6.15.2007

Amateur Hour Carpentry (The Spirit of Duchamp)

Amateur Hour Carpentry, LLC was open for business yesterday, when a burst of energy sent me on a sawing-drilling-wire-cutting frenzy in pursuit of my very own top bar holder.

When you're inspecting the combs, it's nice to have a way to briefly secure each top bar outside the hive, so you can see what's going on and, if necessary, perform "management tasks" like cutting off comb that's adhering to the edges of the hive or culling drone comb (an organic management option for reducing populations of the dreaded Varroa destructor mite, a honeybee parasite and disease vector). (You gotta love these Latin names—they don't mess around.)

Also, the combs get kind of heavy when they're filled with honey and brood, so if you're working on your own with the hives, a top bar holder comes in handy.

The nice people on my Top Bar Hive discussion group suggested various approaches for fashioning a top bar holder and I have seen some handsome ones during searches on the web. But having zero carpentry skills (and way too many tools), I went for the super-easy design in Phil Chandler's neat little book, The Barefoot Beekeeper, available as a free download. All you need are a few pieces of scrap wood, two heavy-gauge coat hangers, and the will to fail where others have succeeded.

The result is something along the lines of a Duchamp Readymade, no?
Disclosure: Phil Chandler's version is a lot more elegant than mine, but hey, Amateur Hour Carpentry, LLC always lives up to its name!

3 comments:

Karen G. said...

Hey Gerry!!

This is wonderful news and a charming blog! M read "Robbing the Bees" and LOVED it. She was almost convinced to be a beekeeper herself.

I have been thinking of you lately, will send an email.

Congrats on this great adventure!

cheers,
Karen

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

Karen,
Been thinking of you, too. Please do write!
G

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.