I have been building hive equipment, including hive bodies in my shop. Up to now I've used cleats screwed to the sides of the hive bodies for handles. What I'd really like to do is dish out the wood for the type of handles the commercial boxes have. Anyone know how to do that using common wordworking tools?
Try cutting the lip where your fingers would go with a 1/2" router bit. Then sketch out the lower part with a felt tip pen. Grab your gouge (you do wood sculpting don't you? and carve away. My best guess for the scooped out design at the bottom is so no rainwater will collect and cause rot. That's why I didn't suggest using the router to carve out a LARGE square section.
Is there some particular reason why you don't like the cleets? Seems like an awful lot of work to get rid of the cleets.
Have you considered cutting the notches with a dado blade and then running a dovetail bit with a guide bearing along the top side of the dadoed slot to give you the neat angled finger grip that you want ?? It will take a couple of steps, but, will hopefully give you a nice comfortable way to carry your boxes.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gpjohns:
<snip> Is there some particular reason why you don't like the cleets? Seems like an awful lot of work to get rid of the cleets.
Yep. My hives are on the north side of my property & although screened by trees, etc. they do suffer from the north winds. The clusters are always bunched way up on the southern ends of the hive boxes when I open them in the spring (including the one that most recently died).
What I've decided to do is take 4 sheets of 2" blue foam insulation 3 medium supers tall (I use mediums for everything) and enclose the hive with new (temporary) walls of insulation. This will give me R-10 beehives which should resist the overwintering stress enormously. Two of the panels will overlap the other two & I'll attach them to each other using Velcro strips. This makes them portable & I can just snap them on in the winter & off in the spring.
So, the cleats have to go as they stick out from the sides & make the insulation panels not fit.
> Yep. My hives are on the north side of my property & although
> screened by trees, etc. they do suffer from the north winds. The
> clusters are always bunched way up on the southern ends of the
> hive boxes when I open them in the spring (including the one that
> most recently died).
I would suggest that if in fact your bees are not surviving the winter well and you're sure the problem is the wind, an easier solution would simply be to wrap them with a breathable wrap such as house wrap (Tyvek) and forego the insulation. We get just as low of winter temps here in the Chicago area as you would have in CT. Bees don't die from cold. They'll parish from wind, poor ventilation and damp conditions, starvation and disease but not the cold. I assume even though you have your hives on the north, their entrances face another way?
Another thing you might try is to turn your entrance 90 degrees so it's parallel with the frames. This way any wind won't go shooting up between all the frames. This winter I left a full 3/8" X 15" opening for the entrance on half the hives and the other half closed down to 3/8" X 1". One faced north, and the rest were facing east. No wraps, no insulation. All hives are robust at this time.
Regarding cutting the handhold, it can be done on a table saw but is somewhat dangerous. The first cut is made with the 3/4" dado blade(s) by lowering the box down over the blade using stops that are clamped to the saw as a guide and to keep the wood from moving any direction except up or down to the blade.
Once this plung cut is made, the next operation will be again to clamp blocks on the saw table where you want the board to be when it engages the blade. With your single rip blade back on and below the table surface at a 15 degree (whatever you want it to be) angle, hold the board down to the table while you slowly raise the blade up into the stock, cutting the angled notch below the first cut.
A second best would be just to make the first dado cut into the side and leave it at that. I doubt the lack of the bottom being cut away will shorten the life of the box at all if sealed with a good paint job. Much safer too.
I made my cutouts using 2 cuts of my dado head. By setting the fence on the table saw and C-clamping a board to the saw for spacing, I was able to make the first cut in the side of each of my boxes (13/16"). The long side of each box goes against the fence and the short dimension buts against the clamped board. Next I moved the fence over just a little and cut the boxes once more making about a 1.5" cutout in the side of each box. It took about 20 minutes to cut out 18 boxes.
I just figured this out and did it on a table saw last night. I also started explaining exactly how I did it - basically a sloped jig that runs your side perpendicular to the saw blade. But somehow I hit a ket that wiped out everything I had written. Anyway a picture would be easier - if you still need more information, email me and I'll draw up a picture.