Custom built Dadant type frames.

Discussion in 'Building plans, blueprints, and finished projects' started by djdhays, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. djdhays

    djdhays New Member

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    I am new to beekeeping. I've always wanted to do it and finally decided last summer to get started. I decided I'd use the time between then and spring to research and build all I could so when spring came I'd have plenty of hives to fill and be an expert beekeeper. The woodwork is coming along well but the expert part seems just like college. It seems the more I know the more I know how much I don't know. On to the point.

    I purchased some used equipment from the widow of a club member who had unfortunately passed before I joined the club. Most of the supers had spacers in them and the lady explained that those were to use 9 frames in a 10 frame super. She explained that the bees would build the comb out further if you do that. So now I have two questions.

    What is the advantage/disadvantage of doing this? If I do decide that the fact that I enjoy working with wood is enough to prompt me to build my own frames (the cost savings certainly wouldn't do it) can I just make the sides of the frames a little wider to eliminate the need for spacers?
     
  2. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    The way it was explained to me, you only want to use 9 frames when comb has already been drawn out. If your starting with foundation, use 10 frames. 2d year, in other words. Also, this is for honey supers, not brood boxes.
     

  3. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    If the bees have drawn out the comb, then you can reduce to 9 frames, but if new frames with foundation or starter strips, it is better to start with 10 frames in a deep or super ( brood box or honey super) So they keep it straight. Read up about bee space, approx 3/8", if you allow more space than needed they will fill it with comb or propolis.

    The idea of 9 frames - allows more honey to be stored in fewer frames, thus less work extracting it.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I agree with Gunsmith and Zulu.

    10 sheets of foundation, then 9 frames in honey supers if you are going to extract it. 10 if you are going to cut it out totally. 10 in brood chamber.
     
  5. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    The whole idea of 9 frames in the super is to handle less frames for the same quantity of honey.
    How soon you will go that way depends on how big you want to go.
    I have some 200+ fully drawn frames in my supers but because of splits and nucs I intend to make in the spring I wont have any drawn frames in my supers. So, I ll start with 10 frames again.
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    You can make the frames a little wider to eliminate the need for spacers, but keep in mind that you do not want them to be "wider" the whole length of the end bar. Reason being is the bees will propolize the entire length of the end bars together instead of just the "spacing" part, making them almost impossible to get apart.
    I'll post a couple pics to illustrate:
    By mistake (never buy unseen :oops: ) I ended up with frames designed for use with spacers, ie: they were not self spacing (on the left in first pic.). I added little strips of wood to make them self spacing (middle pic, and the 4 bars on the left when done), if I had added strips the whole length you would never pry them apart after the bees got done propolizing them together.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I notice a pattern here, I seem to always have lots of pictures of my scewups to share. :oops:
    Sigh.
     
  7. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Thanks for sharing those pictures with the rest of us. Camera is a great beekeeping tool, I intend to use it much more from now on. :thumbsup:
     
  8. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Those aren't screw-ups Perry, those are graphic training aids for us new folks to learn from. Thanks for posting them.
     
  9. djdhays

    djdhays New Member

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    OK I try to thank everyone who responds but Mr. PerryBee you just introduced a whole new topic which was going to be another post. The concept of self spacing frames. These are the only type I've seen so far. Am I to understand that they need not be wider at the top? Is the only reason for that width to make them self spacing? If this is true, you're telling me that I can make two spacer tools and then make my own frames (not self spacing) in a fraction of the time it took when I tried to make the self spacing ones. There must be a down side to this. Please tell me what it is. Better yet, look at my idea and tell me why it won't work. The measurements I'd figure out and the strip in the center of the top bar I thought about dipping the bottom half in hot beeswax as a starter strip and gluing the top half into the groove and possibly reinforcing with staples. The holes I would use fishing line or wire for reinforcement. This design is intended to use no foundation. If you're laughing that's OK just try to remember I'm new before you post anything hurtful. :D [attachment=0:3c8h45co]frame.jpg[/attachment:3c8h45co]
     

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  10. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    First, call me Perry, second forget the Mr. (always think I'm gonna get served papers when I hear that) :lol:
    Second, I never laugh..................................alright I do once in a blue moon, but never at someone asking a question!

