View Full Version : Plywood boxes
02-23-2012, 03:19 PM
I made some boxes today out of 3/4" form ext BB plywood. It took me 1 hr 15 min to cut and rabbete 5 deep 1 med box. This all came from one 4x8 sheet . I rabbeted the ends on both sides and ends. The sheet cost $34.00 with tax. I then used TB III glue and 2" finish nail gun w/ galv. nails. I nailed both directions. I filled the holes, sanded, and primed. I will fine sand and put 2 coats of ext. paint on. I wanted to see how they hold up. I also make my screen bottom boards, inner covers, teloscope tops w/ alum. , and tops with out alum. that i drill a 2 3/4" hole for quart mason jar. I also make a 3/4" x 3/4" spacer to put on top of a super instead of the inner cover , so i can lay a proten patdy in, then put the top on.
02-23-2012, 05:42 PM
I made 21 medium 8-frame plywood boxes last weekend. I used 3/8" sheathing. I doubled the ends and mitered the corners. The single thickness sides were stiffened top and bottom with a 7/16" strip ripped from a 2x6. Everything glued, stapled, and squared and I have boxes I believe will serve my purposes well.
I hope to be able to produce nucs to sell next season, and these are the boxes I will sell with the nucs. Therefore they will be rotated out each year. I thought it was worth trying. They cost me about $2.50 in materials and about 20 minutes each in labor. I haven't finished them yet, but will probably shoot a coat of exterior stain on them.
02-23-2012, 07:37 PM
I sure would like to see some pictures.
02-23-2012, 07:38 PM
Why do you rabbet both ends?
02-23-2012, 09:01 PM
I know you think you have saved a lot of money, but the longevity of those boxes in your wet climate is going to shock you I am afraid. Check the prices at beebabys.com He makes boxes cheap and I think is still shipping them free. But you did get to make a manly amount of sawdust and that is always a good thing!
02-24-2012, 07:21 AM
Mann Lake is less and free shipping. Deep 10 frame budget $11.00 ea . I know the wet climate may have an affect on these boxes but i wanted to try them out. I see beebabys uses plywood for there 5 frame nucs also.
02-24-2012, 08:12 AM
Make sure the outside of the plywood boxes is completely waterproof (i.e. well painted or sealed) and seal the top and bottom edges with Titebond III glue -- a very thin film wiped on with your finger and allowed to dry will do.
Then if you are lucky and the hives don't leak or have serious condensation problems the boxes will last as well as plywood ever does when subject to fluctuating moisure content, which is to say not all that well. Problem is that the plys expand and contract in different directions, resulting in shearing of the glue/wood interface, and eventually you have three or five thin sheets of wood that are not longer attached.
That said, some people claim to have good luck with plywood boxes, you may be quite happy.
I intend to use good old pine. It's inexpensive, I can easily make my own boxes with it for less than I can buy them (my time is free for this purpose) and it's fun. Decent quality pine boxes, kept well painted and sealed, should last decades -- the Douglas Fir trim on the gables of my house is 56 years old and is in near new condition, just have to paint it every few years.
02-24-2012, 08:46 AM
psfred I can not find 1x12 6' for the $11.00 i can get a deep already cut, ready to put together. My time is not free but i do like making things. I did save money for my time to cut out the plywood boxes. I would have to be able to but 1x12 cheeper than $11.00 per 6' for me to cut them out my self. I can make the top, bottom,and inner cover a lot cheeper than to buy them. There is a lot of plywood used in ext building . T1-11 is just one, AC Ext on gables of homes is another. Kept painted it last a long time. I use to build homes and have seen cdx roof sheeting get wet before it gor tar paper put on. Some sheets would start comming apart if you spit on it and some would never change even after several rains. I am new to the bees and have saw a lot of you2 to where the pine boxes were rotting . It looks like it is the top and botton edges not the corners. People say not to paint the edges, but id it is not painted the water will wick in them. I painted mine. I know they stick and i am going to try what sone one said to use croscote or vasiline. At any rate working with the bees, at least on a small scale is fun, maybe make some honey to.
02-24-2012, 10:00 AM
Try a $1.99 (lowes) tube of 25 year paintable caulking, rub it into on the knots, joints, cracks and end grain with your finger. (a tool will not work as good)
It take about 5 min. and will add years to the life. I also use it on solid wood boxes before painting.
I tried a few plywood boxes, they warped the first time it rained, still usable, but won't be making any more.
02-24-2012, 12:59 PM
I have tried the plywood for nucs and they did not hold up well for me either, but I did get the cheap stuff. I primed and painted it thinking it would help it last longer. I do not know if it was the Texas heat or humidity but the lids warped quickly. Lesson learned, if I try plywood again I would spend more money or just go pine because it has proven itself to me.
02-24-2012, 01:37 PM
I got 4 ft 1 x 12 for $5.19 at the local Lowes, not the cheapest place in town. Gives me two nuc boxes for three pieces, for a price of $7.75 each, plus I have left overs for an inner cover, etc.
Cheaper in 6 ft lenths, more expensive in 10 ft, but I can only fit a 4 ft one in the car, will have to borrow my brother's truck this weekend and go shopping.
I got some off-fall to make a medium box for $3.56.
I can see your point, though -- by all means, try plywood, but prepare to be disappointed with the longevity. Big difference between siding on a conditioned space and siding on an open box!
02-24-2012, 04:18 PM
The form plywood i used is what is used to form tiebeams on block houses to pour concret in. It is aleays out side in use or on the trl. going to another job. The only time it goes bad is from nailing to much or by bad taking it down. They normaly put oil on it to help keep the concret from sticking. It is not marine grade but is close to it. I have some cut offs i will put out side with out painting to see what it does. If the boxes do not last long, oh well at least i had fun making them. I will not make any more for 2-3 yrs. just to see what these do.