Beekeeping > Do-It-Yourself Plans and Prints

DIY Frames


Making your own frames is easier than you think.  It does, however, require a bit more in terms of tools, and patience.  Frames can be built without the tools listed below, but these are what I have, and use, so adjust accordingly if you do not plan to use them.

One more thought - this is one where measurements must be accurate, or you will find yourself scraping burr comb out of the hives constantly...

Frames can be made from any scrap of untreated 2 by material you happen to have around. 
I had 2x6x6 on hand, so that’s what was used...

Suggested Materials :
2x? Untreated lumber.
Table saw
Plainer / Jointer
Router table w 5/8 straight bit.
Nails / staples

For the side bars, take your 2x material and plane it down to 1-3/8”

Next cut to length depending on what size frames are desired.

For deeps, cut to 9-1/8”, mediums 6-1/4”, shallows 5-3/8”

Once the blocks are cut to length (height actually) I then place them on a jointer to remove 1/8” off the wider portion of the board, leaving about 3” on the deeps, and 1-1/2” for mediums and supers.

An added bonus with the jointer is the material left works great in my smoker!

Once each block is prepped, it is time to cut the space for the top and bottom bar.
Using a 5/8 straight bit in the router table, set the depth to 3/8 and set the rail 1/4” from edge of the bit. This should position the bit to be in the exact middle of the thinner portion of the block.  Run the router on both ends of the block, turning the top (thicker) end and running each side so only 1/4” remains.

Side bars are almost done!  All that is left is to rip the block into 1/4” bars.

My 6 ft 2x6 netted me 113 side bars. Mileage will vary as you will have some that are bad due to knots, splits in the board, etc.

On to the top and bottom bars.  These are universal no matter what size frames are being constructed.

Cut your 2x stock to 19”.
Rip to 7/8” x 7/8” - save the extra piece - that will be your bottom bar.

Rip the bottom bar to 3/8” x 5/8”.  Cut to 17-3/4”.
Bottom bar is done!

For the top bar - dado 3/8” off 1” on edge of each side.

Now there are options at this point.  For plastic foundation run a 1/8” dado down the middle of the bar (should be approx 3/8”) As the blade depth is set at 3/8 from the dado, all that should be needed is to adjust the fence...

I also do this for wax foundation, and then just stick a popsicle stick in the groove to keep it from falling...

If you are making frames for foundationless frames, you can bevel the blade to cut the frame to a 45, giving the bees a point to draw off of.

Both examples below:

If running foundation, a groove will also need to be cut into the bottom board.

Finally, assemble the parts!
I have made one of each style and put it next to a commercial frame that has plastic foundation in it for comparison:

YES! Another one that has figured out how to make frames!   Come down and help me get my shop finished, then we can make bee equipment all day, Ted can paint the boxes while we drink rum and coke!

If you notice, this is almost exactly how you do yours... after all, you taught me how to make them!

 Heres a way to make the sidebars for those with only a tablesaw. 


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