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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Joints on hive bodies

    I just joined the forum and have a question about building hive bodies. I plan on using 3/4 plywood and have a question about alternatives to the standard box joint.

    I would like to miter the ends on a 45 and use 1/4 inch dowels, screws and glue to hole them together. If necessary I can also use fiberglass tape and resin to seal the joint and strengten it a bit. I am planning on using resin to weatherproof the outside of the hive body.

    Will this provide enough stability to the hive body?

    Thanks,

    Al

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    I would skip the dowels and just use Titebond III and screws for the mitered joints. Sealing/reinforcing the corners with some two or three inch fiberglass tape and resin sounds good. You'll also want to seal all edges with resin or TBIII.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,668

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    Depending on the quality of the plywood both rabbet and miter joints can cause plywood to delaminate in the weather. I think you'd be better off to use a plain butt joint with a good polyurethane construction adhesive ( PL5000 or similar NOT Gorilla glue). Fasteners don't hold well in plywood end grain. Fiberglass tape would probably help but to coat the entire box would be too much of a vapor barrier, preventing moisture in the wood from passing through, promoting delamination and/or mold.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    Thanks for the responses.

    I probably shouldn't put resin on the inside of the box, don't see any real reason to do that unless it makes removing frames easier. If I use plywood sanded on one side (BC) would it be better to put the smooth side inside the hive to facilitate removing frames? Is there any reason to paint the inside of the bodies? It was suggested in a beginners class at the local bee club that we could paint the hive bodies with melted bees wax, is there a good reason to track some down and use if for the interior of the hive bodies

    I will order the Titebond III, looks like a pretty good product.

    So now the question is butt joint or miter joint. From the experiences I have had with wood working I was thinking just the butt joint and the dowel but wanted to have more glue area and decided on the miter joint.

    Maybe with the butt joint, dowels, and Titebond III I could do without the fiberglass tape but I do like the idea of the extra stability. Its tough not having any bee experience and trying to change a widely accepted constuction technique (box joint)

    Thanks Again CG3 and Beecurious

    Al

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,344

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    Glue Screw with TB3 and you should be good.

    1/2 ply is not going to make them as thick as a normal box so keep in mind you will have a different outer dimensions then regular bought boxes. I use ply for tops and bottoms and make the boxes normally. I do make all my Nuc's out of ply because they are smaller anyway. My nuc's have an attached bottom so it gives them strength.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    Yea I wish I could afford true 3/4 ply sanded both sides but depending on what I learn about the requirements for the interior of the hive I will probably just use 3/4 (23/32 you pay for the layer sanded off) for the bodies.

    You guys are making it easier and easier.

    Al

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    Why not just use 1" lumber. From the mill it is usually 3/4 inches and is about the same cost per box as plywood, atleast here it is.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    I intend to build all deeps for both hive bodies and honey supers. There is a lot of waste using 1x12s for the deeps.

    There again, I'm new to this, am I looking at something incorrectly.

    I can get 2 complete 5 body hives from 2 sheets of 3/4 ply and a sheet of 3/8 ply. I am going to use some 2x4 for the hive stands and screen bottom boards. I will have almost enough 3/8 left over that I can build a 5 frame nuke to capture my first swarm to get the hives started.

    Looks like I will have to purchase a metal queen excluder, 100 plastic frames, a 9 frame spacer for the honey supers, a jacket and veil, a smoker and hive tool.

    Looks like a pretty cool hobby with a lot of fascinating things to learn.

    Al

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,668

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    I think you are over-thinking this. On the one hand, I'd say to go for it and let us know how it turns out. On the other hand, by the time you've bought BC plywood, resin, etc, you're into the cost of a pre-cut budget box. My reservations with your plan are: plywood outgasses formaldahyde for quite a while (although I have made nukes from it, I let them air for months), in 1/2 in ply end grain a screw will certainly separate the laminations, if a butt joint construction adhesive (in a caulk-type tube) is far superior to TB3 or poly (Gorilla) glue- It's made to stick to plywood and is very forgiving about less-than-perfect joints. Anyway, take any advice with a grain of salt. You know the old saw about 3 beeks giving you 5 answers, the same is true of carpenters. Good luck, have fun.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,668

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    Why don't you see if there's a local sawmill. Call a cabinet shop and ask. I can get boards dried, cut to width and planed really cheap if I'm willing to get whatever species they're overstocked with.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clay Count, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    819

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    I'm guessing you are wanting to try and build up your bee yard as least expensive as possible or you would be using 1 by pine like most of us buy our build. I'd say give it a try and let us know how it goes.

