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Thread: Plywood Supers

  1. #1
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    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    Default Plywood Supers

    Does anybody have any thoughts or opinions on using 3/4" exterior grade plywood to construct hive bodies and supers? I have several that have handled well in the short term, but I don't know there long term resistance to delamination, etc.

  2. #2
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    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunofabee View Post
    Does anybody have any thoughts or opinions on using 3/4" exterior grade plywood to construct hive bodies and supers?
    Heavy
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  3. #3
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    Jul 2010
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    Moseby, Jutland ,Denmark
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    I use plywood for my nucs ,interior plywood just varnished on the outside, and they seem to hold up quite nice ,plus its cheep (from a dumpster) so ill just make new ones when they rot, and it is often the bottom that do that ,so i just replace that and put on my happy face

  4. #4
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    Jun 2008
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    Whittier, CA
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    I have buid some nucs or queen nursery out of free plywood and they do OK.
    Painted and well covered should last few years.
    They hold 4 nucs of 4 frame each.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2009
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    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    I wouldn't use ply due to the way it'made in China. They don't follow our standards and overdue the toxic chemicals. Those Katrina trailers the gov't purchased is proof of that. Stick to real wood.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2009
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    Brady, washington
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    As one who has worked in plywood mills I would stay away from using it because of the chemicals used in the glue. nope no way and way to heavy.
    99.99% of questions can be answered by Just reading books.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    " As one who has worked in plywood mills I would stay away from using it because of the chemicals used in the glue. nope no way and way to heavy. "
    There are often concerns expressed about the use of SOME plywood for human habitation due to off-gasing ( formaldehyde in glue) and the same may apply for bees. I stick to real wood.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    I had no idea plywood was so bad for you. Good information to know. I was planning on making a few migratory tops out of the stuff. Guess it'll end up being made out of pine furring strips instead. Next cheapest thing.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2008
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    Quapaw OK USA
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    from what I understand plywood won't do as much damage as treated plywood.I don't think interior plywood would hurt but won't take the weather

  10. #10
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    Mar 2010
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    Grafton, Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    I feed my hives with inverted pails on the inner cover. I dont waste my deeps or mediums covering them when i can use those in more hives. I cover my feeders with ply boxes. Lt ply painted with cheap paint.

  11. #11
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    Jun 2005
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    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    I have been using plywood supers for nine years, some in continuous use and still going strong. A deep super weighs three pound more than pine. But I can make six deeps and three mediums form a 4X8 sheet of plywood. Current cost at lowes $21. Use a good primer and a coat of quality exterior latex. As far as gassing a bee hive is well ventilated and hasn’t posed a problem.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    Isn't the concern about plywood outgassing and harming our bees just a wee bit overboard? The reality is that this stuff is everywhere. Try to buy a home that's not full of plywood and probably worse particle board. I'd say use the ply if you like and if you're really concerned let it set out in the sun a few weeks prior to service.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    "Isn't the concern about plywood outgassing and harming our bees just a wee bit overboard?"
    Maybe. In my case it is simply a pesonal choice. I do live in an earth and timber house. I would like to offer my bees the real thing. The cost difference matters little with the number of hives I have .

  14. #14
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    May 2009
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    Isn't the concern about plywood outgassing and harming our bees just a wee bit overboard? The reality is that this stuff is everywhere. Try to buy a home that's not full of plywood and probably worse particle board. I'd say use the ply if you like and if you're really concerned let it set out in the sun a few weeks prior to service.
    No! It's not a wee bit overboard. It's a whole bunch overboard! By the time you buy it, it has probably been a long time since manufacture. It's wood guys, with exterior, waterproof glue holding the plies together. I'd worry more about the plastic feeders you all use. Uh Oh! Opened a new can of worms to worry about. Let's see now; we have: Varroa, SHB, AHB, AFB, EFB, plywood, plastics, brown sugar, HFCS, old honey, mold in sugar water, mold in hives, wax moths, bum queens, drone cells, ants, birds, bee eating bugs, crystallized honey, no honey, too much honey, paint, burr comb......................s

  15. #15
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    Dec 2009
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    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    I agree that using plywood is not the end of the world ( and there are low VO ply's)

    If you are interested read more here:
    http://annhyg.oxfordjournals.org/con.../1/19.abstract

    http://greenhomeguide.com/askapro/qu...ucts-available

  16. #16
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    Nov 2004
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    West Newton, Pa.
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    I have deeps and supers that I built out of plywood seven years ago that are still going strong. Are they heavier than regular wood? Yes. Are they too heavy to use in place of regular wood? No.

    I use the deeps for brood chambers and the supers for honey. I haven't noticed any problems with the brood that I would suspect came from the out gassing of the plywood and once the supers are full of honey the weight difference between regular wood supers and the plywood supers is hardly noticeable.

    After seven years of use, the plywood boxes don't appear to be in any worse shape then the regular wood boxes of the same age. When I need to replace any boxes in the future or decide to expand my number of hives, I expect I'll be building some more plywood boxes.
    Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken!

  17. #17
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    Jul 2010
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    Orange, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    I personnaly would use plywood, however only well aged plywood. In the making of plywood there are a lot of chemicals, such as formaldyhide that is a lung nose and thoat cancer agent. It takes years for the off-gasing of these such products to be compete to the point of no detection. Now usually plywood this old unless kept housed in dry area is usually not in a good shape. Even treated lumber used to build hive bodies causes issues. If you look at the making of plywood and treated wood, a lot of the chemicals used in the preserv process also mimics the 17 chemicals in cigs that you see on the tv commercials all the time. Truely not organic if used, however usable.

    I personnaly built a 80 gallon parafin tank for dipping. You dip the parts in the wax, 176 degrees F for about 20 minutes for a deep. As soon as you take it out you can paint these. Old equipment can be dipped with a 3% bleach solution in the wax and it is well documented no spread of AFB or UFB in over 30 year study. It also seals and prolongs the life of the hive part. This is dipping whole deeps, assembled. Not to mention bees love it.

    I used an old propane gas grill with a fire guard as the heating agent with a sheetmetal box that has been soldered with non lead to seal it. With the low temp a standard tank from your local store lasts me a while.

  18. #18
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    May 2009
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    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    What is UFB? Have we got a new disease or pest?

  19. #19
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    Gilmer,TX USA
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    I think he means European foul brood. BTW Fish sticks I liked your post further above. I am paranoid some times with syrup, but plywood??? To be honest, I am more conserned about all those OSB shavings I breathed in building my bee room. Personally, I feel that we have a lot more to worry about than plywood glue. I would not use treated though. I use exterior non treated

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  20. #20
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    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    Default Re: Plywood Supers

    Treated plywood may, or may not be something you need to worry about. Then again . . . who knows.

    It's something I can easily avoid, and I can afford the alternative. I've got too many things I have to worry about now, rather than adding on another POSSIBLE (although however faint) problem.

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