How To Assemble A Frame For Beginners
There are many different types of frames you can use in your beehive depending on your hive configuration and what you are trying to achieve. This article describes how to assemble a Wedge Top Bar / Grooved Bottom Bar wooden frame for a Langstroth Hive.
A wedge top bar frame has a piece of wood, called the wedge cleat, which runs along the top bar. The wedge cleat is removed prior to assembly and then reinstalled after the foundation is in place. The grooved bottom bar has a groove running along the bottom that the foundation sits inside. This frame can be used with both wax and plastic foundation, or with starter strips, which makes it a versatile option.
How to Assemble A Frame
1. First you need the following tools – Hammer, Razor Blade, Carpenter’s Square, Wood Glue, 1-1/4″ Frame Nails (aka 18 x 1-1/4 wire nails) and Paper Towels.
2. You also need the 4 pieces that make up the frame.
3. Next, take your razor blade and cut off any slivers / extra pieces of wood from your frame pieces. If you are assembling a large number of frames it is easier to do this to all of your frame pieces first before continuing further.
4. After the frame pieces are cleaned it’s time to remove the wedge cleat. Take your razor blade and run it along the groove on the side of the top bar to remove the wedge cleat.
5. After the wedge cleat is removed, use the razor blade to clean off any left over wood pieces from both the top bar and the wedge. Put the wedge cleat aside and save it for later.
6. Pick up one side bar and put a tiny dab of glue in the top upper groove, located on the thicker section of the side bar as seen in the picture below.
7. Take one top bar piece and fit it inside the side bar (where you applied glue) as shown in the picture below. Push down so the pieces fit together tightly.
8. Glue the other side bar in the same manner and attach it to the opposite side of the top bar. You should now have a 3 sided frame made from two side pieces and a top bar. Turn the partially assembled frame upside down and apply a tiny bit of glue to the bottom grooves of both side bars.
9. Now you can put the bottom bar of the frame in place with the groove facing the inside. Push down until it fits snugly.
10. Next, use a paper towel to clean up any glue that has leaked out.
11. Now it is time to nail your frame together. Do not wait for the glue to dry first. The frame should be nailed immediately after gluing. A total of ten 1 1/4″ frame nails will be nailed into the frame. Four on the bottom, four on the top and one nail into each side of the frame.
Hammer the first nail into the bottom of the frame as shown in the picture.
Hammer the second nail in place as shown.
12. Check if the frame is square. If it is not square gently muscle it into place.
13. Repeat the same steps to nail the other side of the frame bottom.
14. Check if this side of the frame is square. Adjust if necessary.
You should now have four nails on the bottom of your frame. Both sides of the frame bottom should look like this.
15. Flip the frame over and nail the top of the frame in the same fashion with two nails on each side.
16. Now hammer two nails into the other side of the top of the frame.
17. Check to see if your frame is still square, muscling into place if necessary.
You should now have two nails on the top of the frame on each side.
18. Now that your frame is nailed together, hammer one nail into the side of the frame near the top bar as seen in the picture below. Be sure to align the nail with the thick side of the top bar, not the side the wedge was removed from.
19. Now flip the frame over and hammer the last nail into the other side of the frame underneath the top bar. Align the nail with the thick side of the top bar. These two nails on each side of the frame help it last longer and keep the top and side bars from separating.
Your finished frame will look like this. Save the wedge cleat for when you install the foundation or starter strips. You will use it to hold both plastic and wax foundation in place.
Congratulations! You’ve completed a frame! Now it’s time to assemble the rest of them. If you have numerous hives and are making many frames you should build or buy a jig which allows you to make many frames at once. But for a backyard beekeeper with only a few hives this is a cheap and easy way to build all the frames you need.
I have additional beginner beekeeping posts coming soon including How to Install a Package of Bees. If you are interested in these stories and more beekeeping tips you should subscribe to this blog right now with RSS Feeds or click here to Receive Our Free Email Newsletter.
This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday.
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