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New experimental arched top bar design
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biobee
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Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: New experimental arched top bar design Reply with quote

Here's an idea I'm playing with.

It came out of the merging of several lines of thought, as usual.

1. A dead-flat ceiling is not likely to be found in nature: something vaguely dome-like is probably more natural.

2. A greater volume per unit length would not be a bad thing in a TBH, as would a greater depth: width ratio.

3. Some way of removing small amounts of honey without disturbing brood below it would be useful.

4. Stronger comb-to-bar attachment would be advantageous.



So here's the idea:






Only rough at the moment and no comb guides fitted.

So - in theory - it fulfils the desired characteristics as follows@

1. Approximates more closely the likely shape of a natural tree cavity

2. Provides up to 50% more volume per unit length

3. The wire (which may or may not become a wooden dowel) provides an intermediate support, so some honey could be removed above it, while brood comb below is still supported.

4. Provides for untrammelled adhesion of comb to bar on three sides of the 'barn roof' shape, with approx. 30% greater surface area than a standard bar.

You can see how it is made: the joints are screwed and glued (just screws would be adequate) and the 'bird's mouth' at each lower end was cut by hand - not intended to be a tight fit to the hive edge, but shaped to prevent endwise movement.

The downside is that it is much more time-consuming to make (a jig is definitely required for uniformity).

The hole (not fully drilled) would be for feeding (normally closed with a cork). Insulation can be added to the top, when not used for feeding.

A simple drop-over roof could easily be made using Kingspan insulation, protected by plywood or whatever you have handy.

The overall length of a hive could be reduced by 30% and still have the same volume. With no modification to existing 4 ft hives, you could potentially accommodate two colonies in the same horizontal space.

Clearly, you would need to make followers to the same pattern. I plan on using plain, flat followers cut from plywood, with no bar attached.

I'm going to be testing this idea as soon as spring arrives, and I would be interested in your thoughts...
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GürkanYeniçeri
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So practically, top bar hive becomes a horizontal hexagonal hive?

If we can get an insulated roof design to cover this, I am on it.

It certainly is more work and goes against the low tech TBH hive design. I would tuckle it if I only have wood and time available.
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biobee
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It becomes a horizontal, hexagonal hive with individually removable combs - that's one way to look at it.

The roof is easy - just a single insulating panel on each sloping face, with weather/UV protection.

It is still low-tech - if you can make 30 degree cuts using a hand saw! I used a power saw for convenience, but it is not essential. The 'bird's mouth' at each lower end was cut by hand.


Last edited by biobee on Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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J Smith
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like a very cool and viable adaptation of the simplistic hTBH.

Do you see any problems with the additional space being harder for the bees to regulate temperature in?
Or will you calculate and adjust the follower board to give a new colony the same kind of internal area you would in a standard hTBH. Same cubic area but less length?
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thaugen
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:36 am    Post subject: A similar design Reply with quote

These people cut curved, half-circle top bars out of plywood:

Sun Hive/Haengekorb - check out Google images

Some may object to plywood use due to the chemical adhesive that holds the plywood layers together.
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Che Guebuddha
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am to move my hives all the way from Sweden to Denmark in April and these top bars would have been so handy for that, giving extra strength to the comb-top bar connection.
Worth giving a thought especially if transporting hives is a future plan.

One thing I dont like is the wire and for that reason I would more prefer the Sun Hive top bars.

To avoid the wire one would need to use a thicker top bar and then attach the side top bars to it with 2-3 screws + glue.

If depth is desired in a shorter hive one can simply make deeper normal shape top bar hive body like Dennis Murrell, he has no issues with comb collapse.

As for the "no flat ceiling in nature" it doesn't seem to trouble the bees as we all KTBH beeks know. We all say how bees are highly adaptable.
If we are talking about condensation forming on flat ceiling than top entrance will eliminate that.
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep it simple, Phil. I reckon this is too complicated to build and handle - for which significant advantage?

