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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    596

    Default plywood for hive bodies ?

    ive heard mixed views about using plywood to make hive bodies and supers. can anyone give me the real answer of whether or not to use plywood instead of solid boards ? and why/why not ?
    the cost of lumber is getting out of hand and being a new beek... its kind of scary hahaha.
    where does everyone find the best prices for lumber ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    centerville, IA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    I may be e new to beekeeping but know a little about woodworking and from my experience the plywood would be great for a short term solution,warpage, delaminating, all the other troubles with plywood but for a year or two + should not bee a problem, solid wood should last for 10-20yrs if kept painted. plywood 2-5 max I would think. If you are building for yourself then might want to look at the long term investment, I.E. do I want to remake these boxes in couple years? Unless you can get plywood free from someplace then may be worth it?

    just my two cents
    Rick Kumer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    572

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    Plywood is glued together with all kinds of crap that would pollute the natural essence of the hive. Just use real wood.

    As far as lumber goes, look for a local mill or wait until prices drop in the spring. When building season starts, the lumber prices will drop unless there is some disaster or shortage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    The two primary materials used all across Europe for hives is Plywood and Polystyrene. There are a lot of Naysayers in regards to plywood, but most of their claims are completely unfounded. If treated correctly plywood has the same and sometimes better longevity as conventional pine construction. I would not recommend you use chip boards though except for Advantec specifically.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Martin, Tn
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    I've built a few D.Coates nucs out of 1/2" plywood and a couple out of 3/4" and of course ive had solid wood hives. Solid wood is proven and will last for years if kept painted even longer if its hot dipped. So far, the 3/4" plywood is holding up pretty well, the 1/2" is looking a little rough. I build the nucs dec of 2011 so they are just over a year old. A tip for the nucs is to paint all the exposed ends with Titebond III. I'll say it does make a difference but its kind of messy and tedious to do. jdmidwest makes a good point about finding a local sawmill. today I priced some 1" roughcut lumber for building more nucs and it was actually cheaper than using 1/2" plywood. If you want to keep bees for more than a few years, my opionion would be to get the solid stuff, take care of it, and it will last a lifetime.
    Jason Young

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    Care should be taken when buying locally sawn rough cut lumber. If it isn't kiln dried plan on spending a year or more properly air drying it before using it to build wooden ware. If not properly dried you will end up building boxes that will shrink and be useless in the very near future. When I had my mill I had a solar kiln and still had some issues with boxes shrinking and frames no longer fitting. The other issue in some woods are very unstable when drying out and will twist your joints apart.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    We have done well witt the 300 or so plywood boxes we built over the last 4 or 5 years. We stain as opposed to paint and it reduces paiting for us greately (and looks nice too). I have Plywood boxes from 20 years ago still in the field. My complaints would include the routering for the frame rests /handles really strains the routher at times as routering plywood can send gazillions of sharp little glue and wood spears flying as well as occaisionally having to stop and clear the bit and we also find driving a hive staple into plywood for attaching bottom boards is usually a bear. This year we are buying commercial stock again due to time but I will likely build more once June arrives and the some of the early season dust clears.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,390

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    If you want, build the hives out of plywood and each year if you make a little money, put that money into solid boxes and use the plywood ones to build up hives or use them as swarm traps. I made a few coates nucs in the summer of 2011, painted them and they still look good today!! Recently I have made 6 nucs out of cedar, its about the cheapest wood I can find here. A sheet of 3/8" plywood is about $22 here, even chip board is $15 a sheet!! Eight foot / 5/8" thick cedar planks are $7.40 and I can get 6 nucs out of four planks, and it smells better than plywood when working with it!! I don't have a big wood working shop, just a small table saw and cordless equipment, so easier to handle planks than a sheet of plywood!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    We have lots of supers made from 3/4 fir plywood.It is painted and last for years. Lap joints, glued and deck screws holds them together.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Navarro county, Texas, USA
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    If you are going to use a engineered wood product, i have heard GREAT reviews about the advantech, its pretty much indestructable from what ive read, half the people out there dont even paint their hives. (Thats a HUGE plus to me). Check into it
    "If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking."
    - General George Patton

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,030

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    I've made several nucs out of plywood which work great. I've also seen a lot of unmanaged colonies in plywood doing removals and they seem just fine for years.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    Last year I found that I could purchase un-assembled boxes from Mann Lake for less than Pine boards at Lowes or Home Depot. Mann Lake ships free when the order is over $100. I spent my time in the shop in assemly and painting.

    Charlie zone 5 12 hives

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    596

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    ohhhh mannlake mannlake. i believe thats the same company whose stuff i ordered arrived yesterday. not impressed with how they scattered my foundation all over the inside of the box. im figuring half of my foundation i ordered is a total loss. im pretty sure we wont be using them again....what a let down

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    centerville, IA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    Quote Originally Posted by tommysnare View Post
    ohhhh mannlake mannlake. i believe thats the same company whose stuff i ordered arrived yesterday. not impressed with how they scattered my foundation all over the inside of the box. im figuring half of my foundation i ordered is a total loss. im pretty sure we wont be using them again....what a let down
    I have a feeling that if contacted and informed about the "mess" the would more then make it up to you at least that was my experience.
    Rick Kumer

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    596

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    no response as of yet. im sure they will....im just blowin off some steam because it was real drag.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Clark county, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    220

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    Quote Originally Posted by weldingfreak6010 View Post
    I have a feeling that if contacted and informed about the "mess" the would more then make it up to you at least that was my experience.
    I can second that. I recently received a order from them. They had miscounted and sent one too many cases of medium frames and one case short on the deeps. When I called and told them the mistake the first words out of their mouth was, " Well you keep those extras and use them when you need them and we will get a case of the correct size out immediately." Two days later the replacement case was here.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    Quote Originally Posted by tommysnare View Post
    ohhhh mannlake mannlake. i believe thats the same company whose stuff i ordered arrived yesterday. not impressed with how they scattered my foundation all over the inside of the box. im figuring half of my foundation i ordered is a total loss. im pretty sure we wont be using them again....what a let down
    If you are not happy with your Mann Lake experience you probably should not order any bee stuff from anybody else.... Because you will be real unhappy. In my 25 years with bees Mann lake has proven to be about the best in customer service. I have ordered from everybody of notoriety in both the USA and CA and Mann Lake is the top of the heap.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    lenoir N.C.
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    Is advantech bee safe? Man that stuff is great!! It want rot it want warp and it is water proof. I never thought about making hives out of it. It may be the way to go if it don't hurt the bees. Its not real cheap but a few coats of paint they would last forever.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    233

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    [QUOTE=Edward Greene;901010]Is advantech bee safe?

    We live in houses made from it, so the more important question might be "is it people safe?".

    I personally wouldn't worry about it much. I'd just use it if I wanted to.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    596

    Default Re: plywood for hive bodies ?

    im ovr the Mannlake situation. when they were mentioned...i had literally (within the hour of reading it) had opened up that order. hahaha soo u can imagine my 'homer simpson' like impulse to blurt out. "DOH"

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