    I am sure that more experienced keeps will have a better answer but here goes anyways:
    I believe that these types of frames were probably common years ago for the very reason you mention, easy to make. In my opinion there were two problems with them. First, if you did not make absolutely sure your frames were spaced properly when you put them back in the super, the resulting incorrect beespace would result in a real mess next time you went in. Second, these frames are in my opinion inherantly weaker, especially at the top bar joint. The extra width at the top provides an extra measure of strength and this is still a weak spot when prying self spacing frames apart.
    Don (fatbeeman) has done a series of videos, the one on building frames illustrates this weakness.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnzAxZDI ... 6fds9JOVE-

    I do things a little different, I put that nail in through the end bar that Don doesn't, but there are often many ways of doing the same thing. You will find what works best for you!
    Self spacing frames just make the whole thing easier, no extra tools to carry, although from what I have read, the old timers (spoken with tremendous respect) didn't even need a tool, they just used their thumbs or fingers as guides to correctly distance their frames apart, something learned with experience I'm sure.
    Your design would work, if you want to go that way. In this day and age, $$ can dictate many of our decisions.
     
  11. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    I have to agree with Perry on the joinery and strength. The more surfaces you have bonding the longer they will hold up. Bee space is everything in a hive disaster or dream. Any space a small hive beetle can hide in it will and destroy the hive eventually. Metal frame spacers and rests are excerllent for raising small hive beetles!
     
  12. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    On one occasion I saw flat frames, like in your drawing, but they had dividers/separators, made of plastic. Plastic thing was rectangular like those square nuts, and had square hole in it.
    On frame like yours you just slide the plastic part from the end of the top bar against side bars,like a "ring" and you have "ears" that ensure frames stay apart and bee space is "respected".
    Remember thinking, this is cool, with this thing making frames would be easy thing.
    But I'm always short on time, so making frames was not an option for me.
    P.S. With this design you don't need spacing tool.
     
  13. djdhays

    djdhays New Member

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    Thanks again for all the responses. Unfortunately I didn't wait. I had time to get some work done so I went out and built 10 frames. I was surprised. It took me less than 10 hours. It's a good thing I enjoy working with wood. I could tell as I was working, the next ten wouldn't take nearly as long. My goal was just to see if I could do it. If I decide to make all my own, it will go much quicker because I'll make 1000 sides instead of 20. Once the saw is set up the cutting goes fairly quickly. (not too quickly, I've already lost enough blood to woodworking) Once I got the dimensions down and started cutting, it went like an assembly line. Putting them together took quite a while. Of course, unless I decide to just throw money at this hobby, I'll end up assembling my frames no matter who makes them. I don't have a jig. I used my table saw to make sure they were flat and cut a piece of plywood as a guide to square them before gluing and nailing. I did use glue and a brad nailer. I didn't know glue had formaldehyde in it. Hopefully that evaporates out when the glue cures. I also used cherry wood instead of pine. That decision was based on the fact that I don't have any pine and the cherry is lighter than oak and less buried in my overcrowded workshop than the poplar. If these work out, I'll most likely use poplar most of the time.

    I can see one benefit already. This will clear out many of the wood scraps laying around. I made the sides 1 1/8" wide and 3/8" thick. the top and bottom bars are both 3/4" wide X 1/2" thick the top bar 19" long and the bottom bar 17 3/4" long. The groove in the top bar is 1/8" wide and about as deep. the idea to hot dip the starter bar in wax will have to wait. I'll need to build a special pan for that. I just melted a little beeswax (I got from a club member with healthy bees) and painted a little on the lip of the 1/8" strip just to give them an idea where I'd like them to build.

    Unless I'm misunderstanding, this type of frames should be easier to remove and the bees should use less propolis on them shouldn't they? Assuming of course that I get them properly spaced. I think I've got enough used frames for about 3 hives assuming I can get the bees to fill them. I'll look at how they perform and decide from there.