Instead another idea, which was developed by Johann Thür:





sketch, bigger size: http://www.immenfreunde.de/pics/thur/PatThur.png

It is a closed frame, no beespace between the frames. Just the bottom bar is open to the bottom for bee access. The frames itself are the walls. The frames rest on a rebate of the outer wall, so this is a double wall hive. The space between frames and outer wall is empty in summer for easier manipulation. In winter this space is filled with insulation.

Construct this in an ideal comb size, means: height of 40 cm and length of 30 cm, and you have a really nice hive that keeps the hive athmossphere and hive air at it's best.
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AugustC
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like the idea and have been thinking about something similar myself.
It would be a larger surface area from which to lose heat, and the shape is more difficult to insulate. It would require a greater amount of propolis from the bees to seal for winter. Not trying to find fault, just thinking whilst typing.
I don't think there would be any significant improvement between a half hexagon and a half circle (thermodynamically speaking), and the half hexagon would be easier to realign with neighbouring topbars keeping the gaps between the comb the same.
one question though. Isn't this just like supering by another name? Would it be easier to make topbars with beespace that allow you to have a flat bar on top (like to chop and crop adaptors) or a hexagonal topbar addition. The hexagonal topbar addition could then support itself on the top edge of the other topbar. This way you could decide how you wanted to over winter the colony.
i think I am rambling
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To get a bigger comb surface without the combs becoming more susceptable to breakage, one could use two levels. Like this:



The broodcomb is on the lower level, where the colony gets started. Once established the inner cover is removed and the upper topbars are given.

Or so.
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biobee
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

J Smith wrote:

Do you see any problems with the additional space being harder for the bees to regulate temperature in?
Or will you calculate and adjust the follower board to give a new colony the same kind of internal area you would in a standard hTBH. Same cubic area but less length?


Part of this idea is to reduce the length of the hive and increase the depth, maintaining a similar usable volume.

By using substantial timber for the bars and insulation between them and the roof skin, there should be no difference in their ability to maintain temperature and humidity.
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biobee
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:54 am    Post subject: Re: A similar design Reply with quote

thaugen wrote:
These people cut curved, half-circle top bars out of plywood:

Sun Hive/Haengekorb - check out Google images

Some may object to plywood use due to the chemical adhesive that holds the plywood layers together.


Far too complicated IMO - every bar is different. True, my shapes could be cut from ply using a CNC setup, but I don't have one of those!
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biobee
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bernhard - my winter deliberations included both of the options you describe. Somewhere on here is my version of the 'cassette hive', which turns out to be very similar to the one you ascribe to Thur. I still haven't tried it.

The double-decker is tempting, but would run into trouble as soon as you wanted/needed to move combs, as you would have to keep them vertically aligned or risk terminal brace combing...

I'm happy to listen to feedback and offers of variations, and it would be great if some of you tried them out and reported back, so we can make comparisons.
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Barbara
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like this suggestion and as my hives have gabled roofs, I think it could be incorporated into existing hives, but at the moment, finishing my hen arks is my top woodworking priority..... I'm so excited because I've got chickens again after a long spell without! Very Happy
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biobee
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara wrote:
I really like this suggestion and as my hives have gabled roofs, I think it could be incorporated into existing hives, but at the moment, finishing my hen arks is my top woodworking priority..... I'm so excited because I've got chickens again after a long spell without! Very Happy


I want chickens as soon as I have somewhere to keep them.

That was also an important point in my thinking - and thanks for mentioning it: minimal alteration to existing hives (assuming a gabled roof). These 'barn-roof' bars are drop-in replacements for the standard type.

I should also have mentioned that the angles are those of an equilateral triangle (60 degrees), but there is no magic in this - although with equal length sides, they would form half of a hexagon.
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Garret
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaunreiter wrote:



This looks like something I may try. Thanks for putting this up!
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R Payne
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:19 am    Post subject: Re: A similar design Reply with quote

biobee wrote:
thaugen wrote:
These people cut curved, half-circle top bars out of plywood:

Sun Hive/Haengekorb - check out Google images

Some may object to plywood use due to the chemical adhesive that holds the plywood layers together.


