Top Bar Hive Plans

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Build your own Bee Thinking top bar hive using our step-by-step plans! Our professionally designed, full-color plans cover everything you'll need to make the best top bar hive for your bees. 21 pages.


  • Plan overview
  • Tool list
  • Wood choice
  • Sourcing materials
  • Cut list
  • Hardware and parts list
  • Sealing and painting
  • Top bar hive nucleus box plans

Option 1 - Construction Plans

Construction plans available immediately in digital PDF form.

Option 2 - Construction plans AND Hardware

Construction plans in physical print form, as well as all of the required hardware to assemble your hive.

  • Screws
  • Nuts
  • Bolts
  • Washers
  • Bushings
  • Hinges
  • Latch

Note: Does not include plexiglass for window, or #8 hardware cloth if you plan to build an optional screened bottom. 

Option 3 - Construction plans, Hardware, AND Precision-milled Top Bars

Includes everything in options 1 and 2, PLUS 28 precision-milled, one piece, pine  wedge top bars - The most difficult and dangerous part of the hive to construct if you only have access to a table saw. We make the best bars on the market, dramatically improving straight comb construction. We HIGHLY recommend using our bars.

Customer Reviews

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Christine Southard
Fort Collins CO

Not for the novice woodworker

We had hoped to be able to build our hives using these plans rather than the sometimes confusing do-it-yourself instructions we'd found on Phillip Chandler's (excellent) videos, or Les Crowley's book on top bar hives. We've build quite a few fairly simple things in our time, but have only basic woodworking tools - a cheap table saw, drills, circular saw. One supposed advantage of top bar hives is that they are simple, inexpensive, and straightforward to build. But, sadly, not with these plans. You need to be able to cut to 1/16th of an inch precision. Also, there are no directions. Like, you know: "Step one: do this first, then do this, then do this...". Just diagrams with the dimensions. I'm sure a good woodworker could knock this out, but for us - with nothing that designated the order of operations - we were lost. We tried to figure it out, but eventually went back to Phillip Chandlers not perfect but pretty good free downloadable step-by-step instructions, which also have lots of photos that were a huge help. Otherwise, I have had very good experiences with this Bee Thinking and their products.

Deadra B.
United States

Nice Company - Great Products

I'm very pleased with my business interactions and products. Prompt replies from Customer Service.

Jonathan W.
United States

Excellent detailed plans

Plans were very easy to read and everything was very well written and detailed.

Perri E.
United States

Awesome Plans!

I bought these plans for my crafty boyfriend as a Christmas present. He loves the detailed drawings and explanations. It’s been a pleasure to assemble. The Bee Thinking folks’ educational resources and availability via phone and email have made this such an enjoyable process for novice bee keepers such as ourselves. We can’t wait for Spring!

Ryan S.
United States

Bee hive top bar plans

It was Fairly simple with basic woodworking experience. Great support and products. Highly recommended. On the other side a note on the length of the hive body. I wasn't sure if I skimmed to quickly and missed it but I made a 20 degree cut on one side of each board for the bottom only .to get a better fit for the hive body. I also go a little farther using wood glue and nails to tack it into place and use screws as well. A little overboard but a stout hive. As well I changed the legs because of wind here in my area. I made a cleat on the outside of the end cap on each end of the hive 3/4 of a inch down from the edge, used 2x4s as legs at a 20 degree angle cut on both sides. 34and2/4 to the short end . Found center on the cleat matched up each end and used 1/2 inch bolts drilled threw the legs. Again over board but fantastic company and products.