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I plan on building a top bar give soon. My only real quandary remains the top bar comb attachment system. There seems to be a gazillion ways to do it. My biggest concern is in using any bees wax product. First the potential for introducing disease. Second relying on bees wax as a structural attachement can fail in hot weather. So I'm looking for other ideas that are favored. Popcycle sticks in a sawn slot with carpenters glue seems easy and strong.
 

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1" wide triangular stock called "champher strip" works great. Bees take right to it. Sold at lumber yards usually in 8 ft lengths. Just cut to length and glue to underside of the top bars.
 

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I just built my first one and ripped 45 deg champfer myself the width of the bars and glued/tacked them. Using rough sawed spruce and a rip blade with 16 TPI on a worm drive skillsaw seemed to make a good rough surface to attach. No wax needed. I got bees a couple weeks later and they drew out 4 perfect combs in a week with good ones starting at each end. I only start to study bee keeping and make a hive a month ago so take it with a grain of salt. Getting the queen out before they built crooked comb around her helped.

4 of these in a week

Found the queen on the last one which was also starting straight


Granted, I can rip chamfer while using my finger as a guide on the front of the saw and don't even measure, chalk line or whatever. I used to do it for concrete forms so it's second nature. I recommend doing what you are comfortable with using your tools and skillset.
 

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popsicle stick attaching works great too.. they build on both sides and attach to the underside of the bar for a lot of surface area. with all top bar combs you just need to be careful about not tipping them sideways. and yep, adding any wax is a waste of time/effort they don't need it.
 

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try this. i live in Florida and was concerned with the heat and wax combo. what i did was cut a strip of Plasticell about 3/4" and cut a grove in the bar and inserted it in. works great, strong and easy to do.

100_0156.jpg better picture, you can see it in the top corners.

100_0109.jpg
 

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I did this: cut a shallow kerf down the middle of the bar, and glue (wide ...) popsicle sticks into them using white wood-glue. The kerf's as wide as the stick, and half as deep.

In addition, and before cutting the board into strips, I also made a perpendicular saw-kerf about 1-1/2 inches from the end of the bar, which are about three inches longer than the space between the sides of the box. This makes a little slot into which the up-turned edge naturally "clicks," making it easy to line-up the bars.

Keep the leftover scrap pieces as variously-wide spacers. The entire area formed by the bars must be continuous and closed. You'll need the spacers for that, and, as the humidity in the air rises and falls, you'll need those slightly different widths.

I don't remember exactly how wide the bars are, but they're all the same width.
 

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I spent HOURS cutting about 70 bars with triangle guides on a table saw... all one piece.

I spent significantly less hours cutting over 100 bars made from 1x lumber into 1.25" and 1.5" bars, then kerf down the middle, then glue in tongue depressors. I will say it seems like they follow the triangle guides better. But they follow the tongue depressors really well too. I think it's more about setting them up to succeed than what your actual guide is. Give them a level hive and a decent edge of some sort and you should be OK.

I don't know if bee race makes much of a difference, but our hive of Italians has made a royal mess of the comb. I made the mistake of spacing out the broodnest a bit with some blank bars and they built the honey bands at top of the combs into extremely wide disasters. I did the same thing in our Carniolan hives multiple times and they haven't built a single one out too wide. There is a still a pretty significant mess I need to deal with in the Italian hive whenever I get the help and the gumption to do it. We currently have the messed up stuff isolated between straight combs and our blank bars between straight ones as well.

Tongue depressor guide that we've moved from a TBH into a deep Lang:
IMG_20140719_143735_468.jpg

Tongue depressor guide that we've moved from a TBH into a deep Lang:
IMG_20140719_143503_409.jpg

Fully built comb on a one piece bar:
IMG_2544.jpg

Bottom line is, I don't know if the one piece bars with guides were "worth" the extra time invested compared to the tongue depressor guides. One thing I will say is that the tongue depressors are significantly more fragile. So if you're planning on tossing bars around or tossing them into a box when you're not using them you need to be careful.
 
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