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What size wood?

2635 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Budster
Hello, I am new on the site and have been doing a lot of reading. I am looking at making my own frames and would like to know what size of wood is best and how many frames one can get from it.

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Making frames is more waste then product - its cheaper to just buy frames at about 1.00 each and build them yourself -

not saying it cant be done but its very time comsuming - and to buy lumber that has no knots and or defects is very hard to come by - best to let the big company eat the waste and just pay for there time -

you can make your own boxes, tops, bottems, and lots of other stuff but i think 90% of beeks just buy frames

hope this helps you a bit
I agree with Concrete-bees. Its easier just to buy them. I had considered it, but time and effort play a big part in calculating costs for me. At 75cents each, you can't beat it. BTW, thats for Medium.
I was just going to buy them but at 2 bucks for a 2x4 seems cheap. Plus the high school shop teacher is my friend and I can have the students build them. Another reason is there is no bee supply stores anywhere close so this should save on shipping.
I like the fact that it's cheap labor, but, frames are pretty specific......i have a great place to do all my own woodowrk, but, it wasn't worth it. If they can do it and they are good at it, then by all means....
Hello, I am new on the site and have been doing a lot of reading. I am looking at making my own frames and would like to know what size of wood is best and how many frames one can get from it.

If you are really insisting on making your own frames the best thing to do is order one, un-assembled, and then use it as a go by to make your own. That way you have the exact measurements and you will have a finished product to compare it to.

good luck to you.
If you have a table saw, a good set of dado blades and a supply of 2x cut-offs from a construction site, making lots of free frames is not rocket science. Start with the plans from the build it yourself section of this website.

Having a planer and a drill press handy makes it a piece of cake. Don't try to make one frame at a time or it will take forever. For the frame sides, you form a piece of 2x into the profile of the sides and then slice it into 3/8" width pieces as if you were slicing bread.

For the frame ends, start with a clean length of 2x10 or 2X12 planed to 1 3/8' and cut it to the length of the frame (with the grain.) Set up the dado and cut the bottom notch along the whole edge of the 2X. Reset the dado and cut the wider top notch along the full length. Then clamp a stop behind the dado blade and cut the curved tapers into the sides by pushing the 2X into the dado with the miter gauge until it hits the stop. Then with a crosscut blade, slice into 3/8" thickness. drill holes and done. You'll get enough side pieces from a 10" piece of 2x12 to make at least 10 deep frames

Use the same idea when cutting the top bars to eliminate the number of cuts and blade setups. Since I have a planer, I'll plane the 2X12 down to 1 1/16" to use as the width of the top frames and cut the top side notches across the board

I'll be making a couple hundred frames this weekend. Sure it's easy to pull out the credit card, but "free" has a certain appeal to me. Plus I enjoy the minimal labor.

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If you are going to go to all the trouble to make frames yourself, don't forget to get a good staple gun and use glue as well.

Staples and glue make a good frame last much longer.

What foundation will you use?

If using wax, then you need to drill the holes in the end bars for the wires. If using plastic, then you don't need the holes.

Something tells me though if you make your own frames you are not going to use plastic either.

Let us know how this works out for you.
Well I droped of some 2x4s to my friend with plans from this site. We will see how it goes, and I will updated when he gets them finished.
If you enjoy making your own, by all means, go for it.

I make a few in odd sizes that I might need - extra deeps, shorter in length to fit some odd equipment, that sort of thing.

The time is the biggest investment for me, and I just can't justify cutting my own frames when ready-to-assemble frames are available for as little money as they are.
I make ten frames for $3.00 out of 1 by 10 and 1 by 12. Frame ends are more work so now I buy them by the thousand. Dadant frame plans are available here or I will send them when I get back from Honduras.
:no: Shame on you. High school kids need to learn, not manufacture. If you don't think more of them, they're better off flipping burgers at the fast food joint. I hope you get what you're paying for.

Frames are an absolute bargain compared to the time, tooling and materials required to do it yourself. For even less effort, buy Pierco. If your goal is to avoid the cost of standard materials, build a top bar hive. They can be built with the same time investment as assembling standard gear and will give you a real beekeeping education.
It is not always about the best value. Some take great pride in doing for themselves. From a living green standpoint it makes good sense also to try and do what we can at home if we have woodworking inclinations. I encourage anyone to make their own woodenware that has a few tools and available wood supply at a reasonable cost. The top bars need 1 3/8 thick stock as well as the end bars which should be sliced off like slices of bread after forming.

Good luck,

Actually, making equipment this winter was my way of beekeeping without bothering the peacefully clustered girls. Plus I save a ton of money. Beats working more hours at my real job.

A couple oc comments: First, Waynesgarden, excellent description of how to make frames. It make me want to buy a bunch of woodworking machines and get started.

Throrope, I think a practical project where the students had to figure out how to do it quickly and efficiently would be a valuable learning experience. Also, to do hands on learning like in a shop class you need to have something to make. If I was a student in a class like that, I would definitely prefer to work on something useful rather than some makework project.
I've been there and done that. Luckily, I still have all of my fingers and thumbs! I'd venture to say that if you don't have several machines already set up (2 - 3 tablesaws, 1 with dado, rip fences all set, etc) a router table or something for the side frame board, etc) its somewhat a waste of time, in my own humble opinion. You need to have many machines all set and take an assembly line approach.

Lets put it this way, if you aren't doing many, many frames, it would be like starting up a 12 row corn picker to go pick a dozen ears of corn!

So many settings for the table saw, changing to a dado, adjusting the fence, than if your doing grooved or wedge there are so many cuts to be made. Assembly, etc!

I will finalize this with this fact, some people have more patience than me and actually enjoy doing these types of things. There is nothing wrong with that. Also, some people are somewhat strapped for money (especially in this economy) and unfortunately have more time than money due to lay-offs, etc. So, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do to get by in this world. So, if that's you, and you either want to or need to, it can be done. I had to try it myself once, as I thought it would be fun, boy was I wrong.

I used 3/4" boards either 4" or 6" wide, can't remember
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