Would you buy rabbet jointed beehive boxes for your operation?
Would you buy rabbet jointed beehive boxes for your operation?
To answer the original question. Would I buy wooden ware with rabbet joints? NO not if what I was shopping for was wooden ware. if it was a nuc and what I was buying was bees I would not give it much thought. If I where buying bees from someone and they told me they also offered wooden ware it would loose the sale to find it did not have finger joints.
It is expensive to make a good finger joint and I can do it. So basically I have put my money into the issue already. This probably means I have my mind made up a little more than most. But no I woudl not use rabbet joints and more than I will use cardboard nuc boxes. It all has to do with a standard I expect of myself. Going with a easy box to make is one sign of what sort of choices have been made in every other part of a bee operation. Excellence is in the details.
Significant Minority vs Insignificant Majority, 20% of causes produce 80% of the effects.
I bought select cypress hive bodies this Spring from Rossman's and they have rabbet joints. I used a mixture of Thompson's water seal and linseed oil on the entire hive body. The bees don't mind it one bit and soaking the end grain should reduce cupping and rot over time. 1300 pounds of strength is fine for my 8 frame deeps.
As much as I'm a fan of box joints, rabbet joints done well will work just as well for this non-commercial beekeeper.
We make our own as well. We went with rabbets and Titebond, then nailed with the brad gun. But as a final step we purchased some metal drywall corners, cut them to length and nailed them to each corner. They are inexpensive and helped stiffen the joints. It seems to be helping with the corner collapse from hive tool insertion too. We also cut some longer so they interlock with the box under it, but this has had mixed results.
I find that if you screw and glue, they will last, if treated with care.
Just as a point of interest:
About 3 years ago, the magazine Fine Wood Working, did a thorough test of various joints using modern adhesives.
The strongest joint for joining wood at right angles was a Splined Miter joint. Don't recall how many splines for a given joint length, but it was very few. I think the splines were around 1/8" thick. One advantage is No end grain is exposed.
I would be interested in knowing how the weakest joint ( a Butt joint) held with one of the best epoxies (West System ) would have compared.
Trying to think inside the box...
I really feel that people are overthinking their joints. Unless you are a migratory keeper, moving constantly, banging and dropping with forklifts, any joint, including the butt joint, with good wood, properly nailed or screwed, with good quality glue, and some sort of preservative, (paint, stain, wax dip every three or four years,) will outlive the beekeeper.
Lots of joints are nice, pretty, easy to make, easy to assemble, and if that is your thing, then go for it. There is a lot to be said for pride in workmanship. But, if keeping bees/ making honey, is your primary thing, don't worry about the joints. They will still be there, when you are gone.
True, they will last your life time, but my son finds woodenware painted his Great Great Grandfather's colors(from the 1920's).
It all depends how long you want them to last.
Linden Apiary, est. 1852
Come on Cleo, have you found a thread here yet where we don’t argue some sort of minutia in a fun sort of way? Yes it is all practical but we do honestly get pretty anal.
Wood Magazine issue 190 tested exterior glues in a half lap joint. They tested type 2, Type 3, Epoxy and Poly glues. Stuck them on the roof for 9 months and found that... yes Cleo was correct, they all did better than the wood.
“Type-3 adhesive rivals the epoxy’s
strength in both types of outdoor joints
without the mixing mess.”
And type 2 “Although type-2 glue
isn’t marketed as waterproof, outdoor
half-lap joints made with it proved as
strong as joints bonded with type-3”
Epoxy” Conclusion: Epoxy proved stronger
than the wood in all but one outdoor
half-lap. Use it for outdoor projects with
less-than-perfect joints or for joining
“Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)
Roland... You said the majic words.... "Great Great Grandfather's colors" Colors indicate preservative, PAINT. (I would also suspect good wood back then)
It isn't the joint that is making them last generations. And here is where people keep going astray. First, and foremost good wood, good glue, nails (or screws) and preservative. There are other variables far more important than the joint that determines how long your box lasts.
minz...I didn't realize we were arguing. And I always absolutely respect anyone's opinion on any subject.
The original question was, "what do you think of the rabbet joint an acceptable joint for bee boxes." Then later "Would you buy or sell a box with a rabbet joint"
My thought on this subject was, we are giving the "JOINT" to much credit for the life of a box, Other variables are equal to or far more important.
If I have offended anyone I apologize, and I will withdraw.
You know, Cleo keeps mentioning that boxes will outlive the beekeeper, but I've never heard from a beekeeper whose boxes outlived him!
Very true Solomon, but, Rolan said his great great grandson is still using the equipment that outlived the great great grandfather.
I disagree that beehive box joint quality are minute details. I hate my butt joints and I guarantee they will be culled in less than ten years due to weakening joints, water working in them and then rot or a slip and collapse of the box.
Wood quality is obviously not as good as the old growth wood that was around in previous generations or even 30-40 years ago. I dont think many boxes made today will be around 60-70 years from now. From what a local commercial beek told me, many boxes dont make it ten years now.
Anyway, box joints are certainly worth mention and attention in every beekeepers operation as far as I am conserned.
One of the reasons I switched to making my own rabbeted corner boxes was I did a little comparative analysis between those and box joints. Here's what I found.
Box joints are excellent if you're using nails because they square up easily and stay together even if you can see light through the joint. But I don't use nails, I use screws.
Box joints don't work nearly as well if you intend to glue the joint. Sliding surfaces wipe glue off.
Fully half of the endgrain of each board is exposed on a box joint while only half of the endgrain is exposed on one board of the joint in a rabbeted joint.
The rabbet offers much more strength and support to the finger that sticks out at the end of the frame rest on the end board of the box. It's that little 3/8" by 3/4" finger left over. On the first batch of boxes I bought nine years ago, so many of them were cracking and breaking during assembly that I ended up not even nailing them. Nine years later, that is the primary source of unfixable damage on those boxes. I can trim deeps down to mediums, but there's not much that can be done to that upper corner. On a rabbeted joint, that piece is contiguous with the rest of the rabbet giving it more support.
Rabbets can be made with a single table saw with a single blade in two cuts with no extra tools, and only half the boards even need that cut, the other half are simply cut to length. Unless you have a haunching machine, a box joint is going to set you back more than a dozen cuts per board with a dado blade and an indexing setup.
Furthermore, if you mess up on a box joint, it may not fit together at all. With a rabbet, you can either cut it a little further, or leave a gap during assembly assuming you got the depth right.
Anyway, that's what I found when I sat down and thought about this for a while. Since then, I've made about two dozen boxes since then. The first ten were workable, the second batch have been excellent.
Box joints do take longer to cut, but once you get a jig set up, they are pretty fast, and mine fit very nicely (although I want to re-make the jig, I bought a better blade after I set it up).
End grain exposure is only an issue if it is not sealed -- as always, unprotected soft wood will rot in no time, keep it painted and it will last decades. Same thing for glue -- if the joints fit properly, there will be enough glue in the box joint to seal it and hold it together.
My brother and I have not had any trouble so far with broken rabbets on boxes -- his are seven or eight years old so far. We also never pry on the ends, and use folded metal rests on the brood boxes.
Don't confuse joint type with wood type when discussing the life of boxes -- pine of any type, partiuclarly the softer ones, will rot rather quickly if allowed to get water saturated, while fir and most cedars and redwood will not. A more fair comparison would be to make the two types of joints either on the same box or out of the same board.