As a cabinetmaker/woodworker, I've made a lot of my own equipment. I have dovetail and fingerjoint jigs, but was thinking about why we use fingerjoints or box joints in the hive bodies. I think it comes down to the glue and tradition.
Since the Langstroth hive is mostly unchanged for over 100 years, and because screws were extremely expensive at the time (nails as well) I think that the box joint required little metal. Also, since the glues were mainly hide glue, the joint needed to be more mechanical.
These days, we have a wide variety of water resistant and water proof glues. I think a rabbet joint would work just as well (though maybe not haveing the same tangental strength) as a finger joint in most hive bodies used for non-commercial use.
Side by side, I have a feeling that a rabbet joint with Titebond IIII or polyurethane glue would last just as long as a fingerjointed box. Any thoughts?