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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have been thinking about trying a nuc in the spring with the reduced frame spacing in the brood box that will allow 11 frames to a standard 10 frame box. There are supposedly quite a few benefits but I want to see what the bees opinion is!

Since I was starting from scratch I decided to build some of the top bars with an integral starter strip for foundationless comb as in the pics below. I will create wedge bar configuration on some tops, to be able to use standard wired wax foundation. Many of the standard component dimensions need changing to preserve bee space and maintain adequate dimensions of the corner intersection parts.

The slide box for the table saw allows gang cutting of the dados but exact uniformity of stock and tight jigging would be essential to get tight, no hassle assembly with no splitting of ears of side bar

[attachment=1:24w2aiou]gang dado slide box.JPG[/attachment:24w2aiou][attachment=2:24w2aiou]foundationless top bar.JPG[/attachment:24w2aiou]s.
 

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1 1/4 is wide for brood, fine for honey, 1 1/16 is standard, 1 inch will be better for brood with 11 frames in a 10, anything over 1 1/16 is tight or too wide for a radial extractor
 

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ABK, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he is talking 1 1/4 in. wide end bars, while you are talking width of top bar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Top and bottoms are 15/16 wide and endbars are 1 1/4" wide.
Too bad I did not have some standard dimension parts to compare. Everything is approximately 1/8 inch narrower. The dado in top of end bar is 3/4" and is 5/8 in the bottom. That leaves the ears a bit dainty but I did not want to reduce the main part of the top bar under the dadoes to less than the 1/2 X 3/4" I am left with. That area I see as a potential week point with this modification but I dont know how to get around it handily. I want to see if the bees will make less burr and bridge comb and less drone comb if they are kept to minimal spacing. Brood hives spaced out 9 in a ten frame box sure get creative! We will see what they do with 11. Any predictions?
 

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factory bottom bars used to be 3/4 by 3/8 by 17 3/4, last few years you can get 1 by 3/8 by 17 3/4, I make my bottom bars 1 by 7/16 by 17 3/4
factory top bars are 1 1/16 by 3/4 by 19, or lately 1 1/16 by 7/8 by 19
factory end bars are dadoed 7/8 on top and 3/4 on bottom, they break more often with less material
I have drawings/plans if you wish.
 

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another misconception..

there is no 'engineering enforced standard' dimensions to any factory produced part you might wish to buy relative to beekeeping. if you buy frames from kelleys or dadant or mann lake the dimensions of the frame parts will all be somewhat different. the same goes for the hive bodies (which often leads to some frustration and confusion in regards to mixing equipment from different sources).

I think what Crofter is suggesting is what years ago was called shaving the frames*. Years ago (maybe 25 years back) a fellow by the name of Hoover promoted this idea in the ABJ. Charles Marazz (sp likely wrong) then had lot of fun in his regular column playing with mr hoover like a cat might play with a mouse. this game went back and forth for quite some time but eventually the perception was established that Mr Hoover's ideas was based on very little experience and a large ego.

*if you really wanted to do this.... go to a commercial beekeeper with a badly aligned power uncapper and the frames will be shaved down for you already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
tecumseh; yes it is interesting to follow some debates from a neutral seat and watch the cherry picking of points to either support or discredit the original claim; sometimes that falls short of being decisive and "ad hominen" attacks are pressed into service. Much resource is wasted saving that concept "face"!

I would like to see if I can get bees to draw some of those picture perfect frames of natural comb; such engineering by bugs entirely by instinct can be rather humbling.

If tighter frame spacing does not do some of the things claimed for it, it is easy to simply spread them to regular spacing. It was interesting to make up the jigs to turn these out and now I only need changes of stops and dado adjustment to make 1 3/8" frames. Unless you made long runs of each item and had multiple saw setups, far too much time is spent in change over for it to be practical.
 

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:goodpost:

I especially like this...'I would like to see if I can get bees to draw some of those picture perfect frames of natural comb; such engineering by bugs entirely by instinct can be rather humbling.'

I would guess if all you have invested is a bit of time and material not much can be lost no matter how your little experiment turns out. For myself almost everything I do with the bees is in someways an experiment which often times means replicating something someone else has already done just to see if the end results is somewhat the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Natural comb.

I finally got around to actually putting one of those frames in for the bees to have a look at. I stuck it in between a fully drawn out and one that was drawn on the facing side. Two days later they are off to a good start. Perfectly centred on the top ridge and they are incorporating the cross wiring I did. It looks to be all drone sized though and I am not surprised as I have been cutting out the drone comb they have been throwing up here and there.
I may try raising a few queens and have to depend on my own drones as I dont believe there are any feral or kept bees around. If that doesnt happen I will uncap some to check for mites and maybe freeze the frame. I really dont see a high number of drones in the nucs I have here and from closeup pics no mites that I can see.
Is the idea practical? I guess it is if it entertains you, but as far as proving anything to be generally true everywhere bees are kept, it would take a lot more controlled experiments than I will ever do. It really was pleasant though to see the bees handiwork.
 

