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  1. #21
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    Jan 2003
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    >>It sounds like the wood you used was still pretty wet.

    yes I bet it was.

    but this is my point, and it doesnt look like I said this in my last post

    if your wanting to work with wood that has been dried, specify the MC reading on every board, not the average MC of the lot. This way you will get a consistent supply of dry wood. All the box makers buy their wood this way to ensure consistency otherwise we would all be buying mis matching box material. I have never bought wood this way, and dont know what conditions are used for orders like this, but I know for a fact, these guys demand an accurate MC measurement and quality cut wood.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    The wood that I buy from time to time is wet enough that if I dont put the boxes together within the week of cutting, my cuts start to be off by slight bits. And that is annoying when working so hard to make accurate cuts to have to peel off some edges to make pieces fit ! lol
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Huntington ,VT, USA
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    256

    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    You are absolutely correct.
    Consistency is critical; you can work with green(of the same MC) and account for the movement, you can work with dry (preferable) but you cannot go mixing and matching and hope for things to stay even and square.

  4. #24
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    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    2,505

    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Wood move a LOT as it drys, and it does NOT move in a linear fashion. It shrinks more along the grain that across it (hence the cup) and irregular grain will dry into irregular shapes.

    Modern KD lumber, especially pine, is rarely properly equilibrated, hence the problem with boxes shrinking (they should actually grow as the MC goes from the 6-8% of properly KD lumber to the approximately 12% that is typical here). Wet lumber should be stacked properly and air dried over a summer and winter, then machined flat and straight. Cut it and assemble at once, you should NOT leave cut pieces laying about changing moisture content and warping. If you must, don't stack them on a floor, put them on one edge and separate them to keep them from absorbing or losing water on one side only, they will stay flat much better.

    Wood is live material even when cut, dried, and painted, and will always move a bit with moisture content changes. This movement is fairly small if the wood was properly cut and selected for consistent grain and the wood was allowed to equilibrate properly before machining, but it's still there.

    Making bee equipment from wet wood straight from the mill is asking for warped, split, and twisted boxed that are too shallow for your frames, and it's very difficult to predict how much the wood will shrink, every single log is different!

    Peter

    Peter

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Baytown, TX., USA.
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    651

    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Amazing! I had no idea that wood would shrink so much! By the way, if you face the cup into the box when warping occurs it will tighten the corners, cup facing out will spread the corners.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  6. #26
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    Feb 2010
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    Park City Ky
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Just a note that I have learned from buying saw mill lumber, poplar, cypress, pine. Have the wood cut a full one inch to one and one quarter inch. After seasoning, most cupping that you get, can be taken out by planing. If you strip, (I use 4 strips on 10 ft. boards) (see photo attached) about the only ones that will cupp are the top two or three boards. The weight of the others will keep them straight as they cure.

    Most saw mills will charge you for 1 inch even if they cut it 7/8. I always specify full one inch, and most often I get 1 1/8. They still charge for 1 inch. Attached photo shows how I stack my saw mill cut wood. This small stack is cyress.

    Stacked cypress 001.jpg

    cchoganjr

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    beesource needs a like button just like facebook has. If beesource had a like button, Id like that last post!
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  8. #28
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    every single log is different!
    Not from the same species of wood grown in earth close together.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #29
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    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleo C. Hogan Jr View Post
    They still charge for 1 inch.
    I think they charge by the log and from there they tell you what you want to hear.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  10. #30
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    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    6,426

    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    every single log is different!
    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Not from the same species of wood grown in earth close together.
    The depths of Acebird ignorance is astonishing!

    The only way that two logs can "not be different", is if those two logs are identical. And that means that since tree branches result in knots in the log, you are asserting that two logs grown "from the same species of wood grown in earth close together" will have an identical knot pattern. Completely false.

    If this really were true, I suggest you immediately patent the technique you developed to perform this feat, because the major forest product companies will soon be beating a path to your front door.

    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  11. #31
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    Feb 2010
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    Park City Ky
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Quote from Acebird.... "I think they charge by the log, and from there they tell you what you want to hear". Unquote.


    Acebird... No, all the saw mills I deal with, charge by the board foot, cut lumber. They calculate the board foot, but most often consider 1 1/4 as 1 inch. They will also consider 7/8 as one inch in calculating the board feet. 7/8 is really thick enough to finish 3/4 after planing, but 1 inch or 1 1/4 gives you chance to plane out some small imperfections, so, I specify full 1 inch when I order. Requires a little more planing, but, I feel it is worth it.

    Length, times width, times thickness,= board feet. I buy lots of 500 board feet at a time, and stack and cure, normally for one year. Mine is all stacked in a big barn.

    I run a few square hives (13 frames) attached is a photo of one of the square hives built from saw mill cypress.

    cypress Square Hive 3.jpg

    cchoganjr
    Last edited by Cleo C. Hogan Jr; 12-18-2012 at 08:16 PM. Reason: add photo of saw mill cypress

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    bet those hives get heavy !
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  13. #33
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    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    We use Western Red Cedar to make the top bar hives and Warre hives we sell. We kiln dry it until it's somewhere between 12-16% moisture and we find this works well.

