did NOT like how he cut the end bars with a router. That hurts like HECK on the fingers!!
 

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You can easily cut the end bars down to Hoffman style with a jointer (took me a year to remember I had one, even though I have to walk around it to get to the table saw!) Set for 1/8" cut and carefully push them part way through -- mark the fence so you know when to stop, or clamp a stop block on.

If you are ripping them from a 2x6 block as I do, you can cut the side before you split them, but I find it easier to drill the holes for the cross wires first, so I trim them down individually. Sort of a Zen thing, I think.

Nice frames, though.

You won't likely save any money doing them yourself, but it's a nice winter occupation.

Peter
 
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