Cut List for British National Hive Deep and Shallow Frames

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The side bars for the British National hive have a wide profile at the top and taper to a narrower profile at the bottom. This tapered shape provides the correct distance between frames and allows for the proper bee space around and in between the frames so that bees can travel freely (and so they don’t glue the frames together).

The top of each end bar has a notch to accommodate the top bar, and the bottom has a notch to accommodate the bottom bar.

In the following table, the Material column lists nominal dimensions, and the Dimensions column lists the actual, final measurements.

Quantity Material Dimensions Notes
44 2" x 6" spruce or fir 5-9/16" x 1-3/8" x 3/8" These are the side bars for the shallow frames.
Drill two 1/8" holes 1-3/4" apart and centered along the long length of the side bar.
33 1" x 6" clear pine 17" x 1-1/16" x 3/4" These are the top bars for all the frames.
Cut a saw kerf groove centered along the entire length, 1/8" wide by 1/4" deep.
33 1" x 6" clear pine 14" x 3/8" x ¾" These are the bottom bars for all the frames.
33 3/32" balsa wood 12" x 1" x 3/32" Use a utility knife to cut balsa wood sheets into starter strips.
22 2" x 6" spruce or fir 89/16” x 1-3/8" x 3/8" These are the side bars for the deep frames.
Drill two 1/8" holes 1-3/4" apart and centered along the long length of the side bar.
[Credit: Illustration by Felix Freudzon, Freudzon Design]
Credit: Illustration by Felix Freudzon, Freudzon Design
[Credit: Illustration by Felix Freudzon, Freudzon Design]
Credit: Illustration by Felix Freudzon, Freudzon Design

How to make tricky cuts for side bars

Follow these steps and refer to the preceding figures to make the cuts for side bars. The basic steps are identical for deep and shallow side bars. Make these cuts using your table saw or with a table router if you have one.

It's easiest to make frames assembly-line fashion — set up your work space for making one particular cut and then repetitively make that cut on all the pieces that call for it. For example, cut out all the top notches on all the side bars before readjusting your tools and measurements and moving on to the bottom notches.

  1. Create the taper by removing 1/8 inch of material from each vertical edge of the bar.

    Note that the lower portion of the side bar is narrower than the upper portion. For both the deep and shallow side bars, the taper cut starts 3-1/2 inches down from the top.

  2. Cut a notch 7/8 inch wide by 3/8 inch deep at the top of the side bar.

    The top bar snaps into this notch when you assemble the frame.

  3. Cut a notch 3/4 inch wide by 3/8 inch deep at the bottom of the side bar.

    The bottom bar snaps into this notch when you assemble the frame.

How to make tricky cuts for top bars

Follow these steps to make tricky cuts for top bars (and, because a picture is worth a thousand words, be sure to refer to the preceding figures):

  1. Cut a kerf 1/8 inch wide by 3/8 inch deep along the entire long length of the designated underside of the top bar.

  2. Cut a vertical notch 3/8 inch wide by 3/32 inch deep on both sides and at each end of the top bar.

    The notch starts 1-1/2 inches back from the ends of the bar. When you assemble the frames, you insert the top of the side bars into these notches.

  3. Working from the underside of each end of the bar, make a 3/8 inch deep by 17/8 inch wide rabbet.

    This creates the tabs at each end of the top bar.


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