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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Delta, Utah
    Posts
    494

    Default Box and frame making equipment

    I know commercial beekeepers that make all their own equipment with a radial arm saw, a table saw and a jointer. I know the companies that make and sell thousands of boxes and frames use specialized equipment. Does anyone know how to get a hold of this type of machinery? Thanx.
    -Rob Bliss
    Bliss Honey and bee supplies

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
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    2,479

    Default Woodenware mfg.

    Some of the saws and equipment are available commercially, others are specialized and often designed by the owner or operator. The entire operation must be focused on MOST EFFICIENT USE OF MATERIAL. In order to achieve this you must be manufacturing boxes AND frames and everything else. So the entire system complements itself.

  3. #3

    Default

    You can got to a company like exfactory.com tell them what you want too make and they can tell you what machines you would need. The sell alot of used equipment for wood shops.

    I don't know about frames but I think the best boxes would come from a good High speed CNC router and an accurate cutoff saw to cut the boards to length.
    Columbia City, Indiana

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default

    Rob,

    Most commercial beeks I know buy their equipment. Two reasons for this. One is the labor involved is just too much. They already spend enough time just maintaining existing equipment and their hives. Taking the time to make it plus the expense of the machinery to make and put together boxes would be a full time job. Second, by buying in bulk, for us anyway they are almost cheaper then just buying the wood. Combine that with the time and cost of equipment and it comes out way cheaper to order in bulk.

    Just my two cents.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,553

    Default

    I agree with Alpha, it is cheaper to buy in bulk, but there are a couple of factors that would make one lean towards making your own.
    The first would be to keep a full time crew busy in the off season, if they didn't otherwise have enough to do. The next would be timely availability. This year we ordered wooden ware in January and the stuff just trickled in. After waiting for almost two months for word the semi was on it's way, and with spring almost upon us, we finally settled for lesser amounts with a different supplier than our initial order, due to a huge backlog. Wood ware seems to be in short supply this year. Or maybe they just wanted to sell to the higher paying hobby/sideliners first.
    Sheri

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Box and frame making equipment

    I bought 100 six frame nucs from an outfit in Los Angeles many years ago.

    Here is what I noticed when I shook the hand of the owner:

    Missing digits on one hand and old scars.

    His employees were scared up and also missing digits.
    We make our living with our hands.
    Sooo you might want to reconsider the making of hive wooden ware.
    Hope you had a good trip back home.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,307

    Default

    I like to buy mine assembles and parrafin dipped, frames glued and stapled. All I need to do is unload the highway truck and later put it on the hives. It's so much easier that way. Besides my supplier does a fine job. I'm not looking for work in the off season, I'm looking for a warm sunny destination. I don't think I would save any money building my own but the extra work and responsibility would further tax my tired body. Come the end of the season I need a break so that next year I can put in my 60 hour weeks. I've come to a point in my life where if I can't make it on 60 hours then to bad, it'll have to wait until next week. Of course there are exceptions like April and May when we make nucs for sale and we go to blueberry pollination and june when we get out of blueberries and go to cranberry pollination. July is tough because we move hives to southern Alberta for canola pollination and on and on.

    Jean-Marc

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,553

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jean-marc View Post
    Come the end of the season I need a break so that next year I can put in my 60 hour weeks. I've come to a point in my life where if I can't make it on 60 hours then to bad, it'll have to wait until next week.
    Jean-Marc
    I hear ya. We feel the same way. When it was just us we often bought equipment fully assembled. Unfortunately, our employees don't want the winter off, (at least not unpaid ), so we have to keep them working; others are in the same position. Putting together boxes and frames, painting etc is a good way to keep them in groceries. A logical progression is cutting your own components.
    Sheri

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Auger Hole, MN
    Posts
    433

    Default

    I agree that buying frames and boxes is the way to go, a simpler component to build is pallets, bottom boards or covers if you are trying to save money.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Delta, Utah
    Posts
    494

    Default

    Thanx for the advice. I'm looking to keep my wood shop and employees busy year round. I might even sell a few boxes to some local hobbiests. They're always looking for equipment in the spring. Just not familiar with the equipment that mass produces boxes and frames and how to even buy/make it. I think the cnc router might be a good place to start. Thanx.
    -Rob Bliss
    Bliss Honey and bee supplies

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    morehead city, nc, usa
    Posts
    378

    Default

    If you start by looking at a good cnc router, you will stop in a hurry. Mine cost over $100K and it is NOT the machine to make bee equipment. As Tom G. Laury said earlier, some work can be done on standard equipment, and some equipment must be custom made, or at least adapted.

