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  1. #1

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    Has anyone experimented with other materials for building a TBH.Cement ,paper cement mix,cob,clay?
    "Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste." Buddha

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,341

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    I use corrogated plastic for the "tray" under my SBB. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    The Jackson horizontal hive is made of corrogated plastic for the body as well, although it's sort of a "hybrid" of a top bar and frame. (Solid top bars with no gaps, but a frame).
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3

    Post

    Michael ,you use a SBB in a TBH?
    The corrugated plastic ,hmm,it sounds not to insulative for our cold winters.It would be good for hotter climates but here I think more insulation is needed.
    "Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste." Buddha

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    229

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    Right now I’m building some of my TBHs with a combination of wood and tin. There’s different development projects down here that sometimes pay people with food stuffs for work they do on different projects (like repairs by hand on secondary roads). I got a bunch of empty vegetable oil cans from one of the organizations that give me a nice piece of metal when I cut them apart.

    The ends of the boxes are solid wood. The long sides have about a three inch wood strip at the top and the bottom. The tin is tacked inside to fill in the space. The floor is still wood because the humidity I sometimes see there will probably rust a tin floor out pretty fast. I’m thinking that the sides will be ok as far as not rusting. Part of the floor is also ventilated with screen to keep the humidity down. It takes a bit more work to tack the tin on the sides (with small shoe tacks) but it definitely helps keep costs down.

    I’ve also used aluminum sheets I get from the printing plant at newspapers. They’re especially nice for keeping my trap hives light (I don’t like hoisting heavy boxes up into the trees). It’s more fragile than the tin but it also doesn’t rust.

    For the warm climate down here in Honduras I think they will work just fine (I’m just starting to use them). For a cold climate back in the States I’m guessing they might cause problems.

    ----------
    Tom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,341

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    >Michael ,you use a SBB in a TBH?

    Yes.

    >The corrugated plastic ,hmm,it sounds not to insulative for our cold winters.It would be good for hotter climates but here I think more insulation is needed.

    Insulation does no real good on the bottom. It does a lot of good on the top. What you need for the bottom is to not have too much draft. Heat rises.

    We typically get some -20 F for a couple of weeks here most winters. The record low is about -38 F.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    605

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    i went to a beekeeping seminar taught by les crowder last night. he is making and using hives made from plastic 55 gal barrels. he's cutting a 4" strip all the way around the long way making 2 hives from 1 barrel. the 4" strip is to keep the hives from being overly deep.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

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    Hi Guys,

    That's an interesting turn using plastic barrels. I'd often thought that if I were to go commercial with tbhs, that the plastic pop syrup barrels discarded by bottlers would be ideal for that purpose.

    Did he need to stiffen them up? Has he gone to a longer and deeper top bar? Any photos?

    And these barrels could also be used as a split form for papercrete, etc.

    Regards
    Dennis

    [size="1"][ March 03, 2006, 08:24 PM: Message edited by: B Wrangler ][/size]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tulsa,OK
    Posts
    16

    Post

    >i went to a beekeeping seminar taught by les crowder last night. he is making and using hives made from plastic 55 gal barrels. he's cutting a 4" strip all the way around the long way making 2 hives from 1 barrel. the 4" strip is to keep the hives from being overly deep.<

    Sounds interesting. Could you elaborate? Is he reinforcing the barrels in any way? Do the top bars just rest on the edge or etc? Thanks.
    Gregg A.Ogden<br /><br />\"people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both\" <br /> Benjamin Franklin

  9. #9

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    Yes barells ,I athought about that too,but again there is the insulation problem ,I doubt plastic is a good insulator.How important is the hive insulation btw?In my climate I have hot summers and cold winters temperatures from summer up to +37C and in winter to -37C.
    "Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste." Buddha

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rockport, MA, USA
    Posts
    4

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    Hello all.. my first post here as I am newly registered.

    Since I am not an experienced beekeeper yet, I have been researching relentlessly, as well as starting to talk to local beekeepers, in preperation for my building of a TBH over the winter. One thing I am very familiar with is materials used in building irregular structures, as I know something about boatbuilding. It seems as if a TBH, if built with a curving surface, would be a good analogue to a boat, so I'll tell you folks what I know about a few alternative materials.

    1) Wood. Obviously the first choice for a lot of reasons. Workability, ease of construction, strength, and price. The downside is always the same: Rot. If you use cedar, cypress, or some other naturally resistant wood you won't have as many troubles in this area. Also, in the case of hive use, wood can be chewed by animals, splintered, and otherwise damaged.

    2) Metal(steel, aluminum). I don't think many folks use these for hives (let me know if I am wrong!), and I'm not surprised at that considering metal has fantastic heat conductivity and so the bees would have a tough time keeping the hive warm/cool unless you insulated. Steel is too heavy and aluminum is too expensive. That being said, metal frames with wooden liners might be more resistant to damage, and would also be extremely strong for the weight, especially with aluminum. It would be easy enough to epoxy wooden strips to the inside of metal frames and have a very long lasting structure that was renewable, since you could remove the wood and replace it when you needed to. Of course, that would be a lot more work.