    I'd rethink using deeps for honey supers because they get very heavy. Guess you could use a cart to move them. By the time you move one into the garage full of honey you will know what I'm talking about. Suppose you could start with deeps and then use them for brood chambers later if they are too heavy for ya. I use deeps for brood and mediums for honey supers. The mediums can be used also when using a top feeder that requires an empty box around them so they are not all just sitting around when not being used to collect honey. I've never meet anyone at our bee club that uses deeps for honey supers but I'm sure someone must because they want to keep their equipment standardized. Most of the reading and posts I've read on the subject of standardized boxes folks are using mediums.


    Could use commercial tops which are less costly to build than telescoping covers. Costs a ton in sugar to feed hives so any honey they made would have to be kept for feed until they build out all the frames with comb and your bee numbers get up in count.

    I've built my bee equipment in groups of four or five at a time which cuts down on my saw blade changes and you get to know what small pieces are usable as you cut up your materials. Keep the small pieces that are not the correct width to be used as cleats for handles.

    In terms of box joints I use finger joints and built a jig to cut them. Sometimes I have to caulk a few wide cuts because my jig is not that great. I did consider using rabbit joints or joints with biscuits. They are strong as heck. Most of the plans I've looked at when people use plywood they go with butt joints.

    They do make 3/4" plywood or cdx. Best stick with using 3/4" stock for boxes because you will find your measurements easier to deal with as they relate to bee spacing and how other equipment (such as frames) are built for 3/4" stuff if you buy them.
    Last edited by MDS; 03-06-2011 at 08:18 AM.
    Try living life with the attitude it's not about what you want to do but what you should do!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,668

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    I have to agree that deeps for honey are too heavy. Bisquit joints also good idea.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    I was told by the man teaching the class that by using standard sized boxes and frames gives you a lot of flexibility and allows you to move frames between the honey supers and the brood bodies. He answered the weight question by saying that he removes the honey frames, sets them in a spare super for transport. Doesn't try to move the entire loaded super.

    Is that about right?

    You guys are halfway right about the cheap thing. I have built three of the homes I have lived in, numerous garages, book cases and just about anything you can think of. It's not the money necessarily, its the pride of taking on a task, setting a goal, really learning how to do it and then doing it. I am sure you can relate to that because bee keeping is not how the average person spends his time.

    I like the idea of laying out the hive bodies on a sheet of plywood and trying to adapt the plans I have found to meet the materials I have available. I've learned so much about beekeeping by simply looking at all these plans and different types of hives.

    If I had the experience with active hives I would know how much stress is put on these bodies. Using standard smooth sanded 3/4 ply there is a 1/32 exterior dimension difference between the ply and 1 x 12 dimensional. The internal dimensions will be the same.

    Thanks again,

    Al

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilmer,TX USA
    Posts
    1,830

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    CDX is what I use on nuc boxes lids etc. So cheap! Go get the 1x12s, you will thank youself later.
    One other though, maybe if you got a 10 or 12 footer you would have less was.
    Also you must add in kerf if you have not already.

    mike
    Please check out the new kingfisherapiaries.com!
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,995

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    I have about 50 mediums that I've made out of 23/32 BCX - the 1/32" is insignificant. Since I use 8 frame mediums I have found that the outside dimensions of store bought equipment varies by up to 1/4" - also insignificant. Not particularly pretty, but the bees don't care.

    I join my plywood boxes with half blind dovetails, because it makes a very strong joint (the wood would pretty much have to break for them to come apart) and I already had a jig to make them. It also saves time on assembly, because there is absolutely no need to nail or screw them.

    They probably won't last as long as store bought boxes, but I bet they last at least 10 years, and they cost me about $3.54 each to make. When they need replacing maybe I'll have positive cash flow and I'll be better able to justify nicer wood. Cyprus would be nice.

    For me it's all about the cost, and counting shipping these cost way less than 1/2 - its not a big deal considered for 2-3 hives, but it adds up for 20. By saving money on equipment I get to have 20 hives about twice as fast. This year instead of year after next.

