top bar bee hive

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Project by sval229 posted 04-18-2011 01:16 AM 13358 views 9 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I saw Wil’s bottom board setup for his hives. I had hoped to incorperate the idea into this one, but things didn’t work out. My customer (my future daughter-in-law) needs it for a college project and it had to fit certain parameters.
The whole thing used 2 pcs. 1 X 12 X 8’ white pine and a 8/4 X 9 X 9’ hunk of poplar to make the bars. Throw in a few feet of 1/4” ply., a piece of double strength glass, and some turnscrews that I’ve had around since the early 70’s and you have it. The basic box is put together with Titebond III and pocket screws on the inside. I posted a pic of the steps to make the bars from 8/4 stock. After squaring everything up and cutting , jointing, and planing the pieces to uniform but oversized blanks I cut the angles for the sides and ends. This way I still had a fairly stable blank to work with. Then I separated the pieces and trimmed the sides to width. I guess I have about $95 in material ( only ‘cause I bought the good pine at The Depot). Pic #4 shows the moveable false back so you can increase the useable space of the hive as needed,

8 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3213 days

#1 posted 04-18-2011 01:27 AM

Very cool, not something I would have ever thought of trying. Well done enjoy lots of honey!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3489 days

#2 posted 04-18-2011 03:58 AM

Great POST! We’ve discussed using the top bar hive but have started with the traditional. We may expand into top bar or warre. Thanks for the close look at the bars. I really like the viewing window, although I wonder if the bees will cover it. This is headed straight to favorites. Thanks again.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3602 days

#3 posted 04-18-2011 04:34 AM

Great job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Albert's profile


509 posts in 3614 days

#4 posted 04-18-2011 04:58 PM

Nicer job, I hope your son enjoys his honey.

View TrentFysty's profile


21 posts in 2651 days

#5 posted 04-18-2011 05:22 PM

Very nice job on the top bar hive. I build these for a local bee supply store. Looks like you really took your time. Using the popal is a really nice choice. Who’s plans did you use?

View sval229's profile


77 posts in 3567 days

#6 posted 04-19-2011 03:43 AM

Trent, the plans came from I made the “golden mean” hive. I used poplar for the bars ‘cause it was only $3.45 b/f at my local supplier. Besides, it gave me a good reason to buy a new rip blade for my saw.
BTKS, From what I’ve read the bees tend not to cover up the glass. With the design of the bars they tend to work toward the center first. You only open the side cover to take a peek every once in a while.

View CueballRosendaul's profile


484 posts in 2165 days

#7 posted 05-29-2014 02:41 PM

So this was posted three years ago. I’m wondering if its working? Does she have bees in it? I’m going to bee building a hive in the next few weeks and figured I’d start my research here on LJ among the experts.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View sval229's profile


77 posts in 3567 days

#8 posted 05-30-2014 11:29 PM

I built a second one for a local teaching farm and both hives are thriving. The first is still being used at Rider University in NJ along with a couple Langstroth hives. Top bar hives are much better for wax production because the bees construct their own combs instead of using pre-constructed frames. Langstroth hives are better for honey production. Beeswax candles are great.

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