    3) Ferrocement. I smiled when I saw the question above because I believe that ferrocement would be an ideal material for making the external structure for a hive body if it was a curved surface. 3/8" ferrocement is incredibly strong, somewhat insulative, and would never rust or rot. Ocean cruising boats have been made of this substance that have lasted since the 70s without a single puncture, and hives are under considerably less strain. The trick, of course, would be to make the inside surface as regular as possible. Also, although it is labor intensive the materials cost would be very low. For those who don't know, Ferrocement is several layers (typically 4 - 8) of metal mesh shaped into the desired shape on a framework of wire, then impregnated with a mix of cement and washed river sand, levelled and kept wet with wet burlap for 14+ days (28 for maximum strength) or in a flooded steam chamber (3 days or so) to cure.

    4) Clay/cob could be very nifty, but you'd better not want to actually MOVE the hive [img]smile.gif[/img] It would also be essentially free if you had clay under your soil. I think you would have to be careful with the design, since bee space needs to be so carefully maintained, and clay/cob is a bit irregular. Probably you could build it, let it bake, then do a finish coat with plaster to level it off.

    5) Papercrete.. I have some knowledge of this and I think it also might be a good one, provided you made a strong framework to accept it. You could make a purpose designed female mold over which you would strap the permanent framework, cover it with papercrete, and pop the whole thing off. You'd have to mix it somewhat dry so that it would spread nicely and not run. The other concern I have about it is that once cured it is hygroscopic, so it might take too much moisture out of the hive.. or it might make the bee's jobs easier. You'd have to experiment. The big advantage of papercrete is the using of salvaged materials (paper of any kind) brings the cost way down.

    EDIT: I just realized, you could put a vapor barrier between inside/outside layers of papercrete if you had a thick enough frame. Old greenhouse plastic or something would be enough to prevent most moisture migration from the outside and limit the general ingress/egress to the interior of the hive.

    EDIT: Ah! Found a resource:

    "The article on ferrocement bee hives was in the 1983 volume of Bee
    &gt;&gt;World, pp. 113-116. One of the other scientists at my lab remembered
    &gt;&gt;the article and roughly when and where it was, so I was able to find it
    &gt;&gt;with a little searching. H. Allen Sylvester "

    http://www.ferrocement.net/sql2/html...60c3157ae3981e

    [size="1"][ August 15, 2006, 11:35 AM: Message edited by: TimothyB ][/size]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
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    2,837

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    TimothyB . . .

    Have YOU ever built anything using BENDABLE plywood?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

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    Timothy,

    have you seen this link from the main page of beesource

    http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/index.htm

    neat ideas
    keep in mind that one of the ideas of a TBH is to keep it simple, but that being said, it sure is fun to build kool stuff if you have the ability ain't it [img]smile.gif[/img]
    the ones I built weren't simple

    http://www.drobbins.net/bee's/lh/lh.html

    boatbuilder huh?
    that's a noble profession

    Dave

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Posts
    37

    Post

    I am building one with bamboo and interior/exterior coat of red clay. will post some pics when done

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rockport, MA, USA
    Posts
    4

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    Dave W: Well, I haven't used the plywood you are talking about.. I'm assuming its the type where all the veneers are all facing the same direction. I do know that regular plywood will bend in a conical shape only, not a compound curve, so it would be simple to build a hive body from it, sure. Probably extremely fast too. If I was doing it, after construction I would coat it inside and out, and especially the edges, with several coats of thinned marine/industrial epoxy or similiar, then let it cure for a few weeks to let it finish outgassing. If I wanted to go cheaper, I'd at least seal the edges with straight epoxy, and then prime and paint (lots of coats) the rest with a good quality paint (non oil based cause I'd hate for the heat to start releasing solvents into the hive) VERY nice library btw [img]smile.gif[/img] I guess I am biased against plywood unless encapsulated since I've seen so many horrible failures of it in the marine environment.

    drobbins: Coolness is why I want IN on this hobby mate! Honestly, I will likely be building my first hive from Atlantic White Cedar. Mainly because I have about 250 bdft of live edge sitting in my backyard, and its been there for 2 years waiting for a project. I was going to use it for planking up a small boat, but that got sidelined and I am thinking I'd like to use the material.

    and.. I'm not a professional boatbuilder.. I'm an amateur Woodenboat fanatic whose been talking woodenboats with pros for a few years now, helping other folks with repairs, and using rented boats plus I've had a boat building project on the board for sometime (A 50' sailing cruiser) I hope to actually own a small one again soon, but first there are all the house projects to finish and debts to payback after my wife's school... I'm guessing that I'll be able to start in on the big boat at some point in the next 5 years. Hopefully soon enough to get my dream of circumnavigating fulfilled!

    Hey that bamboo idea is nifty! I bet you could do it with wicker type construction, using rattan or thatch, but small diameter bamboos sounds perfect.


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