    I have a few made out of butt jointed advantech and boy howdy are they ugly - if they aren't painted real good, then you probably wouldn't even notice. But the bees don't seem to mind either way. Kinda heavy though.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,106

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    I have done what you are doing and found that most go with wood opposed to plywood
    I figure they must be on too something .I also know If you search you will find the plans on how to make them from 1by 8,10's and 12's these plans are
    made with sketch up and another is made with I think its called Layout
    the Lay-out one Calculates how to cut different parts from the 10 and 12's
    to use with little too NO waste it will also cut(lay-out) your 4x8 plywood
    If I had the links I would post but can't find them

    Real quick I can think of 20" four times = 80" would leave 16" off a 8 footer
    that would make 4 sides 1 face
    I am off on the exact numbers NOT included is the cut kerf
    I'm just thinking out loud (trouble)
    Also they take the 12's and rip to fit and use the rip on the bottoms again I think
    I use dumpster wood so I have no real plans


    Tommyt

    I found one

    http://www.sheetlayout.com/
    Last edited by tommyt; 03-08-2011 at 07:53 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    Looking at it again:

    If I go with all deeps and use a butt joint that will be glued, stapled and maybe pegged I can get 7 - 20 inch (19 7/8) length from a 1x12x12 4 inch waste. I can get 8 - 15 inch lengths (14 3/4) lengths from a 1x12x10 with no waste.

    To maintain the proper internal dimensions the two ends rabbeted for the frames butt into the longer lengths. Simple cut, minimal dado work (only for the frame rests) and little waste on the lengths. The 1 3/4 inch lengthwise trim (11 1/2 - 9 5/8) will be used for the handheld cleats.

    I will use 3/8 plywood for all telescope boards (glue two together for strength) two inner boards, two bottom boards and two screen bottom boards from a single sheet. I will use the 3/8 scraps to build the proper spacing for the inner top board.

    2x4s will be used for the hive bottom. I will rabbet a 7/16 slot for the screen bottom board and a 7/16 slot for a solid bottom board. I will have the ability to use both or either screen and solid bottom boards. The bottom boards will slide out so I can remove them to clean the hive or to line with sticky paper to count mites.

    I will paint the exposed side of the telescop cover with fiberglass resin to provide weather resistance. The exposed sides of the hive bodies may also be painted with fiberglass resin.

    Hope to start working on the hives Wednesday.

    Thanks for all you help

    Al

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clay Count, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    819

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    I also use thin plywood glued together in a double layer for my inside cover and top cover. I bought a full sheet of thin plywood to seperate a 10 frame box into sections, using the thin plywood. I am also going to use the thin plywood in a queen castle and follower board.

    Buying a 4x8 sheet of thin plywood was more than I needed but hardly more cost than a half sheet. The lumber yard cut the 4x8 into two pieces so it was easy to haul home. They will cut that 12' lumber in two for ya also if you know the measurement so as not to waste material. As you see I found a use for the extra. Sorry, I know that is off topic but somone mentioned glueing thin plywood in two pieces.

    I'm still sold on box joints because so many use them. Maybe if you are building short term usage nucs out of 3/4" cdx (plywood) you don't need to use box joints. For one, in a short used nuc it is common to screw the bottom board on (and I know others than also screw on the bottom board for standard hives also because they move their bee hives often).

    I made some stuff with 3/4" cdx and saved half a sheet to make a portable table on top of two saw horses. Don't have to bend over to paint parts anymore and comes in handy while doing wood work. I put the half sheet and saw horses in my outside storage shed during the off session.

    Sorry don't mean to spam the thread with so long of posts. I will say this about box joints. If I was only building, lets say 10 or less boxes I would not go through the trouble of figuring out how to make a jig or needing a router/dado blades. I'd just use butt joints with biscuts or something similar with glue and screws.
    Last edited by MDS; 03-08-2011 at 01:02 PM.
    Try living life with the attitude it's not about what you want to do but what you should do!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lexington, KY, USA
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    Hi Alblancher, here I go again. I built some supers with 3/4" plywood that was given to me and had been in a garage for some thirty years or so. Well I was and still am afraid of delamination. So....I looked at various joining methods. I have used dovetails on pine boxes and they hold up good. For the plywood, however, I settled on MiterLock. Now I use nothing else. I am also suspicious of end grain exposure and similar things. I also do not like any metal fasteners in my boxes, and so it goes. Take a look at what MLCS has to offer in MiterLock router bits. They also have a great video that explains the whole thing. I have no connections with them but think that this corner fastening system beats anything else, but then that's just my opinion. This system is nothing for a production scheme but for a hobby bee keeper with a wood working bent I think that there is nothing better. Take care and have fun

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lexington, KY, USA
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: Joints on hive bodies

    Well here I am again. Just looked at their site. They call them "LockMiter"
    Sorry about that. Take care and have fun

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