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When I received my initial colonies and did my first inspections one thing became clear –these frames did not space themselves like the commercially available ones. The frames were a much thinner profile, had no shoulders to automatically space them, I kind of felt ripped off. Whatever I would phase them out soon enough anyway. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered that this is how the old timers did it around here, and many prominent beekeepers still do. In Europe it is also a very common practice. It definitely poses some challenges to the new beekeeper: getting spacing right, keeping the hive more level when moving it around, being more diligent when taking frames out.

Now a year later I am trying to find an easy way to build equipment, and cheap. The Hoffman style end bars could be made out of a 1x10, and milled out with a little ingenuity; but I already have a bunch of 1” rough pine. Unfortunately all my straight sided frames are currently in the hives overwintering so I have no template to work from. In addition there are absolutely no plans or diagrams for this style of frame on the internet.

Mulling the idea a little more I figured out a more practical solution for these styles of frames: those that are interested in narrow frame beekeeping! Or even anyone interested in playing around with frame spacing. It also would be quite simple to mill the top bars for foundationless. Let’s decide that you are done messing around with spacing and these frames: you haven’t ripped any of your equipment to be too small so its reusable; and these frames work beautifully in a nine frame honey super configuration and are an absolute dream to uncap and extract (no end bars to work around).

Just a possible idea for those that like to play around, and are on a budget! If anyone has any plans for these bad boys feel free to post em!
 

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A few years ago, I made a few frames where the Top Bar, Bottom Bar, and both End Bars, were cut, all from one by, or 3/4" wide stock. The Top Bar was cut about 1" deep, and the ears/lugs cut to be 3/8" thick, and in, long enough to give the 3/8" thick End Bars, a place to be fastened through and into the Top Bars, while leaving the ears/lugs to protrude 5/8". Those 3/4" wide and 3/8" thick End Bars are glued and fastened through and into the ends of the Top Bars, also down through the Top Bars and into the top ends of the End Bars. The 3/4" wide and 3/8" thick Bottom Bars are cut to fit between the inner sides of the End Bars, where they are fastened with glue and staples. I also cut a groove down the center of the underside of the Top Bars, to receive foundation and fastened a piece of 4.9 mm beeswax foundation, held in place with molten beeswax and horizontal wires.

One of these combs is still being used in one of my hives. The comb is very nice, straight and fills the frame. When empty it is one of the very lightest frames. It is always a little bit more of a challenge to use, because I must always be mindful of spacing it properly, and properly spacing the combs that are adjacent to it. It certainly makes me thankful for Hoffman self-spacing frames.

I am amazed that the bees have never yet used burr comb to fasten this comb inappropriately. I have been thinking of trying another batch of these extremely narrow gauge frames, but with spacers attached to the ears/lugs, instead of any other location on the frames - a design modification I've been thinking about, lately - because they are the completely opposite way to have End Bars. My primary End Bars are rectangular, with parallel sides, preventing the bees from having access to the combs from their outside edges. Only allowing access at top and bottom. These very narrow frames with spacing provided by Top Bar ears/lugs, would allow unfettered access to the combs at Top, Bottom, and both Ends. I am curious, if this additional comb access axis, would be beneficial.
 
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