Building the Hive – top bar

photographic subject of page

Each top bar has a spline along its length. The splines face into the chamber and rib its ceiling. A spline (hopefully!) guides the bees to build a single comb along the length of the bar and perpendicular to the long axis of the chamber. A beekeeper can then lift out each bar to inspect or harvest comb one by one. And that's the quintessence of a top-bar hive. The bar width is important for removable comb as well. Some sources recommend 1 3⁄8 and others say 1 4⁄8 instead. Mine are the latter because that's what Home Depot carries and because my workshop lacks a table saw to rip the wider to the narrower. For the guides, I simply glued on 1⁄4-square dowels in the absence of tools for anything more elaborate.