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Author Topic: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less  (Read 463 times)

Offline Ben Framed

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Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« on: July 14, 2019, 11:25:55 am »
Paus, one of our members here, uses skewers to support his foundation-less frames.  As I was browsing through the grocery store yesterday, I ran across wooden skewers. I bought a pack of 100 and am going to try these. I am thinking that they will be better than the fishing line,(even stronger and faster to install), I have a couple questions that I would like to ask. Do the bees incorporate the skewers directly into the newly drawn comb?  Have you tried placing the skewers in the slot in the top frame to be used as a starter strip?
Thanks, Phillip

Offline ed/La.

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2019, 12:06:49 pm »
I use skewers now and then. I staple to frames to support comb that is at risk of breaking or for cutouts. . They are to short to make it from side to side but up and down works well. I have tried many things as starter strips. The skewers are not enough. I use wooden chop sticks stapled on sometimes. I tried thick paper, folded wax paper and they worked with limited success. Not worth the trouble. I like using plastic foundation for starter strips.  It cuts OK on table saw. Making thin wood strips on table saw is doable but can be slightly dangerous unless you are good with table saw. Wax foundation cut to strips is cheap and easy. Chop sticks easier but not as nice. Plastic starter is clean and durable. Artist paper might work OK but probably cost as much as wax. I considered making a jig to pour in place starter strips but never got around to it. Now considering trying an aircreat brood box. Pour a box.  No fasteners,  maybe reinforce corners with hardware cloth or screen. Sorry for rambling. Stir crazy. I have been in tropical storm for days with 1 or 2 more days of rain.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2019, 06:15:29 pm »
[ You are not allowed to view attachments ][ You are not allowed to view attachments ]

This is an example of what I threw together today. No Glue. I will seriously start thinking about something better. This was the smaller of the two sized skewers offered at the GroceryStore I am concerned about the thickness?

Offline ed/La.

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2019, 08:32:17 pm »
Looks like it will work well.

Offline yes2matt

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2019, 08:34:42 pm »
I installed some last year like your left picture.  I didn't put any wax or anything, just straight out of the package.

I usually use fish line horizontally, and it's been pointed out how the bees avoid drawing thru it, and it's true BUT they like fish line 100% better than skewers. They would. not. attach. to the skewers.  So it was like I had three mini-combs on the frame, only attached at the top. 

So I would suggest maybe scrub some wax on them. I gave up and went back to fish line so I can't say for sure that would help.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2019, 08:52:32 pm »
I installed some last year like your left picture.  I didn't put any wax or anything, just straight out of the package.

I usually use fish line horizontally, and it's been pointed out how the bees avoid drawing thru it, and it's true BUT they like fish line 100% better than skewers. They would. not. attach. to the skewers.  So it was like I had three mini-combs on the frame, only attached at the top. 

So I would suggest maybe scrub some wax on them. I gave up and went back to fish line so I can't say for sure that would help.

Thanks for the information Matt. I have been using fishing line also with great success. (eagle claw 15 lb test in the X pattern) I posted some pictures in a topic under the equipment section. The heading was about the new synthetic wax that is now for sale.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2019, 09:01:50 pm »
Looks like it will work well.

Thanks ed. I drilled holes in the bottom bar to insert the skewers into as a base at a close to 45 degree angle in one picture and straight in the other. I placed the tops in the top bar slots and used a 23 gage pen nailer. the pen nailer is perfect for this. but after reading Matts problems with this, I will probably stick to the tried and tested fishing line. I know paus uses skewers and successfully, Paus has always given me good solid information, maybe he does it a different way or maybe matts bees just did not like the skewers. Irregardless I really appreciate all of your replies. We are all still learning.
 :grin:

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2019, 12:07:05 am »
Phillip, a member by the name of Little John was talking to me about using skewers back when I first started. (Nice guy, Little John.  Haven?t seen him around in a while.)  Here?s the link to the thread, maybe you?ll find it interesting.
https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=50629.msg443618#msg443618
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2019, 12:40:20 am »
Phillip, a member by the name of Little John was talking to me about using skewers back when I first started. (Nice guy, Little John.  Haven?t seen him around in a while.)  Here?s the link to the thread, maybe you?ll find it interesting.
https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=50629.msg443618#msg443618

I do remember seeing Little Johns post here, he always signed LJ when I first started here. Yes he is quite knowledgeable. I wonder where he is? A real asset to beemaster! Thanks Member I will check this out  :grin:
Phillip

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2019, 01:02:54 am »
LJ was great!

Haven't heard from Dallasbeek in awhile either.   :cry:
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2019, 01:06:44 am »
LJ was great!

