Frame Jig
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Frame Jig from scrap wood

Frame jig from scrap wood.

Putting together frames is actually a pretty simple thing, but if you’re doing a lot of them, it helps to have a jig of sorts. There’s a great design for a frame jig over at BeeSource.com but I had a cutout very soon, not a lot of fancy wood-working tools and just some scrap wood to work with and not the time to mull over it so I simplified it a bit for my current project.

As you can see, it’s not much more than a simple rectangle made of scrap wood. I measured and cut the wood so that when they’re assembled, they’d fit within the 17″ space inside the verticals snuggly.  I had a couple more pieces of scrap wood that I placed on the the outside of the verticals so that I could clamp it down to hold them tightly.

Frame Jig showing top-bar ready for glueing

Frame Jig showing top-bar ready for glueing

In this case, I used my 12″ clamps – but now I’ve got a 24″ clamp that will work much better. Once clamped down, they’re ready for gluing and nailing. Or just nailing if that’s what you prefer. I’d clamp a few on – three or four frames for my little jig, but you can make it bigger and use a couple more clamps to spread the force out a bit – then make sure they’re even and straight then I’d tighten the clamp down. After that, while they can still slip a bit if I’m careless, they’re still held tightly enough that I can work quickly and securely.

Assembled frames removed from Frame Jig

Assembled frames removed from Frame Jig

I do the top-bars first. I preset the nails so that after I apply the glue and set it in place, all I have to do is nail it in. It’s like a factory – it goes very quickly. Once that’s done I flip it over and do the bottom-bars in the same manner. I wipe off any dribbling glue and let it set for a little bit. Then I’ll undo the clamps and slip the frames off and place them in a spot where they can finish curing.

And that’s that.

Michael Vanecek

I've been keeping bees with no treatments whatsoever for several years. I've followed a basic philosophy of if the bees don't bring it into the hive then it doesn't get put into the hive with good success. After a life-time of naturalism, this was simply the logical course to take with honeybee husbrandry and proof is out there buzzing and making honey right now.

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