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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Rockland co, ny
    Posts
    38

    Default ?s before buying equip.

    I'm new and have read so much. Sometimes to much info makes a more difficult decision. I like things as natural as possible but don't want to make thing more difficult for me. Can't figure out what frames and more importantly foundation to go with. I like the idea of all wax but sounds more complicated and less durable than wax coated plastic. Next one book I read recommended a slatted rack, anyone use or experiment with and see a difference. Last ( for now ) I think I'm going with cypress hives, can I stain or preserve the exterior with out solid paint. Something that will not harm bees but keep the natural wood look. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    I made all of my woodenware, so I can't comment on the material choice. I used regular pine whiteboard for msot and cedar for a couple of boxes just the see how they hold up. On the two set-ups i plan o use for my nucs, i painted them white. My swarp traps i have coated in a clear spar urethane. a lot of folks seem to think that the clear will not be as durable, and they make good arguments to that effect. I do find the clear finish more easthetically pleasing and at my small scale, i don;t mind the extra work refinishing if required.

    I elected to go plastic foundation for durability, , but I am also going to mix in some foudnationless frames and see how well they do. My hunch is that I will eventually be all foundationless on my honey supers, but time will tell on that. I like the idea of foundationless so I COULD do cut comb honey as a novelty gift for family and friends, but I'll likely be extracting nearly all of my honey. Foundationless gives me the option of doing either without any planning involved. I will be reinforcing the foundaionless frames with monofilament fishing line. I have no aversion to using the stainless steel wire, but i have miles, literally miles, of monofilament that i will never use as I've converted nearly all of my fishing gear to super lines.


    I have no input on the slatted rack, but i look forward to seeing responses about it.

    FWIW, I made all of my boxes and frames using nothing more than a table saw and a skill saw for making the hand holds. My hand-me-down router table is so beat up that it is essentially worthless, so i made all of my rabbet joints using the table saw and the ripping fence. I cobbled a jig and made one body with box joints, but it was much more labor intensive, and I don't think it will be necessary to have the additional strength. As a small time hobbyist, i will not be moving my hives around much, so they should be plenty solid enough with glue and 1/4 crown staples holding them together.

    take all of this with a grain of salt...i don't have any bees yet, so my input is based strictly on word of mouth recommendations, reading, and videos.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    Try some of both plastic and hooked wire wax. I would recommend black plastic for a new person. The bee's will draw out the wax faster but they work plastic with a good wax coating fast enough. For frames buy all wedge top bar as they will work on both hooked wire and plastic. As for hive body finish stain if you want. The bee's wont care. I have played around with slatted racks and have not seen much if any difference. I have a stack in the barn that I would love to sell

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Rockland co, ny
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    I thought about building the boxes but the savings do not seem to be significant . Don't know if it's worth the time for me .

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    Make sure you end up doing some sort of protection for the cypress. I left mine bare, and several boxes are in very bad shape (and one ruined) after just one year.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    making gear certainly isn't for everyone. I looked at the cost of buying 4 deeps, 4 mediums, the 80 frames, and the covers and it was a bit over $300. I bought all of the lumber, paneling and sheetmetal for under $100 and probably have 30 hours or so into making them. I had the paint, glue, staples, brads...etc on hand already. I really enjoy working on projects though, so for me the time investment is free. If i don't have proejcts to work on, I get anxious and start inventing projects that NEED to be done. This filled that void for me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Rockland co, ny
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    I will defiantly put something on them. I would like stain , I was just worried about the smell bothering the bees. I know it's only on the outside but it's a stronger smell than pain and does not dissipate as fast

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sweetwater,TN
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    I run all my colonies except my nucs on slatted racks. I originally made them with solid bottoms but I now put a screen bottom in them. I experimented with them for about a year or so b4 I switched all mine over. The things I like about a slatted rack are the bees will draw comb all the way down to the bottom of the frames which they won't do a lot of times with a screened bottom, I have also noticed that my bees don't beard in the summer like they did in the past. They are time consuming to make unless you can make a lot at one time. I cut out 50 at one time and sold a few. There are a few places that sell them I think brushy mntn is one but you still have to have a bottom board under them which makes them very expensive, mine have the rack, bottom board and 4 12 inch (2x4) legs so they don't have to be put on blocks or anything else because they are also my hive stand.
    Major

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    I have built 100s of deeps and mediums. At the price of 1X material I only do it if I get free wood. I do build all my migratory tops, all season vent tops, feeders and pallets. I use 4 ways. Frames are cheap and I dont like to get my fingers that close to a saw to save 70cents.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Rockland co, ny
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    I am a good woodworker with no bee experience. I worry about bee space and dimensions. Maybe buy one and use it for presice measurements .

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    I thought I'd do the same thing, but we're dealing with bees here. They live in dead trees, walls of houses...etc. I figure close enough is close enough. My frames aren't 100% square, but I think they'll be fine, but i have no idea so far without any bees to let me know what they think. The interior dimensions are important if you want to use standard size frames for easy compatability with other folks down the road. The ideal spacing for parts is 3/8," or so i have read. This seems to be the consensus.

