How to Assemble Langstroth Frames - dummies

How to Assemble Langstroth Frames

By Howland Blackiston

You assemble all of the Langstroth frames, no matter the size, in an identical manner. Follow these instructions for each frame you put together. Putting together frames can be monotonous, but the assembly is faster and more enjoyable if you use a frame jig. Never paint your frames. Painting can be toxic to your bees. Always leave all interior parts of any hive unpainted, unvarnished, and all-natural.

1Place the top bar on your work surface with the flat side facing down on the table.

Then take two side bars and insert their wider ends into the slots at either end of the top bar.

2Insert the bottom bar into the slots at the narrow ends of the side bars.

The kerf cut is oriented to be within the frame assembly (the kerf is used to hold the foundation in place).

3Make sure the frame assembly is square.

Use your carpenter’s square to confirm.

4Nail all four pieces together using a total of eight 1-1/8 inch nails per frame (two for each end of the top bar and two for each end of the bottom bar).

In addition to nailing, glue the parts together using a weatherproof wood glue. Frames take a lot of abuse, and you want them as strong as possible. Apply a thin coat of glue wherever wooden parts come together.

Repeat Steps 1 through 6 until you’ve assembled all your frames before you move on.

5Hold a frame upright on the table and drop the flush end of a sheet of foundation into the kerf of the bottom bar.

Then coax the other end of the foundation (with the bent wires) into the space where the wedge bar was removed.

6Turn the frame and foundation upside down (with the top bar now resting flat on the table).

Adjust the foundation laterally so that equal space is on the left and right.

7Place the wedge strip that you removed earlier to its place.

Sandwich the foundation’s bent wires between the wedge strip and the top bar.

8With a hammer (or better yet, a brad driver), use @@bf5/8 inch brads to tack the wedge strip to the top bar.

Start with one brad in the center and then add one brad at each end of the wedge strip (three brads total is sufficient; you don’t use glue with the wedge strip).

9Use support pins (they look like little metal clothespins) to hold the foundation securely in place.

The pins go through the two predrilled holes on each of the side bars and pinch the foundation, holding it in place. You use two pins on each side bar (four pins per frame). You simply insert these by hand (no special tool is needed).