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top bar width

 
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Carlos of the woods
New Bee


Joined: 10 Jul 2014
Posts: 6
Location: UK - East Sussex

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:52 am    Post subject: top bar width Reply with quote

I am interested in building myself a TBH.. So I went down to my local timber merchant.. when I said I would like 38mm x 20-25mm lumber prepared or rough sawn - he said that isn't really a standard measurement.. or rather after prep 38x25mm comes out as 33mm x 20mm ..

I have checked the B&Q website (as nearest one is a bit of a distance), and they do sell 38mm x 25mm (but say they are out of stock from my local stores) I wondered if anyone else had used B&Q's stuff - and if it is really 38mm wide, or if that is before it is prep'd?

I don't have access to table saw - and ideally would like to be as efficient with my timber as poss.. so buying the TB's at good width seems fairly key by what i've read.

thanks
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stevecook172001
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Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 443
Location: Loftus, Cleveland

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jewsons do 9" by 1" rough sawn untreated planks. They also do "2 by 9" planks of the same type. They are way cheaper than BnQ. I used the 2" by 9" to make my Warre hive. But, if I was to make a HTBH, I would use the 1" by 9" You'd need to treat the outside of them, though, cos they are just white softwood. Probably Russian pine or suchlike. And then treat the inside with natural shellac. Or, at least I did in my Warre.
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Carlos of the woods
New Bee


Joined: 10 Jul 2014
Posts: 6
Location: UK - East Sussex

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi thanks for the reply..

its really only being able to source the top bars at 38mm wide - if that is what is thought to be ideal for italian bee brood width... I'm presuming that when people talk of 38mm it is actually 38mm.. and not 38mm prep'd timber.. which will always come down to 33-35mm in reality.

the other bits the timber merchant have good fairly cheap stuff..
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have bought planed 38mm x22 (I think) from B&Q before - and it was REAL 38mm (rather than nominal) but I haven't been able to find it in there lately. I cut my last bars down from (real) 63 x 38mm but that was a job lot and again, haven't seen it since.

Sawmills vary in their ability to measure stuff, I find - you have to train them! Make sure you specify the FINISHED size, AFTER PLANING (if you want it planed) and preferably IN WRITING so there are no arguments.
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stevecook172001
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Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 443
Location: Loftus, Cleveland

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is 38mm the width and 22mm the depth Phil? If it is, then I am guessing the 22mm is less critical right? If so, there is plenty of rough-sawn battening wood available that is cut to 1" thick (25.4mm). Couldn't that be rip-cut down to strips of 38mm wide and then cross-cut to the requisite lengths?
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

when I made mine, I used slaters battern, 19mm x 38mm worked fine

http://www.roofingsuperstore.co.uk/browse/pitched-roofing/roof-battenstimbers.html
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madasafish
Silver Bee


Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 880
Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

B&Q sell 38x19 bundles of 8 or 24: I use them as top bars..


http://tinyurl.com/mddxzvh
http://tinyurl.com/mtj2ssz
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Carlos of the woods
New Bee


Joined: 10 Jul 2014
Posts: 6
Location: UK - East Sussex

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for input and clarity on this all..

my local timber merchants do 38 x 100 sawn timber.. so if I can borrow a table saw I can rip them into quarters.. that'll be cheapest i reckon..

but B&Q look a good bet if not..

Dexter - that link shows 'treated' 19mm x38mm slaters battern... surely not good to use treated stuff? .. maybe they do untreated too..

just got to find an excuse to build a hive now Wink
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carlos of the woods wrote:


Dexter - that link shows 'treated' 19mm x38mm slaters battern... surely not good to use treated stuff? .. maybe they do untreated too..

just got to find an excuse to build a hive now Wink


Very Happy I was not telling you to buy it, just showing what else was available, yes you can get untreated
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stevecook172001
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Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 443
Location: Loftus, Cleveland

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carlos of the woods wrote:
....surely not good to use treated stuff? .. maybe they do untreated too....
If you give the bars a good coat of natural shellac, they'll probably be okay I would have thought. I'm not going to make assumptions and so will just explain what shellac is. It's resinous crystals that come from a beetle. If you dissolve them in methylated spirits, you get a natural varnish sometimes called "French polish". If you paint this on the bars, it will dry in seconds and will lose the smell of methylated spirits in a few hours. The bees seem to like it a lot cos it must make them think the bars are already propolised.....maybe... Smile.

I painted the inside of my hive out in it cos I've been told the bees don't like the smell of newly sawn wood.
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mefgbee
Guard Bee


Joined: 10 Jul 2014
Posts: 57
Location: UK, Cheltenham

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wickes do 38mm timber too in 2.4m individual lengths. I think the width was 63mm, so after running a saw down it, you'd have 38x30. By the time you've planed your sawn edge(!) you'll be close to what you need.
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevecook172001 wrote:
Is 38mm the width and 22mm the depth Phil? If it is, then I am guessing the 22mm is less critical right? If so, there is plenty of rough-sawn battening wood available that is cut to 1" thick (25.4mm). Couldn't that be rip-cut down to strips of 38mm wide and then cross-cut to the requisite lengths?


