Saturday, December 3, 2011

Putting together, Wiring and fitting wax sheet to Dadant Frames.

This is a standard Dadant frame for the body of a hive obviously in kit form.
The four pieces of wood are a frame top with a grove down the middle .Two sides with pre drilled holes for the wax support wire to thread through and a recangular bottom piece that basically holds the two sides apart when fitted together.

The first thing is to take the two side pieces  and in the two flat ends hammer in 2 x 40 mm panel pins (preferably galvanised for extra longevity)
Put them in nearly all the way through but at a slight angle as below,  in order that they are easier to hammer in and cross the joint in to the top frame at a stronger angle.

Place your top frame in a vice or similar holding  device with the grove down the middle facing upwards, holding the frame side as below , Hold it to the frame top at 90 degrees and hammer the two nails in. Try using a pin hammer. If the vice holds the top frame well you will find the nails go in smoothly and  quickly.

Complete the same with the other sides , creating  the u shape as above.
Next, take the bottom bar and place it between the un- attached ends of the two sides. There will be a nail sticking out of each end. Hammer these in one at a  time, using the vice as a base as support  while you work. This will make life easier.
You now should have a fully constructed unwired frame.

Place the frame back in the vice but this time upside down.Wire up the frame going in from one side , out the other , then up or down the frame depending on how the holes are configured for the frame you have.
Some Dadant frames have different configurations of wiring. The ones I use most often are wired horizontally. Some I have used are wired vertically . Whichever frame you have always make your start knot and end knot finish on either the sidebar ( in my case thats always the case)or the bottom bar. This is  very important when  fitting the wax sheet.
Use a pair of pliers to cut the wire and a pair of long nose pliers to tighten the end wire before tying it off. It saves your fingers and makes much tighter frames.
Wax sheets.

I buy my wax sheets ready made. They are sold by the kilo, but basically 50 sheets weigh 5 kilos and 50 sheets covers 50 frames. If you are making half sized frames for honey supers then all you do is cut one sheet in half, so 50 sheets in this case gives you 100 frames. I will be making some honey supers at a later date this winter.
In the picture above wax sheet in just sitting on the edge of the frame. I put it like this so you can see the groove that the wax sheet sits in its really simple.
The picture below shows the wax sheet just sitting in the groove.
I have shown this in detail so you can see how it all fits together. Its not rocket science but if you have never done it before you dont want to mess up too many sheets!

Next cut a piece of wood or ply at least 20mm thickness and just smaller than the inside of your frame by about 1cm each side. Place your wax sheet underneath your wired frame, and place the frame over the top of piece of wood . Now you are ready to melt the wires in to the wax.
Fixing in the sheet.
Its very difficult to describe this process but first you need to get hold of 12 v  battery charger. At the end of eack croccodile clip, clamp in a sharpened piece of metal. In my case I use 2 six inch nails and it works just fine.
The idea is that you put your 2 metal electrical probes on to  a piece of wire within the frame. You will need to leave at least  15 cms space between the 2 probes otherwise you find that  the wire heats up too quickly and its also likely that your wire will melt or actually stick on to the electrical probes, causing a short, the wire will get too hot and melt the sheet in half.  The best way is to touch the wire with one probe and have the other in your hand to lift away quickly when the wire becomes hot.  When you have done this  a few times you will self learn with you particular machine when to stop heating the wire.
When you have fiished the wire should generally be melted in to a position inside the sheet of wax. Sometimes it may appear more one side than the other but this dosent matter as long as the sheet is secured along each wire fairly universally throughout the frame.
The wood underneath the sheet actually will hold the sheet in place and apply a gently pressure between frame and wire while the proccess is complete. Its really simple and takes a little practice.

The wax sheet is now in position. The wires are fixed in to the wax.
Finally if you have some spare wax and a small bain-marie you can melt a small line of wax in to the jont between the frame.this will give you extra strength but Its not essential as the bees will do the same job in time.

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