My horizontal hive is work in progress. I do not have a plan, just making it up as I go along. I am making the hive from 25mm pine plywood and painting it with a sealer and 3 coats of Wattyl Solarguard. I am utilising 7 Flow frames, queen excluder and will build up my brood box as the colony grow. I have made the width 1200mm so the bees have plenty of room to expand. I will be using 2 x follower boards to follow the expanding hive.
I have decided to use #8 stainless wire on the bottom for ventilation. Having a 19mm pine top will keep the heat in during winter and cold air drops through the ventilation wire. Having good insulation under the roof will keep the heat out in summer. They say that this system is also good for snow country, not too cold in winter. Sourcing this #8 wire was a hassle as I could only get a min order of 3m and I only needed 500mm width, I now have enough to make another 5 horizontals.
I have also made plenty of viewing windows all round, much bigger than the Flow hive has which gives me optimal viewing of the complete frames, not just a small section.
I may even consider putting in a foundationless frame in the super side so as to get some honeycomb as well. They say, the bigger the hive, the stronger so less hassles with the beetles etc (I hope), that’s why I would like it the bigger the better.
It is a very tedious job but it is coming along. Going to Europe in 2 weeks time and will have to get it completed in late July/August when I return.
Your idea of 4 frames should work, you can also make it a hybrid system and collect some honeycomb as well.
If you are going to order from Flow in Australia, do so b4 16 June and put in the promo code Flow15 for a 15% discount. Too good an opportunity to miss.
I am only new to all this, in fact, I’m not even a bee keeper, just a bee hive keeper at the moment.