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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    gordo, al
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I bought all of mine from them in the budget grade. No major issues save one box which had a knot on the corner. Simply should have drilled and screwed that one I think. Otherwise no problems assembling.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Johnson,Missouri,USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I put together 40 medium budget boxes from ML this winter. Went together fine. They are far from perfect but fully functional. I did use my plane to take of some irregularities and filled in some knot holes with caulk. I think they are well worth the saving with the free shipping.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,632

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I have purchased a lot of woodenware from Mann Lake. I always buy 'select' and the quality of the wood is hit and miss. I pay more and expect to get at least some quality and reliability. I finally got tired of the junko wood they continued to send me and started buying woodenware locally.
    It depends on how you are going to finish your hives. If you are going to paint them, a few flaws, crayon scribbles, etc would cover. If you are going to have a natural finish be careful to get good clean wood if you can. You can sand out some of the flaws, but that gets labor intensive after while. The migratory covers from Mann Lake have also been poor quality and fit..some fracturing after little use.
    If it doesn't fit and leaks I can't use it. The only thing I buy from Mann Lake anymore is just unassembled frames and a few odds and ends-feeders and feed. Free shipping is great and their service is good. I don't know where else to send you-shipping at other companies is ridiculous. I do know Mann Lake will replace what ever you buy if you are not happy with it, at least in my experience. I just got tired of complaining. I have never purchased budget woodenware, but I have sure received them. Guess I am pickier than some.
    This is a big reason I started making most of my own stuff.

    If I bought a burger at a fast food joint, I would also expect it to look more like the photo on the menu board, not like they wrapped it , stomped on it and handed it to me! LOL
    YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN don't you!
    We all have our standards.LOL

    If you want your finished to look like this, you need clean wood to start with:

    This is just a clear coat of Spar Urethane.
    Here is a burned hive body-burned with a hand held propane torch, then sealed with bees wax/lindseed oil heated mix.(Bottom box) You can see it has a duller finish. Look for good wood grain for burned finishes.

    If I had to I would buy from Mann Lake again, but would call them first to talk about the wood quality. Even though I have make coments on my order for clean wood they have never paid attention to that.
    I have to say the Mann Lake pine burns really well, the pine I buy locally has a lot of pitch in it, but I like them. The should last a long time with all that pitch! They just tend to snap and sizzle when I heat them up.

    We are fortunate enough to still be living in a time these natural resources are still available. Getting a good deep box in clean straight wood is somewhat difficult. Certainly have to cull through some wood to do it. And I don't know how Mann Lake is still offering free shipping. I have compared prices and whoa! When shipping is factored in Man Lake has them beat. Problem is the don't have some odds and ends I would like to try. When I try to buy something that will fit in a flat rate USPS box for $10.00 and they want to charge me $65.00 to ship it I don't even bother to continue looking at the web sites.
    Last edited by Lauri; 03-04-2012 at 08:56 AM.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,778

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I'm still shopping, not just buying this time.
    Have a shipping cost quote requested from Western bee.
    Waiting to hear from Bee babys.
    My shopping cart computes shipping. Seems others don't.
    No total, no payment authorized. 4 wks to nucs.
    I have a couple of deeps already.
    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,400

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I used to paint my hives different colors and decided to stain a few for "eye appeal" and because there was a can of stain left in the shed at my new house, left from the previous owner. I have to say...........I USED to paint hives!! I love the look of stained wooden ware!! It brings out the different flaws and grains in the wood and is unique!! Not to mention one coat and done!

    I did get a couple deeps that the knot hole fell out of, about a 3/4" hole, but I just figure its either another entrance or I will just glue a section of luan over the hole and stain it. The bees will propolise it on the inside. Another thing I like about staining now............it doesnt stand out like all the white bee hives you see, its more blended into its surroundings!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    The quality of lumber is decreasing at a rate directly comparable to the increase in price -- it's difficult to find decent wood for making boxes at a reasonable price, let alone clear pine.

    Even select grade is low quality in my book, very poorly dried on top of being badly graded (or have grading standards fallen that far?).

    I was cutting box blanks today with my trusty Japanese hand saw, which should in fact be nearly perfect for this job, and the blasted boards kept warping so badly they would pinch a VERY narrow saw solid, I had to wedge the saw kerf open right behind the saw so I could keep cutting.

    The CDX plywood I bought at an outrageous price wasn't much better -- I sincerely hope I can force it flat enough to get it into a dado slot to make telescoping covers tomorrow!

    "kiln dried" now appears to mean steamed for a couple hours, just enough to case harden something awful, after machining to size, rather than before. I note that "dimensional lumber" has shrunk another 1/32" too.

    Peter

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Scottsville ky. USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    Take a look at www.millerbeesupply.com

  8. #28
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    Just my two cents, I just ordered a bunch of commercial grade deeps from mannlake after having ordered nothing but budget before. I would never order budget again. The last batch of budget I got from them was a complete pain in the but, I had one of the sisde walls for the deep split in half when it got cold because it had a huge knot in the center and then two knots on either side in the fingers. Their commercial grade products are fine IMO though.
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we can now do anything with nothing

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I decided to compare the three grades of boxes from Mann Lake when I made an order last week because I plan on buying enough wood for about 20 hives for next year.

