Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 51
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

    Default plywood nuc boxes

    I'm getting ready to build a large number of 4 frame deep nuc boxes, and obviously want to do it as cheaply as possible but also want them to hold up to the weather. I'm thinking of going with exterior plywood instead of 1x pine wood, I figure it will be less expensive. I do plan on painting the plywood with a couple coats of good quality paint. Those that have used plywood nucs for many years, how do you like them? What thickness did you use, and how did you secure the joints? Thanks. John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    I have built hive bodies made from 3/4" marine grade plywood. They lasted about 4 years.

    Just a suggestion, I scan Craigslist for pallets. Some pallets have decent 1x6 that make very good hives. Last fall I bought 96 8'x10' pallets with 11 8' 1x6's on each for $750. I have built almost 100 5 frame deep nuc boxes so far and should get 400 more. It is more work but the price is right.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    Don, never thought of using pallet wood, looks like that was a really great deal for you. Even if the wood is a little scuffed up, so what, its still better than plywood and will last. John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    There is a lot of waste John, but the end result is solid wood boxes for under $2.

    It is a given that most pallet wood is junk not suitable for hives. There are specialty pallets not designed for reuse that have better wood. Tile shops are another good source. They get heavy wood single use crates. Those are generally free as well.
    I would search other threads here before going with plywood. An exception is sign grade plywood. I made some parts out of used signage plywood last year and they are doing well so far.

    I'll build a hive out of anything.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,111

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by DonShackelford View Post
    It is a given that most pallet wood is junk not suitable for hives. There are specialty pallets not designed for reuse that have better wood.
    I agree. Standard re-usable pallets typically get repaired when damaged, and have way too many "twist" nails to be usable lumber. But I find that one-time use pallets/frames used for shipping machinery work well for me. Locally I reuse log-splitter crates from Tractor Supply, and large one-time pallets from a local mower shop.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    Don, so you are joining two 1x6's together to get the depth needed for deep nucs? I really hesitate to go with plywood unless others have used them and say they hold up well for many years, but my gut tells me it ain't so. I build all my equipment except frames to save money, and would like to save even more on wood, so I'm starting to look for cheaper ways to do it, as long as it holds up well, heck, the bees don't really care. I would rather spend the money on things that do matter. John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    I strongly suggest adavantech instead of plywood if you are going to buy sheet stock.
    I made some last year after talking to Keth Comollo, who had left a test piece in the weather ofr a year or two unpainted and reported it still sound.

    Unlike OSB (which it looks like) it is impregnated with a waxy substance making it water resistant (so far, apparently more so than CDX ply).

    It's very easy to work with..cuts like butter and slides easily across the saw table.

    The painted boxes and untinned tops look as good now as they did when made...and the lids were constantly wet under the top bricks all winter.

    Bees in these boxes have done very well in them after a very difficult year of weather stress...and the bees in them are only 4 frame nucs (in an upstate NY winter).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wausau, WI, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    I made a bunch of Nuc boxes last year using pressure treated plywood. I used 3/4" for the top, bottom, and ends. 1/2" was used for the sides. Only problem encountered was some slight warping of the 1/2" sides. I used 1/4" crown staples to assemble the pieces. I did paint the exterior of all the boxes. These are all stored outside on a special pallet. Bottoms have a cleat that aligns with an opening on the pallet. 8 Nuc boxes to a pallet. These were 5 frame Nucs.

    Wisnewbee
    Bill

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Don, so you are joining two 1x6's together to get the depth needed for deep nucs?
    Yes. I run all edges through the tablesaw, cut for length on the miter saw, then clamp two together and join them with a 1" long x 1/2" tall corrugated fastener with this air gun. No glue required.

    http://www.nailgundepot.com/prodView.asp?idproduct=1963

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    686

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    I used 5/8" siding, un-painted, and they're holding together great despite being outside for 2 years now.
    Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
    Facebook

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,068

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    I second the advantec. I glue (titebond 3) and screw plain old butt joints and have some boxes (nucs and supers) that have been out for 3 years that are like new structurally. Ugly, but solid. Heavy compared to 1x12s but not really much of a factor when they are full of bees or honey. About $3.50 per super for new material, and you don't have to deconstruct pallets before you start.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    737

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    Bushkill.com gives a nice material and cut list. I use T1-11 exterior plywood, good coat of primer and camo colors.
    I could not find the Advantec, even went to the dealers. I have a couple of projects to finish in the shop and then I will go for doing another pile of traps.
    I have made queen castles out of exterior plywood and they have survived outside all year without a scratch in full weather. The nucs I cannot comment on because I bring them in for winter. It was scrap so all I have in them is time and paint.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Genola, Ut
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    Here are some pallet swarm traps I made...
    Recycled Pallet Swarm Traps
    Once these are painted they will last quite a while.

