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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    chicago,il
    Posts
    6

    Default Newbie building hives

    Greetings all;

    Just about finished building my first hive. I have two deeps and two medium supers as well as the telescoping top, screened bottom board, and base. I was going to dado the box ends with glue and screws, but my woodworker buddy asked me if I was going to use my Keller dovetail jig to build it. ( My primary hobby is woodworking) Of course I had no choice but to fire up the router and dovetail jig and now I have some dovetailed supers. His partner at the shop (who is more production minded) asked why I didn't just dado the things and glue it up. sigh...

    For the record I have about 16 hours into the project including painting.

    Anyway my first question is about bee space. I reviewed the many plans on the net to make sure the boxes are sized correctly and was wondering do I need any bee space below the inner cover and the top of the frames? My frames are flush with the top of the supers with the allowance for bee space on the bottom of the frames.

    Also does the inner cover need to be painted? It is all plywood.

    Bees will be here May 1stish, so I have time.

    Thanks
    Eric

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,662

    Default Re: Newbie building hives

    Quote Originally Posted by ericspaw View Post
    I reviewed the many plans on the net to make sure the boxes are sized correctly and was wondering do I need any bee space below the inner cover and the top of the frames?
    In the long run, you will be happier if you build in bee space above the frames from the beginning. You don't want the inner cover to be propolized to the frames, and that is more likely without bee space. Also, at times, you may wish to feed with a top feeder, and that will work best if there is bee space above the frames to allow feeder access.

    Also, even though you have an estimated date for the bees arrival, you should plan to have everything ready earlier than your expected date. On Thursday I got a call from my package vendor asking if I could pick up the bees this weekend (2 days notice). The scheduled availability date was April 1. I had to scramble to finish up the final details. But I was happy to get them 2 weeks earlier than planned.
    -- Victor Hugo -- "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,079

    Default Re: Newbie building hives

    The inner covers we have are framed in wood. The plywood is centered in the frame leaving about a 1/4" space.
    Some people build them with a larger space on one side, they can turn them over when feeding pollen patties.

    Our Mann Lake boxes, have the frames down about 1/8" from the top of the box.
    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,738

    Default Re: Newbie building hives

    Don't know if you have a way of making your hand holds in your supers, but here is a link to my UTube video on an easy way to make the handles that is also fast, and safe. Only requires a Skil Saw and the jig you build yourself at home.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaWRjpJ5f0w

    I second the bee space above, for the reasons listed above by Rader Sidetrack. Don't paint the inner cover. Better yet, don't use one.

    cchoganjr

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,458

    Default Re: Newbie building hives

    Dovetails are best, box joints next, then a poor third comes rabbet joints, for the simple reason that you will be prying on the corners of those boxes eventually, and if you have bees that like to glue things up, you will be prying HARD sometimes. Rabbet joints will fail much faster than box joints since there is no interlock. Not that I'd say you shouldn't use them if you don't have the skill or equipment to make box joints (although all it takes is a dado blade set, I'm assuming you have a table saw).

    I just finished 5 telescoping top covers and three hive bases that I used rabbet joints on because I didn't have time to set up a box joint jig for them (we have some cracked and leaking ones that need to go away VERY soon), but I plan to do box joints on my boxes this week, just have to get the jig up and going.

    For hand holds, I'm going to cut a 30 degree angle top and bottom, this will shed rain better off the top and make for much more secure grip. I'm not fond of the idea of cutting deep into the sides of the boxes, although that may be better if you need to move hives as they can be butted together flat.

    It's been fun turning lumber into stuff -- need to get going this week and get 100 frames put together, I need to get a medium box installed on one hive and nuc boxes ready for swarm season.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hastings Nebraska
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Newbie building hives

    Great video Cleo, I make all of my equipment as well. That was a great instructional video you have there. Thank You!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Coopersville, Michigan
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: Newbie building hives

    You should post some pics, I always like to see what others are up to. I'm curious what the supers look like with your dovetails in them. I built mine with rabbets and a Keyhoe Dovetail jig. There is something to be said for making things look pretty even if they are just boxes to hold bees. If your frames are flush what size frames and rests did you use? Mine are 1/2 inch frame ears on 5/8th rest with 1/4 inch clearance on the bottom for a total of 3/8 inch between boxes. Definately give yourself beespace at the top as others have said. I try not to calculate how much time I have into my new hives.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    berkshire county MA
    Posts
    1,472

    Default Re: Newbie building hives

    I think we sometimes underestimate the strength of rabbet joints, especially when they are well made. I've been making boxes with the rabbets on the end pieces and using tite-bond glue and two-inch screws and they are quite strong. I also have boxes that are who knows how old that belonged to a friends father and they are still going strong, with simple dado joints. I'm not saying box joints aren't stronger, just that you can do fine with rabbet joints.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,738

    Default Re: Newbie building hives

    Most any joint, box joint, rabbet joints, dove tails, butt joints, when used with a good glue and appropriate number of nails or screws, along with a coat of paint or some sort of preservative, in a bee box will outlive the bee keeper.

    Box joints are used commercially, primarily because they are easy to assemble, almost squaring themselves. Rabbet joints need some sort of clamp or assembly jig, and a little more effort to square them. I used and manufactured, using rabbet joints for years. They still perform well. I went to box joints for the same reason as others, ease in assembly.

    cchoganjr

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Cookeville, TN
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Newbie building hives

    I have to agree with most of the replies about leaving some bee space between the tops of the frames and whichever lid you'll be using. My first set of boxes that I built had almost no space between the tops of the frame and the migratory tops I am using. It was a real pain to get the top off since the bees had propolized every frame to the top.

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