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Newbie and embedding wire in natural foundation

1354 Views 31 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  moussy
Ok. I got my first piece of wired foundation secured in my wedge/bottom groove medium frame, but then tried to set it on fire while embedding it. The first try blew the circuit breaker on my Betterbee device. The second attempt was too long because the wire in the middle doesn’t get warm enough. Try just little taps to the wires at the end of the frame?
I am using an embedding board and am pressing lightly on the middle of the foundation as I make contact with the two ends.
Can I try a solder iron to each side instead?

Also, I think it was Crofter who mentioned he uses a pair of channel locks to put the nails into the top wedge to secure the foundation. This worked like magic and no misfires with my hammer into the comb. Thank you!
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Just hand pressing of the comb sheet is a crude way to do it. Probably work with a very mild application of current so you have more feel and observation of the progress. You need to make yourself an embedding wand that has multiple pressure fingers. I will see if I can dig up some of my pics and will post them. It is much more effective if you can bed approx to middle of sheet and not leave any holes. Holes are an invitation to drone brood!
 

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The current on time should be about 3 or 4 seconds. You may have to put some resistance in the circuit to slow it down. I have an old battery charger that on the 2 amp range is about right. Are the kinks in your crimp wiring oriented properly?
 

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I embed against a flat surface on my frame jig. The individual fingers press the wire in. Since the factory embedded crimp wire sometimes protrudes it will hold the transverse wires up. The crosswires should be embedded about middle of the wax; sometimes protruding thru the back..
The pressure fingers are cut from metal roofing. It has enough spring for a pressure finger. The electrical contacts touch just inside the frame sidebars.

edit. I see the current short circuited through the first and second vertical wires at the top of your second picture.
 

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Yes you do need a warm place to work or you shatter the wax foundation. Nicely wired wax foundation is a thing of beauty but it is a bit of a challenge getting the act all together. Pretty time consuming unless you are well set up and organized. Plastic foundation has pretty well taken over.
Below is a pic of something else that has great eye appeal but few people do it anymore. Caning!
 

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So my first set up is always destined to fail after hitting the first few verticals wires?
If you are sending current from one end of your crosswiring to the other end of it, yes that is susceptible to taking short cuts through the verticals. It would be ok with unwired plain wax foundation. Again the problem of applying even pressure throughout the whole area of the frame. The foundation will trampoline with the pressure, complicating the situation. The pressure bar with flexible fingers pushing on a single span of wire, with the foundation backed up by a flat surface below, is the way to go.

If I had only a few to do or wanted to embed in a non standard width frame etc., I would resort to the method I used for the zig zag wires on that Dadant depth frame pictured. Two pencil sized probes + and - , one in each hand that can contact and press on the wires at 6 or 8" intervals and observe the wire sag into the wax; foot control switch. the pressure bar has a finger contact switch as seen in the pic.
 

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The embedder shown has fixed pressure contacts and too far apart; no flex for irregularity induced by factory vertical wires. A battery has far too high a potential current output. I would put some resistance in circuit like one or more 1157 tail light bulbs.(not LED ones). Experiment with an 18" length of wire between two nails, not one of your built frames. ;)
 

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I think I could make something workable from those instructions; I like the idea that it would incrementally embed individual sections of the cross wire as you rocked it across the frame. Using a number of bulbs additivley from one to 4 or more should be able to tune the heat and speed you have to travel across the frame. I :love: it!
 

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Yes, keeping flexible pressure on till after the wax has cooled around the wire can be an issue. With some lots of foundation, the embedded vertical wires leave a bit of hills and valleys surface.
 

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If you are both stubborn and observant you will get it figured out. Re Rolands offered visit; don't "look that gift horse in the teeth"!

I played around with the spur embedder and dismissed it. Problem is you have to have the wax plenty warm or you risk shattering comb to vertical wire bond. It does not embed the transverse wire deeply and the wax does not heal over the transverse wire like it does when the resistance heated wire is pushed down into it and recongeals above the wire. With resistance heating when you get pressure, heat and timing just right you will often see some of the wire peeking through on the reverse side especially so if you are crimping the cross wire as you appear to be doing. I have had the spur embedded wire come loose. If you use that process do not take your freshly embedded frames out to store a 20 below shed. The wire and the wax have enough difference in expansion to pop them loose and the bees often do not incorporate them well, but chew a hole instead.

I see in one of your pics that you are alternating transverse wires. Some batches of vertical wired foundation have a lot of memory in the vertical wires and may want to curve. On deeps especially you may want to put the top and bottom wire on one side of the sheet and the two middle wires on the opposite side of the curve. Some batches lie nicely flat others really need attention. It has already been mentioned to correct hook wires to a true 90 deg. bend. Warm the foundation above room temp. to prevent shattering the bond with the wax. Down by the wood stove is my foundation installing spot.
 
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