For those that don't know why!- It's to prevent the end bars from splitting when stapling if they are to dry. It's the bottom of the end bar that splits more than the top of it. Soak bottoms 20 min then take out of water to rest for a little while(20-30 min) before assembling.
That is an excellent question that I was wondering for my sideline operation. I picked up some frames, unassembled, that had been sitting up for several years last weekend. I split so many trying to assemble them, the only thing I thought to do other than soaking was to drill pilot holes. I know for you commercial guys this would not work, but I like the idea of soaking them instead.
It's all about how dry or green the wood is. If you turn your inventory of bars quickly then splitting is a small problem. If you buy too many (small trying to get the quantity discount) and take a long time to assemble then the wood will dry and splitting will be a big issue. Soaking will help but won't stop the problem.
If you are using air tools you can turn your pressure down to be just enough. Too much pressure can blow the sides out.
If you are drilling pilot holes in frames you are an artist, most commercial beeks pick a different place to refine their talent.
Type of wood probably is a contributing factor. The ones we use are constructed from Eastern White Pine.
We started assembling some frames today that had been sitting in boxes since last spring. Didn't notice any splitting. Now the supers we are assembling from last year's stock are another matter. Won't let those sit again.
When the relative humidity is 16% and the north east wind has been blowing for 3 to 7 days you will dip both ends of the top bars and end bars. The dipping even for 30 seconds is enough to make the wood spongy and not brittle. Some of the wood blocks that are used to cut the frames can have a diagonal wood grain and you know where the staple will go when the wood is dry.
Quality wooden ware pays, it does not cost.
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