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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default First time assembly questions

    Hi I've been assembling my first two hives when I noticed a few things

    I don't have a lot of tools besides my hammer, a carpenter square and nails- does it matter if the box isn't perfectly 90 degree angles so that it perfectly sits on top of another? I'm noticing very slight deviations between the boxes when I sit them on top of each other. I was thinking it wouldn't matter anyway once it gets propolis on it.

    Also, I'm surprised I'd never heard any discussion on this but I just noticed my plastic foundation doesn't completely cover the inside of my frames- there's a vertical space gap on the side. I figured that this is on purpose to act as a communication hole. How do you align your gap? I was wondering if I should alternate the gaps with every frame or keep the gap on the same side for each.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    columbus,ohio,USA
    Posts
    518

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    As far as boxes go. In my exprience assembling for the local supply, there is always a few that are not totally square no matter what you do. You certainly don't want them to be to far off. As long as frames fit em ok, and its not super wobbily when put on a flat surface, your good.
    Chris Cree
    Cree's Bees

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Genola, Ut
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    They should be as close to square as possible. It just makes things easier down the road. When I first started I eyballed them and got them close. It became a pain Having to worry about which boxes fit together and which didn't. Now I put a square to every box I build.

    Every piece of foundation I have ever had has never filled the entire frame. I wouldn't worry about aligning the gap in the hive. The bees will ultimately end up filling it in with comb anyway.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    825

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    Gus: The first couple hives are the hardest...It only gets easier!! I find a rubber mallet indespensible when it comes to hive building. (about $3 investment). Though 'very slight' can mean different things to different people, just be cautious as to how many 'shelves' you leave on the exterior for snow/rain, etc, to settle on, which will cause premature weather damage. Something that has worked for me is to get the box as close to perfectly square as I can, then put in one nail on each corner, then re-square, and repeat. Though I am sure many would call it overkiil, I also squirt a bit of wood glue at every connect point. When the glue squeezes out, I 'paint' it onto the exterior cut surfaces to help seal the end. (though admittedly, I do this because of all the rain and humidity we get down here) I always remind myself that it's a whole lot easier to take extra time now, tnan it is to fix shortcuts once the bees are inside. Just do your best, and it will be just fine!

    As for the foundation, it's just a gap. The bees will either fill it in, or not. I usually try to split the difference between each side, but it sure doesn't have to be perfect. No need to alternate, etc...It's just a little leeway to make it easier for us to put the foundation in.

    I am assuming, building your first hives, you have GOT to be anxious for spring!!! Best to you, and your 'girls'.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,066

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    I say make the boxes as square as possible, without regard to the the box that you think may go above or beneath the box in question. The sequence that you stack them to start with may not be the sequence that you end up using later.

    Don't make the mistake of deliberately distorting one box to make it better fit another distorted box.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,673

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    Lacking a square, the best way to check if your box is square is to measure the diagonals. If they're off very much, set it up on a corner with the longer dimenson and mash it the other way.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,593

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    Just do your best to get the corners square. It's possible to have a box with squared corners that isn't level. I sometimes assemble opposite corners, Let the glue cure, and then put the box together.

    It just happens that an occasional box will "rock".
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    656

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    As cg3 says, measure the diagonals and make them equal length and it is perfectly square.

    Simpler and does a better job than a square. Apply wood glue before assembling, nail/screw, square and then square it up.

    Let the glue dry before moving it.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,833

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    BeeCurious You are correct. Even if a box is square it may not be level. I have a very heavy weight that I put on newly assembled boxes, sitting on a flat surface. That will level the box. Once the glue dries, overnight, they will stay level.

    I like to square the box after I assemble and have the nails or staples in one section of the box joints. Then when you do the second section it will stay squared.

    cchoganjr

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    Ok so some more learning for me today. Did the nail 1 nail on each corner while squareing- helped immessly. I had been trying to fully nail everything on a corner before moving on.

    Lesson 2. When I was at my small hardware store looking for 7D nails all I saw were...Aluminum nails. Lesson 2....do not use Aluminum nails....that was frustrating last night

    Lesson 3. Don't hit your thumb with the hammer... Twice...in the same spot

    Hopefully I don't have any more lessons to learn when I have another go at this tonight.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,431

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus979 View Post
    Hi I've been assembling my first two hives when I noticed a few things
    Were these boxes you made yourself or commercially made boxes with box joints in the corners? The grain of the wood will affect if your boxes mate up perfectly level and how tight the box joints are. One handy tool that you might consider is a set of quick clamps so you can clamp the box to your telescoping cover. If you want to make a couple of spacer blocks you can hold the box square using the telescoping cover. Square is not as critical as level so the boxes don't rock. If it is too late and your boxes are all done then the only recourse is to plane the high sides. The bees will propolise the gaps between boxes and that will make it more difficult to pull them apart. I would try to keep the gap to a minimum.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,066

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Were these boxes you made yourself or commercially made boxes with box joints in the corners?
    Engineer Ace, you have previously claimed you don't have a problem with reading comprehension. In the original post you responded to, Gus979 said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus979 View Post
    I don't have a lot of tools besides my hammer, a carpenter square and nails- does it matter if the box isn't perfectly 90 degree angles so that it perfectly sits on top of another?
    Perhaps you will now explain to us how to make hive bodies yourself without a saw?

    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 12-10-2012 at 02:41 PM. Reason: rephrase
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    Thanks for the help everyone- tonight my assembly went much more smoothly. What kind of evil person creates aluminum nails?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    benton ky
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    Ok ill bite. I only have used galvanized nails but have debated screws. Why would alumnium nail not work?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,431

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus979 View Post
    Thanks for the help everyone- tonight my assembly went much more smoothly. What kind of evil person creates aluminum nails?
    Roofing, Siding when aluminum was prevalent, window and eve wrapping...
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Inverness, IL
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: First time assembly questions

    I'am a woodworker and a beekeeper. What I use is a squaring fixture to keep my hives square and flat. The fixture is a 2'x4' piece of plywood with 3/4x 2 boards screwed to its face along the edges. The boards are screwed to the plywood perfectly square. When I make a hive body or super I glue and put a couple nails in it to hold it together. Then I put it in the fixture and clamp it tight and flat to the boards around the edge. That makes sure its square and flat. I then add nails as required. I don't make many new hives so I usually leave the new box in the fixture until the glue has set. I hope this explanation is clear. You need two 24" bar clamps and perhaps a couple 12".

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