Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Super Easy Comb Stand

A comb stand is a great tool for a TBH keeper. Sometimes, you get a hive that is completely full, and it helps to have a place to put a couple extra bars while you inspect. Or maybe you want to separate a bar out for some reason. Again, it's helpful to have a place to put it.

Images of stands online range from extremely simple to fairly complicated for someone with minimal woodworking skills. A woodworking friend of mine has the coolest stand I've ever seen. It folds ups and even rotates on a lazy Susan base! 

A folding comb stand
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I think this one is interesting because the bar slides in,
but I'd worry about my fat fingers taking it out again.
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Adjustable comb stand from BeeThinking
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A less expensive variation on this theme is a hanger for file folders,
but you have to make sure it will fit your bars/comb.

Image from

My DH made me a nice comb stand a few years ago, but it broke, and he hasn't had time to fix it. (This is not a complaint, btw. He's a busy man, and I appreciate that he works hard.) So I took matters into my own hands and made a new stand based on photos someone posted to FaceBook. Here is the photo that was posted.

Mickey Schafer's brilliant comb stand design. It holds 3 bars at a time.

It's not a furniture-grade object, but it's easy to make, sturdy, and efficient. Perfect!!! It took about 20 minutes to make my own stand (time includes scrounging for wood scraps & chitchatting with the hubby). Oh yeah, since I used scraps that were lying around, it was pretty much free, too. Have I mentioned how brilliant this idea is & how much I love it???

I did change up one thing. I added a couple of blocks at the bottom of the posts for added sturdiness. They probably weren't necessary, but now it's solid... solid as a rock, that's what this stand is, that's what we've got... Sorry, it's late, and I'm getting punchy singing horrible, sappy 70's tunes.

My new comb stand with all its crazy, unmatched scraps of wood. But it's sturdy, practical & functional.
The upright posts are narrower than Mickey's, so it holds only 2 bars, but I'm still happy with it.

I didn't take any step-by-step photos, but this is a pretty easy project to figure out from just the photos. Anyway, if you're like me (i.e., workshop-challenged and too frugal to drop $70 on a comb stand), perhaps this design will be up your alley.


  1. Great ideas! I like a stand instead of the hanging frame holders like they have for Langs because you can put it on top of the hive (for a long hive at least). I'm running into the problem of a full box with my mini-hive and this solves that problem! One mod I'd make is a couple of scraps of wood on the edges of the vertical pieces so the bars can't accidently slide sideways off of them. I'm sure that would be the first thing that would happen to me. Wouldn't have to be much - just enough to create a (bee-stung?) lip! I know what I'm making this weekend!

    1. LOL! Yes, I thought about adding a lip (not bee-stung) to the sides of the vertical pieces for the same reason, and I still might make that mod in the future. But on that particular day, the sun was shining, and I just couldn't wait to check on the bees. :-)

      Have fun with your new project!!!

  2. I have neither the tools to work with wood, nor many friends that do, so I made do with something I bought at the office supply store. It's a hanging file holder, the metal rails you're supposed to put inside filing cabinets. I think they were 2 for $12. I did have my husband hack-saw the rails shorter, but out of the box they're adjustable. Mine now fits inside a plastic "bankers box". Very handy during honey harvest.

    My top bar hive is a little one, and the size is just right for 7 top bars. Conveniently, if inspecting my Warré hive its combs fit the other direction. The only trouble with my comb stand is it's four-sided so all combs have to be lowered in. It's never caused any problems, it's just something to be mindful of and sometimes having to be mindful seems like so much work.

    Here's a link to an old post from my blog with pictures.

    1. I've often wondered if one of those file folder holders would work, so that's great to see! I can definitely see the advantage during a honey harvest - just put them in the banker's box and close the lid to keep the robbers out! I do like the idea of a collapsible one like the first one in this blog post (Phil Chandler's design in his book), too. So many choices!

    2. Don, one thing I learned is to put a cloth in the box which can be used by the bees to climb out, or draped over the harvested combs to keep the bees off. The bees can't fly out for some reason and they can't — try as they might — climb up the plastic sides of the box. I use a piece of old pillowcase, and it's just right.

    3. That's good to know, HB. I was thinking something like this in a cardboard box would be a good swarm capture box because you could hang some bars that they could use in case you couldn't transfer them to a permanent hive quickly. I'm thinking they'd like the cardboard better than the plastic. Also, if the frame could come apart quickly and the box was collapsed, the whole thing could be pretty compact and easy to reassemble.

    4. It does get hot in the plastic box, so it's best to keep it in the shade when harvesting. It's nice and strong for that purpose. Seven combs for me would total 30+lbs. It's also handy for carrying equipment to outyards, even with the frame assembled in it. Interesting idea you've got there for a swarm capture box. The frame does come apart easily. You just need a thick thumbnail or a dime to loosen the bolt. Or a hive tool, perhaps.

    5. I really like that box with the rails! Last season, I'd looked at some free standing file hangers, but they wouldn't accommodate my bars (too narrow, too shallow). Your setup looks great. Something like that would be great for harvesting since it's fairly lightweight. (Ok, the honey is still heavy, but the box adds minimal weight to the load). Thanks for sharing that! Love it!


Thank you for your comment! I can't wait to hear what you think!