Haven't heard from Dallasbeek in awhile either.   :cry:

That is a coincidence, I PM'ed Dallas just this evening. I haven't heard back from him yet. But yes another good one.

Offline AR Beekeeper

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2019, 07:01:45 am »
Ben;  LJ is over on Beesource regularly.

Offline paus

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2019, 08:02:24 am »
I make my frames exactly the same as Ben illustrated in the picture, even using  the glued strips of scrap wood.  I HAVE NOT TRIED COATING THE SKEWERS WITH THE DIRTY WATER FROM MELTING WAX BUT I THINK IT WOULD WORK.  Next time I melt some wax I think I'll save some of the first water and give it a try.  I  have also used three skewers. 
Well maybe I won't save the water, some of the storms this spring killed my dedicated deep freeze, that I used to freeze every thing I got out of any hive for any reason.

Offline 2Sox

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2019, 12:10:36 pm »
Kelley Bees used to manufacture a foundationless top bar frame. Now that they are essentially Mann Lake, I don't see it listed in their catalogue.  I've used them for years.  Worked great IF you put in 2 or 3 frames of drawn frames, or frames with foundation in each box.

I only use them for brood boxes now.  For honey supers I switched to only frames with wax or plastic foundation. You can make your own foundationless frame with the grooved type top bar. Get some popsicle sticks and glue them inside the groove. Fits perfectly and not much labor involved. Sometimes I forgot and a few without the popsicle sticks end up inside the hive.  The bees built down perfectly from these anyway.

If you use a tangential extractor, I don't really see the necessity of skewer or nylon line. I have a radial with tangential inserts if I need them.  Never had a problem extracting a foundationless frame.
"Good will is the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." - Eli Siegel, American educator, poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2019, 12:20:31 pm »
Quote 2Sox
?Get some popsicle sticks and glue them inside the groove. Fits perfectly and not much labor involved. Sometimes I forgot and a few without the popsicle sticks end up inside the hive.  The bees built down perfectly from these anyway.
If you use a tangential extractor, I don't really see the necessity of skewer or nylon line. I have a radial with tangential inserts if I need them.  Never had a problem extracting a foundationless frame.?



I?ve also tried popsicle sticks as you say they work good. I had so many frames that I began ripping my on, on the table saw. Worked great also. But I was looking at the skewers at the grocery store and the larger ones, I believe will make a great top bar starter, saving a lot of time on the saw. I will try this. Thanks for the information about the different types of extractors. Sounds like the trick...
Phillip 

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2019, 12:41:46 pm »
Ben;  LJ is over on Beesource regularly.

Thanks AR, I sure would like to see him from time to time, here also.
Phillip

Offline bobll

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2019, 06:14:21 pm »
Am I right in assuming that skewers and/or fishing line is only to provide support to the comb until it is attached on all sides? If that is true, and without foundation, the bees will sometimes build wonky/curved comb around the skewers/line. Especially in the honey area. How can you push the comb back straight in the frame (repair), against the resistance of the skewers and fishing line, which are in the right place in the frame, but the wrong place in the curved comb?

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2019, 06:26:55 pm »
Bobll - I'd just cut that area of wax out at harvest and let them repair it each year till they get it straight. But that's me ... I'm pretty lazy (efficient)  :cheesy:.

Then again - if the comb is connected on all sides, I don't much see the need for support - in medium frames. Ran thru my extractor just fine this year - even white wax - as long as it was attached properly.  ... just some thoughts ...
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2019, 10:24:55 pm »
Am I right in assuming that skewers and/or fishing line is only to provide support to the comb until it is attached on all sides? If that is true, and without foundation, the bees will sometimes build wonky/curved comb around the skewers/line. Especially in the honey area. How can you push the comb back straight in the frame (repair), against the resistance of the skewers and fishing line, which are in the right place in the frame, but the wrong place in the curved comb?

Bob, it?s been my experience, as long as you have a good level box at least across to the sides,  your bees should leave the line directly in the middle of their comb. I made the mistake of not checking for level on my first attempt, which resulted in what you described. A Level box is the trick.
Phillip 

Let me add. It sure is nice to be able to pick up a frame of brand new soft white wax that has incorporated line into it. Even when the comb is not completely drawn out or yet attached at the sides or bottom and not have it fall out of the frame if you decide to take a look at it.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 10:56:44 pm by Ben Framed »

Offline bobll

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Re: Skewers for Support in Foundation-Less
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2019, 11:45:48 pm »
Interesting. I will check my hive again to see if it is level. I think most of my off centered comb is the result of the bees putting honey in the outside edge frames and building the comb wider/thicker, which off centered the next frames. I plan on harvesting those frames eventually, but I was thinking with skewers/fishing line, there would be no repairing or pushing the comb back centered in the frame.