    I used to make my nucs entirely out of plywood. I didn't like cutting the box joints for them.
    So, I came up with a "hybrid nuc" that allowed me to use butt joints. Basically I use a solid
    piece of pine for the ends (frame rest side) and plywood for the sides (I have also used pallet
    wood for the sides). When I am up to it I will make the entire box with plywood, but it takes
    a little extra effort to cut the box joints. So far they are all holding up well. Even after being
    used as swarm traps all year. They are painted so they last quite a while (some going on year 4).
    Even if they didn't last that long they are very cheap to replace. Since I only have a few
    hives this makes things very economical for me. I may eventually start using solid pine again, but
    for right now I am too poor so I make boxes with whatever I can.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    David, did you paint your advantech boxes or leave them raw?

    I painted mine, but intend to expand quite a lot this year and next, so if it stands up well sans paint I could put the paint money to good use buying other (or more) material.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    I ... About $3.50 per super for new material, and you don't have to deconstruct pallets before you start.
    Not a fair comparison considering in 5 years my 500 nucs will be in good condition, whereas you will be scrambling for something to house your frames.

    If I took the trouble to make that many nucs and then then discovered all my boxes fell apart 5 years from now I would be really mad at the person who convinced me they were a viable long term solution.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    Don, didn't know they made a corrugated fastener gun, I think that at the price of the gun I will just use titebond glue if I have to join edges together. I checked my lumber yard (not HD or Lowe's) today and they wanted just under $16 for a 1x12x16, at that price it would cost me $5.00/nuc box, not horribly bad but sure would like to get the price down more. Those pallets are looking better and better. John

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    677

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    I have used 3/4 inch plywood for nucs for some years. A good coat of Kilz, then a couple of coats of a good exterior paint plus glue and staples make it last. Slap a coat of paint on every other year, making sure to cover the end pieces. I'm on year 4 with a few of them. Crazy cheap to build.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    891

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    I use 1/2" plywood for my NUCS. I use the Dcoates 5 frame plans on this website. I do a couple things different from the plans. I cut a circular hole in the front instead of the rectangle (probably no effect on longevity), and I make a telescoping cover instead of a migratory (this probably will increase longevity). I also paint the edges with titebond II to help keep the water from getting in and swelling the plywood. Then it gets a couple of coats of paint. None of my nuc boxes built in this way have had to be replaced yet. I've been making them for probably 4 years or so. However long they have been on this website. It's hard to beat 4 nucs for 20$ or so depending on how much your plywood is, glue, paint, nails/staples.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    708

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    look at rough cut. i use pine or hemlock. you have to air dry it unless you can find some air dryed. hint : if the logs were cut in well below frezeing temperatures it dries quicker. you can plane it after it dries. i have seen some from a band saw mill where boards are good enough rough. with rough cut you need to plan ahead several months or a year. i use rabbit joints and tite bond 3 glue, exterior screws and paint from lowes oops shelf. last fall i built some 10 frame med. boxes for lees than $4 each includeing metal frame rests...i built a table saw jig for factory taper scoop style handles. i like to use a marking template to mark, then drill pilot holes in a drill press for the screws . in hemlock pilot holes are a real good idea. local for me the wood is 45 cents/b.f. in northern new england it is even less. always be carefull with all inside the box measurements. ...... i goofed up, tired late at night once and made a nuc out of a piece of number one {perfect} cherry that i was saveing, oh well.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: plywood nuc boxes

    So far I've made all of mine from solid pine. However, if I do end up with extras, I'll make some plywood ones or buy corrogated ones if I sell the bees, I don't intend to part with permanent boxes.

    Depending on how you intend to use them, solid wood is probably better. Plywood will be OK if properly protected from the weather (meaning well sealed and well painted), but inevitably will not last as long.

    Peter

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads