Since deciding which bee suit/veil combination was such as dramatic struggle for me, it wouldn't be possible that making all the equipment decisions would be any easier! Fortunately or not, I have already read three books on beekeeping (Beekeeping for Dummies, Complete Idiots Guide to Beekeeping and The Beekeepers Bible) and turning what I've read into a concrete action is a big deal. Each book has a different philosophy and approach to what kind of boxes to use (all mediums or mediums and deeps), what style of hive (Langstroth, Top Bar, etc) and frames (plastic foundation, foundationless, Honey Super Cell). So after much consternation I decided what approach to use and ordered all my equipment, minus one Langstroth style hive that my son-in-law built for my birthday. Despite some reading to the contrary, I decided to use two deeps for brood and then mediums for all the honey supers. I also decided that I like the idea of a more "natural" approach and I will be using some Honey Super Cell (HSC) frames to start my packages on and have foundationless frames for the rest. Well, who knew how expensive HSC frames would be? I planned on starting with two hives in the spring but at $6.25 per frame, that is $125 for 20 frames!! Shipping cost is not included either! I had read similar reactions on other blogs so I am going with a half way approach. I bought 10 frames of HSC and I will put my packages on 5 frames in each box. I'll make some follower boards for the extra space in the 10 frame boxes. Once the queen is using the all HSC frames to lay in, I will slowly introduce my foundationless frames. After the first generation of bees is born they should all be regressed and they can build whatever cell size they want on the foundationless frames. We'll see if theory turns into reality.
Speaking of frames, I have enjoyed assembling them so far. I really want to build all my own boxes but the detail in the frame pieces (not to mention the quantity of them) made me steer clear of attempting to make those myself. Here is my first effort at frame assembly