    I have been a cabinetmaker for 40 years. I build my own equipment. (not frames). With no "value added" considerations, i.e. fancy wood, stain, varnish, hardware, etc., beekeeping woodenware has to have the tightest profit margin in woodworking.

    Frames for 60 cents??!! fuggedaboudit

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,553

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by peletier View Post
    With no "value added" considerations beekeeping woodenware has to have the tightest profit margin in woodworking.
    Yeah, but if you need to pay your employees anyway, might as well have them producing something, even if it is at cost, than have them sit around doing little or nothing or worse yet, have them go get a year round job and not be there when ya really need them.
    Keeping good labor is one of the big problems with beekeeping ( or any agriculture for that matter). You need them very badly during a particular time of the year, but there is that down time when you don't have much bee work to do, but if you don't pay them they will go find someone else who will. They gotta eat and pay the bills in the off season too.
    Sheri

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Winter work

    Sheri your point is well taken. Assembly and painting type work is necessary and doesn't require too much outlay of $. Airless, nail gun, and so on is not too expensive, well suited for off season. Manufacturing bee supplies economically re quires more input than can be justified in most cases.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,166

    Big Grin

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    The first would be to keep a full time crew busy in the off season, Sheri

    What off season??? JOHN....... has Sheri been drinking again.

  15. #15

    Default

    cnc routers are expensive but there are some using them. hivebodies.com I believe a hauncher is used by a few manufactures. Alot cheaper. In my opinion I still like the cnc router. You could set it up to do everything instead of having several machines to do the job. That is of course if you had the money for it all.
    Columbia City, Indiana

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,553

    Default

    Now Keith, you know we spend 6 weeks in sunny () California every winter. John keeps telling me that is our vacation. Maybe I should send the hired guys out for this vacation and I should go to Puerto Vallarta instead.
    Speaking of drinking again, I do like those margaritas, but they are much better when it is white sand outside, not snow!

    Rob, I seem to remember not too long ago there was an ad in the ABJ, someone selling woodenware manufacturing equipment, did you see it?
    Sheri

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Hillsboro, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    1,672

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Bee woodshop

    Rob to answer your question; jointing, cutoff, ripping&gang ripping, shaping, power feed,can all be accomplished with stuff on the market. A machine shop can build you a single arbor finger jointer and handhold cutter if you want. If 7/8" wide top bars are acceptable ( straight no shoulders ) then you are set up for everything but end bars. That requires a fairly complex machine. Also if you want full width 1 1/16" wide top bars that requires more process. Seems to me it is also important to be near a source of supply for lumber otherwise like we hear so often: " The freight is KILLIN me! "

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    berkshire county MA
    Posts
    1,472

    Default

    My thoughts as I daydreamed in the past about making equipment were using an arbor with multiple dado head type saw blades to cut the finger joints. I see the hauncher is similar but uses shaper cutters instead and looks very heavy duty.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    856

    Lightbulb

    When I was younger I built a lot of new equipment. Some I still use. I own my own custom cabinet shop and build cabinet in my off season.
    New equipment! I'm a second generation comm. honey producer and I just go in and buy of other comm. guy for pennys on the dollar. Why buy new. The last guy I bought out the honey was still on the bees to be extracted, and I sold all the honey for more then I paid. I've got enough equipment for my boys to produce if they want. The comm beekeeper is a dieing breed. Only wish the younger generation could see what hard work does for the soul.
    I like building cabinets over bee equipment, and it pay better too.
    Ron

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