    I ordered a few of each grade. Maybe I was lucky, but the select and commercial grade boxes didn't seem to be functionally any better than the budget box. In my case, a budget box might have knots on the top or bottom edge or a couple knots with some cracks, but there were no knots on the hand holds or where they are nailed. Of course, I know that it is possible for them to have those additional defects, but it doesn't seem to me as if the other grades are worth the money. I have a feeling that any defects that might be a problem will be fixed by the bees with propolis if they need to.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I've ordered a lot of both type of boxes Yucca and I guarantee you if you order enough deeps for twenty hives (I'm assuming 40 deep boxes total) you will end up with at least 25 percent of the parts that have knots in either the hand holds or the finger joints. I switched to ordering all commercial grade equipment from them and every once in a great while a piece will slip through their QC/QA and end up with a knot in the fingers but not very often.

    That being said if a person has an woodworking ability at all they can work around the knots and what have you. I had a budget grade box split in half because their was a knot the size of a baseball in the middle of the wood piece and when I tapped a nail into it the first time it just broke in two. I just glued the pieces together and assembled the box then made sure I clamped it together real tight and let it sit over the evening and after a couple coats of paint you can't tell it apart from any of the other boxes. The fingers joints are pretty strong.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    Iv'e said it before and will say it again! The bees dont care! If you want fine furniture, have a local cabinetmaker build you some boxes and expect to pay a premium. If you just want bee hives, expect a few defects in the wood. The lower the grade, the more defects. These are just wooden boxes. That much being said, I do prefer Humble Abodes budjet grade over Mann Lakes. I just bought 150 hive bodies from Mann Lake and they all were perfectly useable.Humble Abodes was out of stock till July so I had no choice.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I couldn't agree with you more but the frustration from putting boxes together that don't quite meet up just perfect and have to have the end joints trimmed up is a pain in the butt. On top of that I'm not obsessive compulsive by any stretch of the imagination but when I get done putting boxes together and I can see a 1/4" gap on some of the corners because the wood wasn't cut square it drives me up a wall!! That's just me personally though, a box is a box regardless and you're right the bees could care less. Poor fitting boxes juts make for better ventilation but I personally can't stand it. Hopefully this fall I will get into the business of making my own so I can control the quality a little bit better.

    My $0.02
    Last edited by Moon; 06-20-2012 at 02:22 PM. Reason: typo

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    903

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I have ordered a couple of times from Mann Lake ( not boxes as the postage to Australia is the killer) and have only happy and efficient service to report. Their prices are very competitive compared to what I have to pay here.
    re boxes - they are very honest about it and declare in their catalogue what to expect.

    I'm planing my next order already!

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,698

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I've ordered ML budget boxes several times. They were OK. One time they filled my budget order with what must have been select boxes. They (the select ones) were completely clear with perfect fit. If you're buying $100 worth or more, it's not worth it to make your own.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  15. #35
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,400

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    I have received budget boxes that go together just fine, but might need a little planing to get them to stack right. I have one hive body that had a knot hole split out and has become an extra entrance, but I dont mind and the bees dont mind! The money I have saved has been able to buy other woodenware!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,206

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    My ML boxes have been fine, but I find that watching Craigslist allows me to find old pine boards (1x12) at about 35c a linear foot or less. Then making them has been a winter project.

  17. #37

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    If you want your finished to look like this, you need clean wood to start with:Here is a burned hive body-burned with a hand held propane torch, then sealed with bees wax/lindseed oil heated mix.(Bottom box) You can see it has a duller finish. Look for good wood grain for burned finishes.

    My goodness! That bottom box would withstand a 9.0 earthquake! That's a strong box!
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Arcadia,Fl.
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    i just put together 6 med budject i got in. missed there good sale. every one fit together just like the first batch of prem. ones and after i paint them you will never know the difference. i am sure some times they may have bad spots but 2 orders have all been good. i build mine on top of my table saw because it is flat and solid. i tb glue 2" finish nail with 2 in to each corner total8 in a box. this is for a loose fit to where i can rack it to sit flat on my table saw. once i have it flat and diangle measure sq. i then use #6 galv ring shank nails in two sides rechack flat and sq. and then put the rest of the nails. i spackle the nails and joints and any thing else needed. sand with med belt sander then fine belt sander, good ext. primer, 2 coats paint. it works for me and showing the grand kids how to do it.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,182

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    We buy from Shastina millworks, we ONLY buy the commercial plus grade, would never buy budgets. We hot dip all woodenware, we figure a box is going to be with us for 30-50 years.... after all the work that goes into getting a box ready for the field the last thing on my mind is trying to save $1.25.

    P.S....... $1.25 :/: 30 years...... $.04 savings a year...... me thinks I'll pass on budgets.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    North Tazewell, Virginia
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: Are budget grade Mann Lake boxes OK?

    No complaints here I just paint them with 3 coats of paint 5yrs later still as good as the day I bought them. Later

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