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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Shallow supers are 5 11/16" tall holding shallow frames that are 5 3/8" tall leaving a beespace that is 5/16" (low end of standard).

Medium supers are 6 5/8" tall holding frames that are 6 1/4" tall leaving a beespace that is 3/8" (high end of standard)

Deep supers are 9 5/8" tall holding frames that are 9 1/8" tall leaving beespace that is 1/2" (supposed to be a no-no).

What am I missing here? Is there a reason that deep supers are 9 5/8" tall rather than 9 1/2" tall? Why doesn't the 1/2" space between stacked frames lead to burr comb?

Would appreciate any wisdom on this beginner question...

-fafrd
 

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Because a one by ten at the time of that standardization was 9 5/8" wide. They have since shrunk to where they are usually only 9 1/4" wide now. Deep frames used to be 9 1/4" but in recent years the boxes have been shrinking until they are often 9 1/2" and the frames have shrunk unitl they are often 9 1/8". You are correct that this is a mess and makes a mess. The "proper" size is a 9 5/8" box with 9 1/4" frames.

But if we are going to mess with this standard, then the NEW proper size should be 9 1/4" box with a 9" frame in order to make them as close as we can to the current size while making them compatible with the current width of standard lumber. But it will probably not happen in my lifetime. Standards are valuable and lose their value if you change them all the time...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the clarification and the history, Michael. I feel better about not having missed some basic lessons early in my beekeeping education :)

I'm going to hazard a guess that with all of the plastic frames (foundation and drawn) that have emerged the past several decades, that the current 'shrunk' frame size standards are here to stay (9 1/8").

And since it looks much easier to build your own supers than to build your own frames, I'm going to either build my own hive bodies to a dimension of 9 1/2" or alternatvely, plane down any off-the-shelf hive bodies from 9 5/8 to 9 1/2".

I know that you use all mediums and so this is a non-issue for you (and an additional argument to settle on mediums as a standard frame rather than deeps).

Have you ever used larger frame sizes such as Dadant Deeps or double deeps? Any opinion on the best size for those larger frames?

-fafrd
 

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Hi,
Most of my boxes have the frames almost even with the box bottoms maybe 1/16" up. The tops have about a 1/4" space above the frames.
Get you're frames before you build you're boxes so you can get the bee space right.

1/4"-3/8" bee space I think 3/8" is optimum.
 

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Be aware that wood shrinks over time and that your 9 5/8" deep supers will be the correct height in ten years of so.
 

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>Have you ever used larger frame sizes such as Dadant Deeps

Yes. I usually have one or two hives on Dadant deeps at any given time.

> or double deeps?

I have not done frames that are double deep, only hives that are two deeps for the brood...

> Any opinion on the best size for those larger frames?

Standards are hard to get away from. A standard Dadant deep is 11 1/4" for the frame and 11 5/8" for the box on a 3/8" to 3/4" deep bottom board. Since you never stack the boxes, you could easily make them out of a one by twelve (11 1/4") and set them on a 3/4" deep bottom board and have sufficient space, but you wouldn't have any bottom space if you set the box off onto something...

Although I have had the Dadant deeps for some years, and they have done better than two deeps, they have not done any better than all mediums. With deeps the queen hesitates to move up. With Dadant deeps she pretty much doesn't move up but doesn't need to. With mediums she has to and doesn't hesitate to.
 

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Just a thought; the broader the board the more shrinkage so that if you cut to 9&5/8 you could easily end up with 9&1/2 anyway. With say 6&5/8 it is much less likely to shrink a full 1/8". Hard to add that back after the frames are hanging out the bottom.

Ooops od already said it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all for the responses.

Would not have thought about wood shrinkage, though between having burr comb due to 1/2" spacing for the first 10 years and then having everything be perfect for the next 10+ years, versus having everything be perfect for the first 10 years and then having to deal with propolis or adding a 1/8" shim for the next 10+ years, I would think the latter is the better way to go.

Do most beekeepers go with 9 5/8" supers and if so, is burr comb common? I undrestand fom Michael's post that this is not an issue for the bottommost hive body, only for those deep hive bodies stacked on top of the bottom layer.

I've read a bunch of places that bee-space is 1/4" - 3/8". Assuming that is correct, wouldn't any eventual shrinkage of a 9 1/2" super to 9 3/8" just result in reduction of the beespace from the 'upper limit' of 3/8" to the 'lower limit' of 1/4"?

Have to admit that the concept of wood changing dimensions over time is not one that had occured to me before. Are there other parts of a bee hive where wood shrinkage is a problem (ie: the frames)? Are there other problems associated with dimensions changing that need to be worried about such as sagging in the middle of the frames?

-fafrd
 

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I get dizzy from these inch fractions. Love metric system.
 

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>I've read a bunch of places that bee-space is 1/4" - 3/8" . . .

fafrd, sounds like you may have an "understanding" of "tolerances" :)

Think about how you might make something w/ a 1/4" beespace, and as time goes by, things shrink, things get covered w/ wax and/or propolis, etc., and the space "grows" to 3/8" (or maybe just 5/16) :)
 

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There is a minor benefit though. In my few hives the bees tend to put drone comb in the spaces between the bottom and top bars of stacked deeps - forcing me into drone comb removal every time I remove a deep.:lpf: Adrian.
 
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