Yes, 22mm is simply a convenient thickness that gives a reasonable amount of basic insulation, without creating too great a surface area when placing bars side by side. A little planing could put a shallow V shape on the working surface of a thicker bar, thus reducing the depth of the sides somewhat. A step cut into the ends would give the profile needed to sit on the side edges.

Lots of ways to skin a cat...
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CeeBee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 104
Location: UK, Cambridge, Milton

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

madasafish wrote:
B&Q sell 38x19 bundles of 8 or 24: I use them as top bars..


That sounds like what I've used as well. Think B&Q describe it as "kiln-dried battening".

They also do 34x19 (not certain about the 19, but round about that) in "smooth-planed" - it's a bit more expensive than the above.

I've used both of these - if the bees appear to be getting off the centre of the bar (i.e. they want a greater or lesser spacing), then I add wider or narrower bars to get them back on track.

I've also used B&Q pine 'stripwood' - 4 and 6mm (again approx 19mm in the other dimension) as shims, to increase bar-spacing when needed.

And I used B&Q pine half-round (no need for the expensive oak) as a comb-guide, just glued to the bars.

It all adds the the expense, using these fiddly bits of prepared timber, but probably better than me trying to manufacture them.
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madasafish
Silver Bee


Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 880
Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use 38mm through every hive. No issues.

For comb guides, I cut a 38,mm bar down the middle so it is 19x19. And then cut along teh diagonal to give a triangular comb guide.

Simple.

(I use a jig saw with the bar held in a vice so the diagonal is vertical.)

It may produce some wavy comb guides but neither I nor the bees car and it works.

I just glue the guide to the topbar using a fast setting wood glue.. PU or No More nails or similar..
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2012
Posts: 200
Location: Upper Northwest Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I simply set up a table-saw to the desired width and ran bar after bar through it. If width matters tremendously, I haven't personally witnessed that.

I made my bars with a saw-kerf down the middle, half a popsicle-stick deep, into which I glued wooden popsicle sticks with white glue.

And, along the way, I hit-upon the idea of doing one more saw-kerf cut, perpendicular to the bar and on one end only, where the pointed edge of the sloping side-panel naturally will fit when the bar is properly centered. Presto, the bars now quite-naturally line up when you put them back: just slide them back and forth until the side-wall board clicks into the little slot. Very handy. (It was to no advantage to kerf both ends of the bar.)
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annao
New Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2015
Posts: 4
Location: Liguria - Italy

PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,
I’m trying to build a TBH following the Phil’s manual. In the first version the width of the bars was 35 mm, in the second one is 38 mm. Why? I can easily find 37 x 27 mm battens. Do you think they can work?
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it really depends on the bees and even then once you're outside the brood area all bets are off. Honey combs can get upto 50mm.

Some bees are happy with 36mm (or sometimes even 34mm). If they haven't fully regressed though they may struggle and start to "drift" after a period of time. Many on this forum have moved to 38mm and this seems to be a fairly good catchall with very little trouble.

I do a number of people go for much thinner bars and then have various shim sizes so they can balance them out depending on the colony needs.

As for timber. You can get 50mm by 38mm and cut them long ways for twice the number of bars.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If 37mm is easily obtainable I would go for that. Do measure it before you buy though as sometimes, particularly with dressed wood, the actual size is quite a bit less than advertised. Make sure to use good comb guides on them and have some thin strips/shims on hand to pack out any bars where the comb is starting to overlap, as Andy says, particularly for the honey area. 4mm and 8mm are useful but whatever you can easily lay hands on.

I have bars of varying widths in my latest TBH. I made them from reclaimed panelling and just cut them to whatever width I could salvage the most out of each piece, so they range from 31 to 40mm. I marked on the end of each bar what width it is, so I can easily move a wider one in next to a narrow one if things are getting off line. I plan to have the narrowest ones in the centre of the brood nest.... but the bees will probably have a different idea. Rolling Eyes I'm not suggesting other people should do that as it overly complicates things, it's just that I needed to get as many bars out of the timber I had and of course I like making things difficult for myself! Wink
My point is, don't worry too much about the width of the bars because the bees won't. If things start running off, be prepared with some shims, but brood nest wise I think 37mm will be absolutely fine.... honey storage is anybody's guess.

Oh and welcome to the forum!

Best wishes

Barbara
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annao
New Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2015
Posts: 4
Location: Liguria - Italy

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much AugustC and Barbara !!
I try to do like you suggest, I don't worry about width and I prepare with some shims...
Very Happy
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