    Well, It's about 9 hours past my bed time so I think I'll shut up now. Thanks again for all the advice. Now maybe someone can tell me how to convince the farmers around me to grow buckwheat.
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    What is the advantage/disadvantage of doing this? If I do decide that the fact that I enjoy working with wood is enough to prompt me to build my own frames (the cost savings certainly wouldn't do it) can I just make the sides of the frames a little wider to eliminate the need for spacers?

    tecumseh:
    I suspect 9 frames was originally done for a number of reasons. it (like everything else in the universe) has it + and - aspects. 9 frames in any box (and I operated 9 frames from the bottom to the top of the stack.. it is a pretty much common commercial way of doing bees) makes removing the first frame from any box much easier (less subject to rolling mass number of bees) and faster. with power uncapper especially it also make uncapping a one pass (no scratching) operation and gives you a good yield of wax in the process. here (Texas) 9 frames may be more advisable due to ventilation concern (in the hottest times of the year)... removing one frame per box just adds a bit more ventilation space and reduces overheating.

    when I do obtain boxes with 'automatic spacers' attached (10, 9 or 8) my first task is to remove these. the spacers themselves just represent another problem, limit what I can do and often times create a bit of space for the small hive beetle to lurk. my skinny little finger are 'the best' automatic spacing tool I can find.
     
  15. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    9 frames in a 10 frame super.

    Here's some info from across the pond.
    The hives I use hold 11 frames. I can arrange to have either 9, 10 or 11 frames in a super. Most of my supers are 9's.
    The super frames are not self-spacing. Spacing is via castellations.
    A castellation is a strip of thin metal with cut-outs to tightly hold the frame lugs. A castellation resembles the crenallations on castle wall tops. A castellation is carefully nailed on the inside of the hive at the correct height --- my hives are bottom bee space.
    The frames do not touch each other and the only contact with the super is the thin edge of the castellation --- less propolization.
    For the last few years I have used DRONE base wired wax foundation in my supers. The theoretical advantages are --- less wax to make the cells, easier un-capping and extraction (less cell wall cling).
    We don't have SHB in the UK.

    Our newbee has my sympathy. He could get into a whirl of information overload. I think it might be better to get 2 or more seasons of keeping bees ' normally' before he tries changes and improvements.

    A belated welcome and GOOD LUCK
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    ""Our newbee has my sympathy. He could get into a whirl of information overload. I think it might be better to get 2 or more seasons of keeping bees ' normally' before he tries changes and improvements.""

    OH!, How true that is, in sooooo many cases.

    THANK YOU!!!
     
  17. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    As you love working in wood, just make a spacer tool. I cut one on the bandsaw in less than 5 minutes.

    Also making a jig for assembling frames was another easy and quick project, mine is a tight fit for 10 frames by design, and I rack them up, using a glue brush get all sides coated and push the top bars on, one nail each, flip over the jig, and do same for bottom bars, then I do add a nail cross wise like Perry does, all in it takes me 10-12min to do 10 frames, glued and nailed
     
  18. djdhays

    djdhays New Member

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    I did make a spacer. I used a dado on the table saw then angled the general purpose blade to give the spaces a little taper. after using it I think I should have angled it a little more but it works OK. I'm pretty sure the spacing is right. I look up a lot of videos to see how things are made. I'm not sure if the guy who used 15 - 20# mono fishing line is in the one Perry posted but I didn't go with that idea. As with many of the projects I build, when I have several alternative materials that will work, I generally weigh the pros and cons of each carefully and then use the one I have. I used the four holes in the sides and strung 50# line. (I rarely fish unless I'm vacationing at the ocean.) I've only built frames for brood so I didn't expect they'd take much abuse. The bees are in a five gallon bucket right now and their brood comb doesn't fall out so I figured the line was just a little extra support. I expect year one to be a building year for the bees and if I get honey that's just a bonus. As of right now I'm not planning on using any foundation except maybe 20 medium frames that I bought used that already had new foundation in them. That's not an informed decision that I made through in depth research, I've just learned enough to know that, pros and cons aside, the bees will make their own comb and the amount of time I spend arguing with my wife is directly proportional to the amount of money I spend on my hobbies. Since I don't yet have all the odds and ends I'm going to need, I'll spend my money on those things for now, hive tool, bee brush, etc. Once I have all the non-consumable stuff I need, I'll explore spending money to save time and increase production.