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Author Topic: Accommodating Warre ...  (Read 2212 times)

Offline little john

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Accommodating Warre ...
« on: October 27, 2020, 08:23:10 am »
I've just been reading Charantejohn's post about a Warre adapter, and so as to not high-jack his thread, I thought I'd start a separate thread about other methods of accommodating frames or top-bars which have shorter lengths than 'standard'.

FWIW, some years ago I tried working with a couple of Warre beehives (Russian 'Alpine' Hives, to be precise) and although the bees adored that narrow chimney format, at the time I couldn't see any obvious way of integrating the shorter Warre top-bar into my existing beekeeping 'system', and so I reluctantly abandoned those boxes.  Being short of storage space, I stacked the boxes outside, and an incoming swarm duly moved into one, thus confirming in my mind that this was indeed a desirable hive format.  But - without some means of integrating the shorter top-bar I remained snookered.

The following pics show the simple method I used to recover those combs which had useful content - by cable-tying the short top-bars under longer plain top-bars, or those of frames:

The same method could of course be used in the reverse direction - to get individual Warre top-bars/frames drawn-out and occupied within a large format box before being installed in a Warre hive - but I was looking for a method whereby whole boxes could be integrated.

The years passed and I got fed-up looking at those Warre boxes (which by now had moved inside the workshop and had collected quite a layer of dust) - and so I decided to convert them by extending their length to that of my other British-National hives.  These I called my National-Warre's (no imagination ...), and which have been performing well since that time.

As the whole Warre incompatibility issue remained unresolved, on a whim I decided to make a National-to-Warre adapter box, which was nothing more than a Warre box built inside a National box:

...and with cladding added:

Good idea ?  Not really.  For no sooner had I built it than I saw a much better way of proceeding.  It seems that sometimes it's necessary in life to get things wrong in order to then engage in "error correction".

All that was ever necessary was to retrofit rebates (rabbets) in all four sides of the National-Warre boxes ...

In this way I could then run 8x National frames lengthwise, or 10x Gallup frames (which fit directly into Warre boxes) crosswise. Simple - with hindsight.  There was only one problem with this - I was the only beekeeper in the world (afaik) who had 8-frame British-National boxes.  What I really wanted was to create some kind of adapter box which used already-existing standard equipment.

And so finally (pause for drum-roll ...) a viable solution emerged. For anyone who uses dummies (dummy frames/follower boards etc) extensively as I do, it should have been obvious all along: dummying-down a standard 11-frame box to 8 frames for over-wintering is a common enough practice in the colder parts of the UK, and so an '8-frame box' is effectively created by the use of such dummy boards - all that is then required is to provide rebates (rabbets) on the inner top side of those dummy boards. And here it is:

All that is required is to make dummy boards of the appropriate thickness (in this case 50mm), and provide them with a suitable shoulder to function as a rebate. It will be necessary to install a batten or some other means of preventing the dummies from swinging outwards at the bottom, should the frames ever become heavy with stores. While the frames remain light however, there appears to be no obvious need for this precaution.

As shown, substantial voids exist when only a few short frames are installed - this can easily be avoided by installing appropriately-sized dummies, three of which have been installed at the top of this photograph:

The beauty of this technique, when compared with earlier methods, is that each of the components can be used elsewhere as required - they only need to be assembled together in this particular way whenever an adapter box is required.

Although this post has been concerned with accommodating 12.5 inch Warre/Gallup top-bars within boxes designed for 17 inch top-bars, I see no reason why this technique could not be used with other sizes and therefore hope that this post may be of some practical use to others.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 08:47:28 am by little john »
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Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Accommodating Warre ...
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2020, 09:30:59 am »
Welcome back Little John.
Good information for our Warre beekeepers.
This can also bee used to put mini Nuc frames in a standard box.
Jim Altmiller
Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote.
Ben Franklin