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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    11

    Default walter t. kelley box quality

    hey again guys and gals,

    this is a follow-up post to my box rocking problem. now, i want to see what you guys think of the joint quality. it definitely doesn't look like the pictures advertised in the catalog.

    here is the background:
    i purchased new 8-frame medium hive bodies from walter t. kelley in november (11/10) when they had free shipping. i kept the woodenware stored in the shipping boxes in my house - at a constant, controlled temperature....however i was unable to assemble the boxes until this past weekend (2/20/11)....life happens you know.

    when assembling, i used a carpenter's square to make my boxes were perfectly square. the boxes only go together one way...it seemed pretty fool-proof to me.

    is this type of quality normal with all woodenware? could this be due to some sort of warping (my fault for not assembling as soon i received it)? or is walter t. kelley's woodenware not of good quality/craftmanship? i think this is pretty unacceptable for new boxes....but what do i know...i'm just starting out...what do you guys/gals think?

    here are some images:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/1091222...eat=directlink

    thanks,
    beeme13

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    Completely normal! You're not building pianos. You'll have small gaps and small open joints no matter whose equipment you use. Also, some of them will require a little chisel work to open up a dovetail or 2 occasionally. If you leave them unassembled for any length of time humidity will have an affect on them also, swelling or contracting the wood. The bees don't care!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Woodlawn, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    327

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    Beeme, Sorry to hear of your problem. I have bought several things from Kelley's, and have always found them to be top quality. But I have never bought any 8 frame woodenware, so that could be part of the difference.

    I will say that the spaces in the box joints are not a big deal. I have started making most of my own hive bodies, and my humanity often results in finger joints that looks a lot like those in your pictures. Between glue and two coats of paint, those cracks fill right up. Now if I were staining them, it would be different story.

    If there is a problem, give Kelley's a call. They have always made things right for me.
    Stan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Berea, Ky, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    I will be watching this thread as well as I was talking to Kelly's today about ordering the same items. Those gaps to me look pretty reasonable but I am a complete newbie. I did see someone post that you can place a concrete block on top of the hive and let the weather and pressure straighten it out and fix those cracks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ballard County, KY
    Posts
    348

    Smile Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    I've ordered all my supplies (25 hives) with the exception of a couple of nuc boxes from Kelley's and not had any problems over the last four years. I'll admit I don't like the looks of the corner joints in the picture but I've never had that so far to date. I did have one box that rocked (was not level) but I attributed it to leaving it over the winter laying in the garage before assembly and it slightly warped but not enough to cause any problems. The bees propalis it up in a couple days on my warped homemade bottom boards.
    Last year I ordered 15 commercial grade deeps from them and the only difference I see in them besides price is they have some solid knots in them...the bees could care less and at a discount I'll be buying their commercial grade from now on as long as the quality is as good as the 15 I got last year. Kelley's has provided me great customer service and assistance over the short time I've purchased from them. They are 3 hours up the road from me but convenient when I'm going in that direction anyway and I stock up when passing to save on shipping. I have not ordered their 8 frame stuff, all mine is 10.

    Tim Goodin
    Last edited by timgoodin; 02-23-2011 at 09:38 PM. Reason: Clarify size of equipment...spelling and grammar

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Bloomington, IN, USA
    Posts
    307

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    I purchased the same 8 frame items at the same time and put them together not long after they arrived. They are sitting in my living room, one with 2 boxes and one with 3. The metal on the telescoping covers make for great end tables. Soon I will have to refurnish my living room.

    I had a few pieces that were overly tight and some that seemed lose I just moved around the pieces till it all went together. I used enough glue so that when I nailed my pieces together, whatever gaps there might have been were filled with the glue. I then wiped the remainder of the glue and actually painted the corners with the glue to cover the end of the open wood grain.
    I didn't have any problems with the boxes not fitting evenly on top of another. I suspect the weight of the hive will make that a moot point.

    I am extremely happy with my living room furniture and am hoping they will look as great outside as they do inside.

    Happy beekeeping!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Shoshone County, Idaho
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    2 coats of paint and 3 coats of propolis and 3 years of use and you won't even be able to pick that box out of a pile of em!