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It looks to be all drone sized though and I am not surprised as I have been cutting out the drone comb they have been throwing up here and there.
Given the picture and the time of year, I'm thinking they might be building that large 'drone comb' to store nectar in - are they not already filling it with nectar?- looks like it to me, could be wrong. Pretty comb!

I may try raising a few queens and have to depend on my own drones as I dont believe there are any feral or kept bees around. If that doesnt happen I will uncap some to check for mites and maybe freeze the frame. I really dont see a high number of drones in the nucs I have here and from closeup pics no mites that I can see.
Is the idea practical?
Which idea?- raising queens, freezing drone frames, or 11 frames in a 10 frame box?

the only suggestion i might give is that to me it seems like overkill to string four support wires across every brood frame. These are brood frames and will not be extracted, right? They'll harden up pretty well after one season, and I find two support lines more than enough if one isn't in a super hot southern climate. I use an 'X' cross line through the middle, in fishing line, but wire is fine. You could easily get away with two lines across instead of 4, and it would disrupt the bees' comb patterns less. Much less work too. But that just my own 2 cents. :) Bees have been known to remove comb from around support wires sometimes too, creating odd comb that has less support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Omie, I guess the practicality issue was in regard to closer frame spacing allowed by 1 1/4 wide endbars. Supposedly quicker build up under cold conditions.

It could be they are planning to pack that comb with honey as it is out toward the edge of the brood nest. I did not want to plop it right in the middle. The bees probably wish I would find someone else to play with!

On the wiring issue, I wanted the option of being able to extract if the frames get used for honey so went with 4 wires. I think it was Iddee that advised they would build right into the wires without missing a stroke and it seems to have been the case. I did make sure the hive was level. I thought one would have to be extremely careful not to have any unsupported fresh comb collapse if it wasnt wired.

I did a bunch of deeps with wired wax foundation and thought I would try only two wires to save work and eyelets, wire etc. I found the foundation did not stay as flat as it did fully wired. Some people dont worry about the aspect of wonky foundation and space the frames wider and that works too.

That is interesting how bees will sometimes chew away around the wires and other times not. Is it different breeds, different weather, lack of flow, boredom or what?
 

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e. another pretty one.JPG A. 2weeks.JPG c. now use in brood area.JPG
First two pics- another one for brood and how it began
Third pic - first one a success for brood after tightening the wires and trimming the larger cells off the 4th pic below...into 3 points they remade it into a nice pattern.


B. trimmed large cells off made into points.JPG d. another larger cell use on outside edge cull drone or honey storage.JPG

The last pic is another I keep on the outside edge in the box. They use it for honey, pollen and drones. I do scratch off some drones when they make a lot, due to seeing some varroa (about 9 daily count in May).

The foundation less is just so beautiful. I start them by cutting the cleat off the wedge top, pressing some unwashed honey wax gobs into the edge and renailing the cleat slightly over the wax gobs. We used a zigzag of 3 wires - but like the idea Omie has of two though better, and will try that next time.

These were made this April through May in our splits. If they get it going goofy, I trim off a bit and let them pull it again. I give them the wax back too, to use for capping.
I have only tried them in boxes of ten, the eleven is intriguing and ambitious. I will watch for more posts on that - I like learning.
 

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thanks for the pictures.

as to the bottom being unattached.... I find here (with foundation of course) that if you set a new frame with new foundation in the bottom box they seldom pull the foundation all the way to the bottom bar. if on the other hand you placed this in the second box in the stack they do pull the foundation all the way to the bottom bar. I am assuming (somewhat based on conversation with some other bee keepers) that this is a light induced thingee.
 

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That is a nice pic of a nice frame Crofter! :thumbsup:
Member Adam Foster Collins is trying out some 8 frame langs and I believe he has shaved his end bars down to allow for 9 frames.
Interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I had my frames all pushed to one side on one occasion and the resulting space looked inviting to the bees and they built two big ears of drone comb on the side of the box. When you start to put a mix of narrow and standard frames in you wind up with some odd spacing! My inclination might be to make a dummy or follower rather than an extra occupied frame, just to make it a bit easier to have something to pull to get some space to slide frames apart to pull for inspection, but there is no question you could get one extra frame in. I think I will throw another foundationless frame in closer to the center of the brood frames to see if they will draw worker size this time.
 

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W.T. Kelley will start producing narrow frames this Fall...

Three of my strongest hives this spring "happened" to have narrow frames in their brood nests.
 

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Joe writes:
Three of my strongest hives this spring "happened" to have narrow frames in their brood nests.

tecumseh:
when doing something a bit 'out there' one should always keep in mind BF Skinner Superstitious Chicken Hypothesis. for those folks not comfortable with great leaps of logic Mr Skinner hypothesis likely pertains just as much to humans as it does to chickens.
 
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