Making wide frames for 10 frame Langstroth hives

When beekeeping in Queensland there was a recurring theme of older beekeepers recommending nine frames in 10 frame Langstroth honey supers. This isn’t something I have seen in Canberra, but when creating 37mm wide frames for the eight frame Langstroth discussion (Improving eight frame Langstroth spacing with wider end bars), I thought it would be a worthwhile exercise to make ‘extra wide’ end bars at the same time to investigate spacing nine frames in a 10 frame hive for those that use this method.

One of the reasons given for this alternate spacing is to make uncapping easier with an uncapping knife. Unfortunately, widening the frame end bar doesn’t accommodate this requirement as the comb won’t protrude past the width of the end bar, but it does provide consistent spacing between the frames removing the need to manually space them. The original Hoffman frame design is for evenly spacing frames pressed firmly together. This end bar design keeps this design principle but makes the frame slightly wider.

To achieve close to 350mm total frame width (10 x 35mm), the frame end bar shoulder width was increased to 39mm to produce a total frame width of 351mm (9 x 39mm). This creates a wider frame that also increases spacing between top and bottom bars. The gallery width between frames is maintained using the same dimension as the 35mm end bars.

10 x 35mm Hoffman frames in 370mm width plastic Langstroth super

Remaning space in super shows just over 19mm (35mm end bar has some minor variance and are slightly larger than 35mm)

Laser cut 39mm end bar

Spacing in 10 frame hive using 9 frames with 39mm end bars

Showing almost identical spacing to 10 x 35mm end bars. Due to minor sizing discrepancies in 35mm frame end width, result is slightly larger remaining space for 39mm end bars, not less

Hi there. I’m a beekeeper from south Australia and run 9 frame supers and will be going to 9 frame brood box as well. I use metal spacers to evenly space them but I am now looking at just getting frames with 39 to 40 mm side bars but can’t find anyone who makes them. Did you make them your self or did you buy them

Hi Jason, welcome to the site.

I drew these in CAD and had them laser cut to fit in top/bottom bars of existing Alliance frames. They work out to be about $2.50 an end bar which isn’t cheap :relaxed:, with the top/bottom bar it’s about $6.50 a frame.

1 Like

That might be a bit pricey cause I’m wanting to put about 2000 frame together. I might have to find a machine shop to mill some timber up for me. Did you have any trouble with the bees drawing it out

Haven’t had these in supers yet (planned for next season), but I know many people who run 9 frames in 10 frame supers without issue.

The greatest cost was really getting the timber thicknessed to the correct thickness to interface with the Alliance top bars (9.7mm-10mm thick). As this was a fairly short run of end bars for testing, the cost was high.

Another option is to use ply which comes in 10mm, but it isn’t really laser friendly, so you would need to get the end bars CNC’d instead.

Lastly… it may be easier to just make a ‘shim’ that is glued onto 35mm end bars to provide the additional 4mm, either 2mm each side, or a Hoffman style spacer on one side of the frame.

Hi RBK, I was wondering if you would be willing to share the file that you used to cut the frames? These are a fantastic idea.