Author Topic: From Drafting Table to Biobees Kenyan Top Bar Hive Build  (Read 5112 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline blueblood

  • Gold Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1764
  • Thanked: 38 times
  • Gender: Male
    • https://www.facebook.com/scottshoneyandlipbalms
  • Location: Central Indiana, USA
From Drafting Table to Biobees Kenyan Top Bar Hive Build
« on: December 08, 2013, 04:11:07 pm »
This my first top bar hive build this past May, 2013.  I built a total of three this year and have two of them in use.  This first one I challenged myself to build from what I had around the house to prove it didn't take much money to build one.  I built this one with a gable roof but the other two and subsequent covers will be long, Langstroth style telescoping lids.  The gable is complicated and has more area that can leak later on.  Heck, I may get to the point where I place an old piece of corrugated tin over the top and place blocks on it.  I am solid in recommending the plans I used for this tbh from biobees.com.

I wanted to try a couple top bar hives this year primarily to produce more wax for lip balms and other projects for the following winter to keep me busy. Plus, I want to try them out for fun! I figure they will be prime candidates for my swarm catches.

I had it in mind from the start that I wanted to build one with over 90% of what I already had on hand to make it more challenging. I love re-purposing projects anyway. So, I had this old Drafting table that was in the way....well, it is on its way to morphing into a top bar hive. I will be using Biobees plans as a starting point. The table portion is a true 1 inch thickness. This will do fine since I have researched and discovered some colder climate keeps prefer nominal 2" lumber for better insulation in the winter. I plan on using plain old 2x4's for the top bars. I will rip then off at 3/4" thick. The natural width of 1-3/8" to 1-7/16" will work fine. The drafting table stand will provide some top bars too. And for the roof, I will make a simple gable frame out of 1x4's and shingle it using inexpensive cedar dog ear picket boards.

Stay tuned for the build. Here are some pics so far. Geez o' Petes I can't wait for this next season to start!

Offline blueblood

  • Gold Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1764
  • Thanked: 38 times
  • Gender: Male
    • https://www.facebook.com/scottshoneyandlipbalms
  • Location: Central Indiana, USA
Re: From Drafting Table to Biobees Kenyan Top Bar Hive Build
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2013, 04:14:04 pm »
Here's today's progress. I was able to get 27 bars out of the table stand and scraps from the table. I just need a few more. I am not building legs so I will have to affix some small cleats to hold the bottom of the lid frame. I am placing the TBH's on cinder blocks. The lid is next for construction. I will probably have to buy a few chunks of wood for that. Perry, you have to take a look at what I found stuck to one of the top bars I cut from the "Anco Built" drafting table stand for the follower board. I took a close up for you. Does this mean the TBH is Canadian built?

Offline blueblood

  • Gold Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1764
  • Thanked: 38 times
  • Gender: Male
    • https://www.facebook.com/scottshoneyandlipbalms
  • Location: Central Indiana, USA
Re: From Drafting Table to Biobees Kenyan Top Bar Hive Build
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2013, 04:16:10 pm »
My cedar picket boards were not long enough to run the entire length of the roof. I then began thinking about just covering the frame with plywood and aluminum flashing like the Langs. The gable roof with cedar is entailed. If I go with pickets, I am looking at this roof for my model: http://www.handcraftedhives.com/hive...-bar-hive.html Or, I may just get a cedar board wide enough like this http://www.beethinking.com/top-bar-hive and use an aluminum flashing for the ridge. Not sure what I am going to do with this roof any hereafter. I know one thing, this roof has taken more than twice the time to build than the body. I think what is hanging me up is the standard cedar pickets. I need to use actual cedar shingles which are tapered making overlapping a breeze. The uniform thickness of the picket is not going to work without leaving huge gaps.

I finally think I found what I needed for the roof, beveled cedar siding/lapboards. http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...&storeId=10051

The build has only cost me $25 which is all the roof materials. I am hoping to keep the roof to a minimum.

For those of you that want to make your top bars out of 2x4's, I discovered an 8' 2x4 will make 20 bars. I got five 17" lengths and ripped them at 3/4" yielding 4 bars per length. The top bar width is 1-7/16" which is just 1/16" larger than what is normally recommended (1-3/8"). You could always rip them down by the extra 1/16" but why bother.

Offline blueblood

  • Gold Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1764
  • Thanked: 38 times
  • Gender: Male
    • https://www.facebook.com/scottshoneyandlipbalms
  • Location: Central Indiana, USA
Re: From Drafting Table to Biobees Kenyan Top Bar Hive Build
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2013, 04:17:06 pm »
Worked on top bar this afternoon and just about have it wrapped up. Covered the roof with cedar shingles, trimmed, ripped shims for comb guides on bars and started slapping on some paint. This type of roof is quite entailed taking too much time for me. It was fun to build but I had the time to do it. From here on out, I will build a simple telescoping lid similar to the Langstroth which is straight forward and effective in shedding the water. The lid I built will be okay, but I had to really check it over. There were several open spots naturally created by building this type of room that I had to trim up. It was very similar to building a miniature house roof complete with drip edges. I caulked in some area for insurance. I will trust the bees will shore up everything else. I still need to create a vent for the roof and drill entrance holes. I am going to place the entrance at one end either on the side or end.

Offline Perry

  • Global Moderator
  • Gold Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 7373
  • Thanked: 386 times
  • Gender: Male
    • Brandt's Bees
  • Location: Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
Re: From Drafting Table to Biobees Kenyan Top Bar Hive Build
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2013, 05:23:06 pm »
The title of the thread had me fooled for a second. I was expecting to see drawings and sketches and then the build, not actually chopping up a draft table!  :lol:   :mrgreen:
I'm looking forward to see your success with over-wintering.
"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor."      
Forum Supporter

Offline blueblood

  • Gold Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1764
  • Thanked: 38 times
  • Gender: Male
    • https://www.facebook.com/scottshoneyandlipbalms
  • Location: Central Indiana, USA
Re: From Drafting Table to Biobees Kenyan Top Bar Hive Build
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2013, 05:25:04 pm »
Heheh, you like that Perry?   :lol:   I am also very interested in how they survive.

Offline LazyBkpr

  • Gold Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6557
  • Thanked: 172 times
  • Gender: Male
  • www.outyard.net
    • The Outyard
  • Location: Richland Iowa
Re: From Drafting Table to Biobees Kenyan Top Bar Hive Build
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2013, 10:12:33 pm »
Agreed! Interested very much in seeing how it goes...   Please update as time passes..  I've never done a TBH, though I have watched a lot of Sam COmforts talks..    Did you make the bar length 19" like Comfort does?
Drinking RUM before noon makes you a PIRATE not an alcoholic!