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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Chico, CA
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    22

    Default Making Bee Box Handles

    How do you make the carved out handles in a bee box? If you know how the manufacturer does it or how you can do it at home, I would appreciate the info. The concave handles cut in the sides of the manufactured boxes have me stumped.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Yamhill Co- Ore-gun
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    50

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    Commercially, I would guess it’s done with a shaper, but I have done it myself with a jig I made for my table saw. Basically, I have a box that I clamp to the fence that lets me slide my work side to side across the blade. I have two wedges that are attached to each other about 8 inches apart ( I started out using tree-falling wedges, but ended up cutting wood ones). The wedges sit with the thick end toward the fence, and I put the board on top and slowly slide it sideways across the blade, stopping when I hit the fence (which is measured so each cut ends at the same point). The wedges make it possible to make that angled cut. I only make boxes out of pine, which is very soft but I still make about 4 shallow (1/8”-3/16”) cuts. Anything deeper is very hard on saw blades and on the bearings. Now, my disclaimer- unless you are a very experienced woodworker I would not suggest this- just attach handles. I am extremely cautious to keep everything away from the blade, and take every precaution. I’ve been working with power tools since I was about 8 and fully understand the possibility of kickback, binds, etc. Please, don’t attempt to do it this way if you don’t have extensive woodworking experience!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Covington, Ga, USA
    Posts
    1,549

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    I was using a dado that progressively used smaller blades, then decided that i was cutting into the insulation(cutting the wood thinner) on the bees. personal preference, so I went back, filled in the few i had done and added handles instead.
    "You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    There is another way I saw on this site. I have done it once and will describe briefly but search the topic to see what else you find.

    Clamp lengths of 2x4 on each side and parallel to the blade on a table saw so that they allow the blade to bevel completely from 0 degrees to 45 degrees. Put your hive body on the 2x4s with the spot where you want the handle centered over the blade. Tilt the blade upward (from 45 degrees to 0 degrees bevel) into the side of the hive body so that it is scooping out the handle from the shallow end to the deep end when it reaches a completely vertical position. Do two or three progressively deeper passes making sure you know the final depth.

    I have purchased hive components that have hand holds that were made by simply lowering the pices onto a dado blade about 3/4 inch wide. It creates a recessed handle also but without the taper.

    Having said all of that, I too recommend just adding cleat handles to the outside of the boxes. The give a better grip and if you bevel them slightly on both top and bottom, they will shed water and give a firm hand hold.
    Carl

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Yamhill Co- Ore-gun
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl F View Post
    I have purchased hive components that have hand holds that were made by simply lowering the pices onto a dado blade about 3/4 inch wide. It creates a recessed handle also but without the taper.
    Carl-
    I like that idea of using a dato blade. Did they do several side by side or just one that was “finger width”? Other than our first setup that I bought as a pattern, I have built all of our boxes myself. I do like having recessed handles, but it would be nice to have an easier way to make them than what I do now.
    -Kevin

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    1,938

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    I've been looking at all the solutions in the various threads when this question arises. Some are complicated and some are down-right scary/dangerous.

    I opted for a simple solution using a small router. I cut a template out of 1/4" luan, clamp it to a box side with a wood clamp and run the small palm router around the inside of the template. I can do all four sides in a minute or two.

    I set the router bit at 3/8" and that is enough for me to get a grip on the boxes. I give it a extra coat of paint around the handles so any water sitting on the small ledge isn't much of a problem.

    As far as cutting into the "insulation," I haven't found it to be a problem. We don't worry about it here in Maine, so certainly wouldn't worry about it in Georgia, unless it's getting down into the minus 30's these days.

    Wayne

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    I made mine on a router table with a 1 1/4 dish cutter bit from MLCS Supply. Makes them nice and clean but the bit is a little expensive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,664

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    Check previous threads on this subject. In the 40's, Delta made a form cutter with a 5/8ths hole for this purpose.

    Roland

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyo View Post
    Carl-
    I like that idea of using a dato blade. Did they do several side by side or just one that was “finger width”? Other than our first setup that I bought as a pattern, I have built all of our boxes myself. I do like having recessed handles, but it would be nice to have an easier way to make them than what I do now.
    -Kevin
    It was done with one stacked set of blades that is elevated above the surface of the table by maybe a half inch. Each side is lowerd onto the blade just once and then lifted right back off so that it creates one hand hold.

    If you don't already own a dado set, an inexpensive one is probably about $80. It's an expensive investment if that's all you need to do with it.
    Carl

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
    Posts
    1,037

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    A trick I have found when using the dado, is to give it about 5 degrees of tilt. This gives a better finger grip and makes water run off the lower edge.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    Ok...but the real question is...why would you want to take the time to cut those? Most of the hives and supers we buy have these on four sides and the first thing we do is put cleats on. Much easier to handle boxes, especially full if they have a cleat on each end. I have had to carry a full super using just those cut outs and it is a pain. If you are making your own boxes, skip the cutout and just put the cleats on.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.” John Wayne

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Akron, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    I hand held my router to make grips, and then chiseled the bottom edge to let water run off.

    The problem I had with the cleats, I realized belatedly, was when I strapped styrofoam to the hive in winter it could not sit flush. Also the cleats on the old box aren't trustworthy if the fasteners become loose.

    Ill go with the handholds.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,803

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    Stiches..... Send me your e-mail address to cchoganjr@scrtc.com and I will send you a set of my plans to build the jig, (takes about 30 minutes, and costs about 50 cents). Uses a skill saw. You can make this hand hold in about 30 seconds. My instructions include photos of each step. Happy to share with you. Very simple.

    This topic was discussed on the hardware Forum about 2 months ago and I have shared the plans with a lot of people.

    cchoganjr

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,989

    Default Re: Making Bee Box Handles

    I use a router with a straight cutting bit and and a guide bushing to make these handholds:



    Here's the jig:



    And here's the router setup:



    It's fast and safe and makes a cutout almost like a factory one, but to tell the truth I prefer cleats - they are easier to hold on to.

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