Far too complicated IMO - every bar is different. True, my shapes could be cut from ply using a CNC setup, but I don't have one of those!


Wouldn't have to be complicated to get all such bars the same. Take the time to make the first on the way you want, then use it as a template to draw out the rest. Cut the rest close to the line then use a router with a flush trim bit to trim all the bars to the pattern.
It does however require tools that not every one may have or be comfortable using.

As to the woodworking aspect of the half hexagon, being a wood worker I'd use a bridle joint instead of simply gluing and screwing. But that is likely beyond a lot of folks here.

ron
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biobee
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:04 pm    Post subject: Re: A similar design Reply with quote

R Payne wrote:


As to the woodworking aspect of the half hexagon, being a wood worker I'd use a bridle joint instead of simply gluing and screwing. But that is likely beyond a lot of folks here.



My joinery is strictly amateur and make-it-up-as-I-go, as I was forced to study Latin at school instead of useful things like woodwork, so I'm glad you brought that up...

I don't actually know what a bridle joint is, but if you can improve on the glue-and-screw method without too much complication, I'm all ears!

I have also heard people mutter about 'biscuit joints' - are they another option?


Last edited by biobee on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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R Payne
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:16 am    Post subject: Re: A similar design Reply with quote

[quote="biobee"]
R Payne wrote:


As to the woodworking aspect of the half hexagon, being a wood worker I'd use a bridle joint instead of simply gluing and screwing. But that is likely beyond a lot of folks here.

Quote:


My joinery is strictly amateur and make-it-up-as-I-go, as I was forced to study Latin at school instead of useful things like woodwork, so I'm glad you brought that up...

I don't actually know what a bridle joint is, but if you can improve on the glue-and-screw method without too much complication, I'm all ears!

I have also heard people mutter about 'biscuit joints' - are they another option?



If you're familiar with tongue and groove joints, a bridle joint is like that. Or you can look at it as similar to a "mortice and tenon" joint. It is much easier to show a picture than try to type a good explanation and google images has lots of pictures of "bridle joints". The essence of the joint is that a groove is cut in the end of one of the boards and wood is removed from the other to leave a tongue that slides into the groove, in a bridle joint the groove is made by removing the center third of the board to a depth equal to the size of the tongue in the other board.

A "biscuit joint" is a "loose mortice and tenon" where the tenon is the "biscuit" and is commonly compressed wood fibers. The biggest downside of this joint is it requires either a correct sized fly cutter or a biscuit cutter.
Probably a better join than a "biscuit" would be a "dowel joint" which is another "loose mortice and tenon" where the tenon is a section of dowel and the mortice is made with a drill. In both cases the "tenon" (biscuit or dowel) is glued in place and depends partly on the glue holding.

Something I'm fond of saying is "everything breaks down". As a woodworker/builder, my job is to make what I build to last as long as possible with minimal maintenance.
Glue is prone to failure with exposure to moisture and with normal wood movement. Different glues have different characteristics and serve different purposes. Epoxies / 2 part glues and glues that have nasty chemicals last longest, wood glue tends to give a few years before failure. (Although under limited changes in humidity, glue can last centuries.)
Screws and nails rust. Even stainless will rust eventually. Wood movement loosens screws and nails. Square nails hold better than round ones and hand forged hold better still. And physical attachments like this work better than glue alone.

Mortice and tenon joints are very strong (even stronger if pegged). A little strength is lost if a loose tenon is used, but for this application it isn't really necessary to put that much work into it.

With the proper selection of the joint, the joint will hold itself together without any additional attachment methods instead of falling apart.

There is a good book (free download) on woodwork joints available from Project Gutenberg that can be found here
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21531
This shows the lay-out and cutting of the joints.

As I said earlier, it may be beyond the skill of some here, or simply more work than some may want to put into the build.
And this is something that would be much easier to show than tell.

ron
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biobee
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that.

