Well, now that the summer is over I have finally gotten around to building the first of the baby nucs I want for queen rearing.
I cut out a box, 4 pieces of 1 x 8, each 8 inches long and ran each thru the finger joint jig. The pieces fit together perfectly, making a nice looking box.
However, the opposing sides have the fingers in different positions so that when I cut the rabbet for the frame rests one end will have to be hand formed. Ratzzz, now how did that happen?
Well, the fact is that this is the first finger-joint work I ever did. Now that I know what to look for the next box and those that come after will be perfect. The box will hold 4 short medium depth frames and will be set up like those suggested by Walter Kelley.
These little nucs will be expensive, each requiring about 50 inches of 1 x 8 plus frames. Scrap 1 x materiel will be handy here if I can find it.
Ox:Know what you mean by cutting it backwards hehe,I once cut the hand hold on the inside DUB,also what do you mean suggested by Walter Kelly? Do they sell them?I know they sell somethings that is not listed in the Catalog.Often wondered why the bee suppy house's don't sell them.>>>>Mark
He means the man, not the company. Walter liked baby nucs.
I built a variety of mating nucs this year. All of the two medium frames, but some were two frames in one box, and as Ox says it takes a lot of material. Some where two, two frame sections in a five frame nuc, by putting a one by divider down the center and a canvas inner cover stapled to the divider. The rest were four sections in a 10 frame box with an entrance in each of the four directions. These are the most effecient use of the the materials. I may build more of these. They work well made out of a one by eight, for my medium frames. And I get to leave the queen in there until she is sold, used or they fill the nuc. If they fill it I move them to a four or five frame box.
The supply houses would have to get almost as much for a baby nuc as for a full sized box; there ares the same number of joints and as much work to build them.
Walter Kelley claimed that he got a higher percentage of usable queens out of his baby nucs than out of any other type box. Years ago I had some that I bought from a fellow who was quitting, and I liked them. Wish I still had them as they were well made and efficient.
I am amazed at how simple and easy cutting box joints/finger joints has turned out to be.
Using the simple jig I made from plans on the internet I have now cut three of the baby nucs. Each requires four pieces of 1x8, each piece 7 & 7/8 inches long. (This works out so that you get l2 pieces out of an 8 foot plank; it is 8 inches less the saw kerf.)
The first two were slow; I had to learn how to work the jig and place the materiel. The third box took all of l5 minutes start to finish. Of course I had already cut a stock of the 8-inch pieces; it was the finger jointing that took l5 minutes.
I just hope those little frames are as easy to cut and build.
Frames have so many small pieces that they are time consuming to make. I make my own foundationless frames. If your baby nucs are standard medium depth I would try and buy just the end bars and maybe the bottom bar which could be chopped to length. I set my saw up for one thing at a time and try and do all the lumber for that piece at one time. Since I use scrap from home building sites 2xs become the top bars and 1xs become the bottom bar and the short 2Xs become end bars. I have about 400 end bar ready right now but needed the longer lumber which I got last week.
Why finger joints? I run 200 hives and have about 600 mediums as supers. Use deeps for brood and brood area is 2-3 deeps.
That is better than 1,000 boxes and all are just lap joints! As long as the joints are glued as well as nailed (I use Kelley glue) they hold just fine. Some are 40 years old.
I've always figured that finger (or box) joints are only used by bee supply houses to discourage manufacture in basements. Same with spacers on frames.
Long ago I got burned with tome rabbet-jointed boxes and I swore I would never waste my time building one. Since here it costs about as much to buy the lumber for a box as it costs to buy it from the factory I have just not built anything.
When I decided to build these little baby nucs I started looking for ways to cut the finger joints and found that it is very simple, so that's what I'm doing. These boxes will outlast me.