    I have a newbie Beek friend that is a professional woodworker/cabinet maker and has a shop that makes me green with envy. His wife also is a newbie and decided that Hubby needed to make her some superior Western Red Cedar bee boxes along with those beautiful full copper pitched roofs/tops like you see in the catalog.
    They decided against the copper roofs eventually as they were somewhere around $58.00 + shipping each.
    So now he is cutting out all these baby sized cedar shakes.
    He even filled all the dovetailed corners (yes dovetail, not boxjoints) with special wood filler and sanded them and also put on the new plastic corner caps to protect your box corners from getting damaged from your hive tool.
    He sanded and even inlaid pieces of wood where the boards had some dents/fubars!
    I admit these are the most beautiful boxes I have ever seen and he did an awesome job!
    He then told me what happened last season with a hive top syrup feeder that he ordered, the wooden ones with the wooden float like rafts to keep your bees from drowning.
    Turns out the feeder wasn't good enough as is, so he decided to give several coats of professional clear coat finish.
    Later after he placed it on his bees and filled it with syrup he noticed dead drowned bees and not just a few, but thousands of bees, enough that it hurt a new colony.
    When I asked what he thought had killed so many bees he stated sheepishly that the bees could not climb back out of the feeder because the finish he put on was way too slippery for the bees to get traction on. (henced he killed his own bees)
    The moral of this long winded story is don't get too tied up in perfection of equipment and concentrate on raising strong healthy colonies instead!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Berea, Ky, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    http://www.kelleybees.com/CMS/CMSPag...5-c9ceeadfc25d

    Was this the hive that you purchased?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    I've been buying equipment from Walter T. Kelley for 35 years and have always been happy with it. Wood will warp and if you don't assemble it right away it's more likely to. As mentioned, you're not building pianos. Rocking hives are usually fixed by stacking a few concrete block on top until the bees glue them together. They usually stay fine after that.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    these are good points. maybe i'm obsessing since the woodenware is sitting in front of me and the bees haven't arrived yet.

    however, i'm also suffering from some buyer's remorse. i went all in with one company totally blind and based completely off reputation and want to make sure i made the right decision.

    this was a pretty expensive up-front investment for me and my expectations were/still are high.

    i just want to make sure that this isn't just a walter t. kelley woodenware issue, if it is...then i'll be kicking myself for not going with another company.

    everyone has been really helpful so far! thank you.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrotechnician View Post
    http://www.kelleybees.com/CMS/CMSPag...5-c9ceeadfc25d

    Was this the hive that you purchased?

    no, i purchased everything separately and did not buy a kit.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Berea, Ky, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    But is that the hive in that picture?
    Last edited by Barry; 02-24-2011 at 03:39 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    sort of: it's exclusively all 8-frame medium boxes
    Last edited by Barry; 02-24-2011 at 03:40 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    .....
    Last edited by jrbbees; 02-24-2011 at 04:08 AM. Reason: Excessive Quoting
    Old Guy in Alabama

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    Ive had joijts on hives from other compaies be tight and loose. some slide right in some require a good tap from a hammer. Wouldnt worry about it to much... as other stated, threre are variations in woodenware from various companies and they swell and shrink accordingly even in your home. The bees will fix what they dont like as long as it doesnt affect the true function of that box or frame etc. Sit back and rtelax and think about your bees coming in a month!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Blount county,Hayden, Alabama
    Posts
    38

    Big Grin Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    Nothing but good things to say about Walt Kelley. I use a lot of there foundation less frames and have had no problems and the bees jump right on making comb. You cant go wrong with Walt Kelley
    William

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Saucier, MS
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    I have just finished assembling 20 10 frame deeps that I bought during the November Free Shipping. I did not have any problems with them.
    --Mike

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    I've never had a problem with anything I got from Kelley.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bowling Green, Kentucky
    Posts
    419

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    you will not have any problems from those small crack and open places in the joints. paint them good and no worries. I do not think you will get better equipment anywhere else but you are welcome to try.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: walter t. kelley box quality

    Quote Originally Posted by scdw43 View Post
    I've never had a problem with anything I got from Kelley.
    A couple of years ago apparently Kelley had some "quality control" issues thanks to an employee or two that may no longer be there.... I bought some assembled inner covers, and one season later several of them were coming apart. I called Kelley and told them about the problem. I didn't want anything, made repairs myself. Just wanted them aware of it, and the lady thanked me for the info. Haven't bought any inner covers since, so don't know what's happened. But Kelley produces good merchandise, and is usually quite responsive. They have an old and good reputation to maintain.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

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