    I did a lot of my stuff similar to this guy's videos. He uses routers a fair bit, but you can do this with a table saw as well. He does a good job of stating dimensions. the end result is the same as otehr standard plans i have seen.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Carpfish29/videos

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    Bee space is between 1/4" and 3/8", anything smaller they will fill with propolis and anything bigger with wax. I run two slatted racks and like them, the queen lays in more of the lower box and there is less bearding in the summer.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Rockland co, ny
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    Thanks for the replies , I'm watching the video from above now and I may reconsider. I also think I will try the slatted rack. Wish I would get some more feedback about foundation though.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,191

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    If you are thinking of building hive equipment, and need dimensions, there are plans for just about everything here:

    http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    somethign else you may consider is the book "building beehives for dummies." It too has specs for all of the hive components as well as CAD drawings of them. i purchased a copy, but i already have all of my hive stuff made. I figured it might be ncie if I decide to build a Warre, or a kenyan tob bar hive. Ultimately, i doubt it will see much use, but if you're looking for plans, it has them...of course google ahs them all too

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    It is very subjective. I run only crimped wire wax or foundationless with the exception of 20 frames of Honey Super Cell for regression. I do not nor have I ever liked plastic and I have had cross wired wax last for years with no problems!! The plastic stuff is much easier especially if you use the foundation/frame all-in-one stuff, no cross wiring or installing foundation but those are things I don't mind doing.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    I have slatted racks on all my hives and nucs, my bees still beard but I live in the south it does get hot.

    This is what a Cypress hive looks like when it is stained and then finished with polly.
    bph 5.jpg
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Rockland co, ny
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    That looks awsome, and now I'm considering building them out of pine. Gotta think about this

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    Hmm, have you decided on going with 8-frame or 10-frame equipment? ...mixture of deeps and mediums??? Just thought I'd open that can of worms up for you.

    NasalSponge mentioned the specs for beespace. There is really no "close enough" in regards to it. You are within in the range of beespace or you are out of the range...if you are out of the range then the bees will adjust things "accordingly". Beespace was Langstroth's discovery that revolutionized beekeeping and has been used since the mid-1850's. It has been a constant in Langstroth hive systems ever since...and is about what Langstroth is remembered mostly. Beespace is found in natural hives (trees, walls, any comb structure) and is used in artificial hive systems besides in Langstroths. Leaving a frame crooked in a super creating a space larger than beespace and the next time you check the hive you will see how efficiently the bees fill that space with bridge comb, double comb, etc.,. You can see the example of too small of a space each time you start prying up frames that are glued down (nothing really a lot you can do about the frames, though, but it makes a good example for too small of a space ). I've found that *sometimes* you can get by with gambling on beespace but most of the time the ladies will call your hand on it.

    You could buy the equipment for a hive and copy that but be aware that even commercially cut equipment may have a bit of error in it's dimensions...I've noted that in my first two years of beekeeping. Since you appear to be a skilled woodworker I would get the precise, standard dimensions of Langstroth hive equipment and go with that...paying careful attention to beespace. Each box and it's frames work in conjunction with the box and frames below or above it to insure that beespace is respected.

    Building boxes...the Achilles heel is at the corner joints where end grain is exposed. Water will soak into this quickly. Rabbet, box, and butt joints are the three most regularly used joints. Some people use screws, some people use nails, some people use staples. Rabbet joints leave the least end grain exposed. All three joints are widely used, though, with folks swearing by each one. The trick is to do a very good job of sealing the grain. I paint my rabbet jointed cypress boxes with exterior latex. When putting them together I will apply a very liberal amount of TITEBOND III (there are 3 versions of Titebond) to the joint before nailing them together. The excess glue that squeezes out of the joint is "painted" onto the end grain of the wood with my finger...this really helps sealing the wood. I later paint the boxes with the exterior latex. You probably wouldn't want to do this with a clear finish, though, as the glue would show. Where are you going to put your hives?....will they be a showpiece for you garden or will they be outback and out of sight? I like utilitarian over looks...but that is me and my hives are out back a bit, too.

    When you paint or stain your boxes position them upside down so that all that exposed grain of the handholds will be turned up and you can get lots of paint/stain into them.

    Frames...if you decided to go with plastic frames then naturally you would buy them...I don't use them down here in the south because I think there is many places for small hive beetles to hide in them. Beetles aren't as bet up where you're at. If you go with wooden frames *I* would buy them, too...tedious work it looks like to build them from scratch. You can buy medium frames for down around 75-cents each in 100-lots (maybe less?). I use wedge top bar frames...I can put foundation in them or turn the wedge sideways and glue/nail it in for foundationless frames.

    Foundation...I use mostly unwired small cell Kelleys foundation. I started out with unwired foundation because I figured I might want to cut queen cells out for nucs or something and it's easier to cut out of unwired foundation...at least that's the only reason I can think of right now...it was probably just a newbee move. I've also tried a little foundationless but I haven't jumped all the way into that, yet. My mentor uses regular cell wired with no-ears (with wedge top frames). The reason he gives for using the "no-ears" is that sometimes the ears are bent exactly at the right angle and will cause the foundation to bow out on one side at the top of the frame rather than hanging down straight. We both wire our frames horizontally to support the comb...two wires in a medium frame. With wax foundation an electric embedder works good...I use an old trickle charger for batteries...attach each lead to the end of the frame wire, the frame wire heats up melting the wax and embedding the wire into it...a little practice and you're good to go. There are also embedding wheels that are used for "cold" embedding...I haven't had any experience with those.

    Oh well, that was just some newbee thoughts...maybe something in there helped.

    Best wishes!!!!!
    Ed

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,191

    Default Re: ?s before buying equip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttankofish1 View Post
    I worry about bee space and dimensions.
    You can get complete plans and dimensions for virtually all hive woodenware at the Build It Yourself section of Beesource:
    http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

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