I don't want to over-complicate this, so will just stick with a glue & screw joint for the time being...
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WileyHunter
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phil,
Have you (or anyone here really), thought of using steam and bending the top bar material into an arch using a form? Much like they do in canoe/boat making? The biggest problem I see with any "raised arch" style top bar, is that until your bees get significant comb below the mounting points, you're dealing with a precarious center of gravity issue... But I certainly like the general idea of extending the volume of usable comb.
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biobee
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if steam bending would work on relatively short lengths, but if anyone wants to give it a try, I would be happy to be proven wrong!

Perhaps cutting them out of ply or solid timber on one of those clever computerized machines would give a more consistent result?

I understand what you mean about combs being initially top-heavy, but I'm hoping the wire will stabilize the comb and keep the builders on the straight and narrow path, leading to consistently straight-ish, perfectly-aligned combs throughout the hive... and the shape of the bars provide for a greater attached area, which should also aid stability. As long as the bars are supporting each other against a stable end/follower, ther should be no danger of them falling over - as long as the beekeeper is not too clumsy.
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J Smith
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steam bending would work- you would just need to heat/bend/form longer lengths to the shape needed and cut the long tails to suit.
Easier, would be a form cut from MDF board or the like and thin laminates of timber glued and cramped around the form. Like they used to do with tennis racquets and fish landing nets.
Kind of like making your own laminated beams or your own plywood.
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stevecook172001
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an alternative to steam bending. That is notch bending. You cut saw blade width notches in the wood all down its length on one side about half way into the wood.. The notches should be just a few mills apart. Overall, this removes up to half of the wood mass from one side of the wood length. This, then allows it to be bent into an arch, the concave side of it being the side with the notches. The way to get it to retain that shape is to smear plenty of glue into the notches before forming into the arch. Obviously, it has to be held in position until dry.

A way to strengthen the arch plus keep all glued surfaces away from the bees is to do another arch. This, time, though, the notched side is on the convex side of the arch. This second arch is then glued up to the concave side of the first arch. So, both sides of the finished arch are now a clean face of wood.

I've made it sound more complicated than it is.
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biobee
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To get a consistent result, that would need to be done by a skilled carpenter or a computerized thingy. Sadly, I have neither to hand - probably the case for most people here.

The method I used may not be perfect, but it can be done by hand if you don't have either a chop saw or a circular saw.

Here's a photo of a partial set of 'barn-roof' bars of correct size, in place.




I ripped a length of 63mm x 38mm down the middle, ending up with a couple of 38mm x 30mm. Only the top of each bar is angled and there is no wastage, as you simply reverse each alternate cut. All three pieces are 210mm long.

If I had more skill and/or more sophisticated cutting gear, I might be tempted to cut a triangular profile on the lower edge of each length prior to sawing it to size. As it is, I think I will attach half-round dowel to the top edge only as a comb guide.
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R Payne
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with bending (by what ever means) is spring back. After the wood is bent and removed from the form it will straighten a bit. As for how much is only known after being releases. Gluing up bent laminations is probably the best bet if you want to bend the shape.
Laminating is done by cutting very thin (thin enough to easily bend, 2 to 3 mm / 1/8 inch or less) strips of wood, gluing them together and putting them in a form before the glue sets and left there until it is cured. It is commonly done in wood working with 2 part epoxies.

Ron
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thaugen
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:19 am    Post subject: Bent strips of wood glued together Reply with quote

I have seen some curved laminations like these used to repair boats and they were extremely strong. The problem is finding thin strips of wood rather than cutting your own, which is a tedious process. If someone could locate a source of reasonable priced thin strips, I'd like to give this a try.
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biobee
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That seems like a lot of work - and a lot of glue - to me, but I would be interested to see what you come up with.
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R Payne
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a lot of work and can take a lot of glue. If you are doing several pieces, it can be tedious. First you have to build a form. It goes faster if you build several form to the same size.

If you look to buy the wood strips, try looking for thick veneer. The problem with this is that veneers are usually expensive species.

ron
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H1veHead
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all

I've come up with a theoretical variation on the theme. I've put together some crude sketches in MS Paint but not sure how to upload them to the forum. Anyone help? The sketches are in .PNG format.

Thanks!

HiveHead
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WileyHunter
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you can upload .png files to Photobucket, then you link here.
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