    Matt

  14. #34
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    3,083

    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    As for price, what you are being told etc. Take just a quick look at something like this.
    http://www.bellforestproducts.com/birdseye-maple/

    Now you had to get an idea of amount of wood for the money. In the project pack lumber Birdseye maple was running more than $10 a board foot. People buying this sort of stuff know a thing or two abotu wood. OR at least they shoudl or they will get taken to the cleaners. I so a lot of wood that is sold "AS" birdseye , figured. burled or whatever that is anything but.

    Here is an idea of what Burl can be.
    buckeye34.jpg

    Now you can imagine someone taking a $300 plus piece of wood like that and making an instrument that every single detail will be examined. Has a lot to be concerned about when it comes to expansion contraction. how pieces of wood fit together and how to keep them that way.

    In comparison a discussion of how wood expands and contracts in regard to boxes that have been hacked up and slapped together is a bit on the overkill side. But beekeepers wanna make their own and this always seems to be part of the conversation.

    So what is the problem with beehives and the wood we use for them. First of all the worst wood from any log is the stuff that comes from the outer edges of the log. and every bit of wood you use in a beehive came from their. the good stuff from the middle is cut into other lumber and sold for the prices it is worth. You don't make a purse from a sows ear. Put another way. you start with garbage lumber and you can only build something so good with it.
    Mainly just understand you are looking at the two extreme ends of a very broad issue. And beekeepers are shopping at the flea market quality end of the issue. It is only going to get so good.

    Next but far more important. Be educated. know what you are buying. know why it is priced as it is. be realistic in what you can expect. Are their uninformed buyers. Yes there are. and those ready to take advantage of them are plentiful. It is worse when it comes to figured or higher priced wood.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Mainly just understand you are looking at the two extreme ends of a very broad issue. And beekeepers are shopping at the flea market quality end of the issue. It is only going to get so good.
    I doubt that, I see the wood that comes into my box maker. Its premium wood, and special ordered. The good cuts off those logs are not being set aside, they are being sent to him. Not like he is ordering maple or oak, he is ordering pine, and specifically eastern white pine because of its many qualities wanted by beekeepers. Ease to work with, light weight, cost comparisons, durability and so on.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Ian..Daniel Y.. I tend to agree somewhat with both of you. Mostly true that bee boxes are not made from premium wood, but, also true that bee boxes are made from short pieces, and you can buy short pieces that will qualify as premium wood at a low price because they cannot sell the entire board/boards as premium boards. For instance a bad spot in the middle of a 12 ft. board may keep it from being sold as a premium board, so you get the board at a flea market price, while at the same time getting lots of really good wood from the rejected board. Cut out the inferior part and you have a lot of good wood from that board. It is also possible to get to know your saw mill and they will select quality logs to cut your wood.

    There will be times you get burned, I know, I recently bought 200 bdft cypress as a test from a mill I had not dealt with before, 150 miles from me. When I arrived at the mill the boards were banded, and I did not break the bands until I returned home. To put it mildly, the cypress was very poor quality. I will not buy from them again. Buy a small quantity to check for quality before making a larger order. I often use less than 1st quality for my own boxes, nucs, or for swarm boxes, and only use 1st quality for those I sell.

    I am not a large commercial box builder so, I can afford to take more time and use as much of a board as I can. A board I have bought at a very good price. Large commercial bee companies cannot afford to take the time to cull boards as I can.

    cchoganjr

  17. #37
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    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    I just received my lumber order 2 weeks ago , that i placed back in August : / I am tired of having to plane the lumber , so i ordered it @ 7/8 x 9 7/8 in case it shrunk a bit, if this was wrong i don't know , but i did put it in a building and stick piled it .

    i used to just go get rough 1x10 lumber that was air dried, but i had anything from 1.5" -1 1/8 in the same board and it took forever to get it the right thickness : (

    Time shall tell if i did this wrong : ) I was hoping i could build over winter , but i don't know if it will be dry enough.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleo C. Hogan Jr View Post
    Large commercial bee companies cannot afford to take the time to cull boards as I can.
    Depends on how large and diverse they are. They could have their own saw mill and shop.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Ben Little.. My experience, and just my experience, (others may differ) is that if you are getting that much variation in the thickness of your boards, the mill is not using good equipment. You may need to change mills. The ones I deal with are very, very precise. Virtually no variation in thickness from one end to the other.

    Not sure what lumber you are talking about, but, again my experience as stated above, rough saw will shrink 1/2 to 3/4 inch in width. I order mine 10/3/4 or 11 inch width to allow for shrinkage. 7/8 thickness will work, but, read what I wrote above.

    Some wood may be usable in 3-8 months, but again, strip dried normally takes about 9 months to a year for 7/8 or 1 inch thickness.

    Just my experience, Others may vary.

    cchoganjr

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Moisture content of wood and building boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Little View Post
    1.5" -1 1/8 in the same board and it took forever to get it the right thickness
    Don't fight it. Cut your boards to length first. This is where you do the culling like Cleo is doing. Thicker boards can be used for different pieces or as I do thicker walled boxes in the brood chamber. Keep the inside dimensions standard. It is a shame to just make wood chips.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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