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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Normally frames aren't worth the time and work, but I had to make some mini frames for a quad mini mating nuc I'm trying to add to my stock of mating nucs. When I have made frames in the past I used my bandsaw or my router table to make the relief cuts on the lower side bars. The bandsaw cuts were inconsistent and rough, the router table was slow. So after thinking there has to be a better way :scratch:here is the idea I hit on.

Here are the supplies I needed.
  1. zero clearance plywood insert for a table saw.
  2. two 6" x 1-1/4" x 5/8" boards (approximate dimensions, I used scraps from making the top bars)
  3. A 3/8" thick board for a spacer (I used a rejected end bar)
  4. Pencil and small square.
  5. Dado blade.
  6. An already made end bar

First I glued the boards together with the 3/8 spacer between them as shown.

Sidebar-Jig-Needs.jpg

I did not clamp it tight since I wanted to let the glue add a few thousandths of an inch to the gap so an end bar could easily slide between. I used Titebond Quick and Thick so I wouldn't have to wait a long time for glue to cure. I was careful to make sure I would not have glue squeeze out in the gap.

Sidebar-Jig-AlignmentMark1.jpg

After the glue cured enough to hold the assembly together I inserted an already made end bar and made a mark where the end of the relief cut ends. I extend the mark down the sides of the glued assembly.

I installed a dado blade in the table saw configured for 1/2" wide, then inserted a plywood zero clearance insert into the saw throat and raised the dado blade until it is 1/8" above the insert, creeping up on the height so I didn't overshoot. Then I made a line across the insert where the saw blade teeth descend below the the surface of the zero clearance insert.

Sidebar-Jig-AlignmentMark2.jpg

Next step was to lower the dado blade, counting the number of turns so I could return it to height later. I removed the zero clearance insert and glued the fixture to the surface of the insert with the slot centered side to side over the dado clearance cut and aligned the pencil marks.

After the glue dried I reinstall the insert, turned on the table saw, and raised the dado blade back to height. This step was done with the saw on because the 1/2" wide dado blade has to plunge 1/8" into the alignment fence with the narrower gap.

Now it was fast, easy, and finger safe to set the end bar blanks on the zero clearance insert and plunge them into the jig until it stopped, pull it out, flip it over, and do the other side. The fixture keeps everything aligned and the ouch points are buried safely below the surface.

Sidebar-Jig-CuttingRelief.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Finished end bar.

Sidebar-Jig-FinishedSideBar.jpg

It goes fast with this jig. A few minutes later: side bars for 30 mini frames.

Sidebar-Jig-AFewMinutesLater.jpg
 

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Clever, I usually use a joiner with a stop. Another thing that makes it safer for me is that I do them before cutting them to width or length. It is one of the first steps, I then chop saw them apart.
As I get older I find the jig is well worth the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Those are itty bitty. What size frame is that you are making?
Those are frames for mini queen mating nucs. They are medium frame height but the top bars are less than half the size, 6-5/16" inside width. The smaller frame size was the only reason I was making my own frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All my current queen mating nucs are two frame deeps. Kind of like this. The advantage is frame compatibility; I can switch out frames with any of my brood boxes. However I need more mating nucs and I decided to try a quad mini mating nuc, like this. Although the mini mating nucs use a different frame, they aren't totally incompatible with a Langstroth hive. Two frames can be clipped together and placed in a hive, and the quad mini is in a medium box that is divided into four chambers so it can fit on a hive stack. The advantage that the mini users claim is that you only need about 300 to 500 bees per mini to get a queen mated, so your resource demand for mating queens drops dramatically.
 

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The advantage that the mini users claim is that you only need about 300 to 500 bees per mini to get a queen mated, so your resource demand for mating queens drops dramatically.
600 for a foam mini...(three 4"x4" frames) probably closer to 900 for your bigger nucs. My 1/2 shallow 3 framers struggle with just 1 cup (600) its a bit much space for them
 
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