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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Seneca Falls, NY
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    If you want use scrap wood and you dont want to cut box joints you can buy brackets from Echo Bee Box (just google their web site) The Jig I recommended, and later Carl posted about, is a very good system, and will save a lot of headach if you decide to go with box joints... They look easy but they are a real pain if you dont use a jig...

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,582

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Depending on whether or not you count the cost of a dado blade, my jib cost either less than a dollar or about $120 (two different dado sets to get one I liked).

    You need a board, a slide for the table saw drilled to screw a board to (they all are) and some scrap to cut a locating finger with, and a c-clamp. Takes maybe 20 minutes if you can already operate a table saw, it's not hard.

    Peter

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,947

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    I am with psfred on this one. Box joints are not difficult to make, if you can operate a table saw.

    There are several good videos on uTube that explain how to make box joints. Make a sled and it is easy.

    cchoganjr

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,189

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleo C. Hogan Jr View Post
    I am with psfred on this one. Box joints are not difficult to make, if you can operate a table saw.

    There are several good videos on uTube that explain how to make box joints. Make a sled and it is easy.

    cchoganjr

    I just don't have the room for an extra table saw and don't want to hassle with switching back and fort between dado a regular blades

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,947

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Harley Craig... That being the case, then go with rabbet joints. Don't have to change blades and is as strong as you will ever need.

    cchoganjr

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,189

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    I may try some with Rabit Joints, but my box joints with deck screws and gorilla glue seem to be holding up well, caught my 6 yr old daughter jumping off one that she turned on it's side I had made up ready to go when I need it , she got a butt chewing and then I check it to see if it was damaged and it was still completly square, who knows how long she had been doing it

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Making beehive components is a matter of safety, scale, and efficiency.

    The type of joint that is used is personal preference but the preference of business customers is often mediated by the standards set by the large manufacturers. Some of the early posts in this thread were links to machines (some probably worth $500,000 or more) that could remotely make box joints in seconds – in thousands of boards a day. Someone who has lots of time (relatively free) and is less interested in a profit margin can have a system that might produce a dozen boxes a day or season. Entrepreneurial beekeepers (now starting regional beekeeping supply businesses) need options to match the scale of their enterprises – be it 100 or 1000 boxes a year. The cost of making any joint is way beyond the cost of a jig and cutting tool. Look around your shop. You need a variety of power machines, dust collecting devices, building, electrical service, handtools, etc.

    Carl Korschgen
    Last edited by carlinmo; 04-30-2013 at 08:41 AM.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,947

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Harley Craig. My apologies, I must have misread your post above.

    If you are making box joints with deck screws and gorilla glue, you will not have a problem. I really doubt that your daughter will do any harm to them the way you are making them.

    psfred... What dado set did you go with? I have three sets, and I like the Oshlun the best, but, I have never had the Freud, and people really give them a thumbs up.

    carlimo...you are exactly right. Making bee equipment for yourself from salvage or scrap wood and cheap table saws and dado sets is a whole different ball game than making bee equipment to industry standards on a scale to make it profitable, and with perfection that will insure repeat sales of your products.

    cchoganjr
    Last edited by Cleo C. Hogan Jr; 04-30-2013 at 08:42 AM.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,582

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Cleo:

    My table saw prefers the Oshlun (or a clone) with two chipper teeth on each chipper. It chokes on better blades, not enough power. Probably need to save up my pennies and get a better motor and direct wire it, too much power drop with a cord, even a good one.

    Harley:

    I change blades all the time on my saw, I use a rip blade for rips, a combination blade for rips in thin material or plywood, and a good crosscut blade for crosscuts, especially in hardwood. I also cut a wide variety of dados for various purposes, changing blades on a table saw is just part of using one.

    When I'm making boxes, I tend to collect up wood, cut all the sides to length and width, then set up the box jointjig, get everything aligned perfectly, and cut half a dozen boxes or more at one time. All the boxes use the same jig, just more passes for the deeper boxes. That way, once I get it right, all the boxes work out properly. I've got mine set now so that I have to tap the boxes together so there are no spaces between the fingers at all. Just a tiny bit of glue and they are completely sealed. Once they are assembled, I coat them with a generous coat of boiled linseed oil, then alkyd primer, then two or more coats latex exterior paint.

    Peter

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,965

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Since the OP was asking how to cut finger joints I find the reply welcome, tastefully stated, and completely acceptable.

    I used to send Barry periodic donations to help keep BeeSource going. I'm not aware that he still asks for them instead relying on the ads (some of which I do find annoying and not relevant)
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pitman, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    As a cabinet maker, I can assure everyone that box joints and dovetails are much stronger that rabbeted butt joints. However, with modern glue and fasteners, they are pretty much useless. If your boxes are assembled with a good quality waterproof wood glue like Titebond3, fastened properly and kept painted, the butt joints won't fail for a good long time. That being said, I build mine with box joints because I have the jig and blade already set up.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,089

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Roland has the right idea. Finger Box Joints retain strength after years of outdoor weather exposure. They are not a waste of time - they can be made VERY quickly if you are a production-minded carpenter. Modern glues have not made them obsolete, they have made them even better. I think butt joints are a waste of time. How often do you want to have to build more boxes, every two years? That's all some of them last, and they usually break up when you have your veil off and your meanest colony in that butt-jointed ghetto box. Might as well just buy the cardboard nucs. (A rabbet joint with a biscuit works fair, not great, but takes almost as much time as a FBJ, so why bother?)

    On building a sled - make it big and make it tall, and build it such that YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY CUT YOUR HAND! (=build a tunnel that covers the blade on the outpass side) Make it with two runners fitting into BOTH slots in your table saw. I like to cut the notches on the short end side, then trace them onto the long sides. My zero-gap dado plate has lines extending forward from the edges of the cut. The mating side can be "Englished" - leaned over the peg a little bit so that the interlocking fingers line up exactly.

    I clamp 8 workpieces onto the sled and cut one slot through all 8 at one time. 4 clamps go onto the workpieces only, so moving them on the peg is easy - just do it cautiously to keep their alignment. Two bar clamps hold the block of 8 workpieces onto the sled. I do spend a few extra seconds making sure they are lined up square with my framing square before making the pass.

    Another tip - make the sides of the boxes 1/16" too long. Cut the notches 1/32" too deep. The boxes end up standard size, with the fingers protruding out 1/32". Belt sand these protrusions down level. Your box will look MUCH nicer, and people will think that you are one excellent carpenter, all because you left 1/32" to sand off after gluing and stapling. Your boxes will also last even longer. (Overall size of blanks for short end is 16 5/16" long x 9 11/16" deep if you're making deeps, long sides are 19 15/16" long x 9 11/16" deep. Notches are 25/32" deep.)

    A final tip - dip your assembled, glued, stapled, and sanded boxes in 50% Boiled linseed Oil with 50% Mineral Spirits for 3 to 5 minutes. Let them dry for 2 or 3 weeks, then paint them with KILZ II or other good primer and exterior laytex paint. My mentor has some boxes that he did this to in 1973 and they are still in use! Not too bad for wear, either.

    I considered using rabbet joints for mating boxes because they are only out for 1 month a year, and usually in good weather. Now, I just cut vertical slots for 1/4" plywood hive partitions down the insides of the short ends of my boxes and use standard frames for open mating, and eliminated the need for mating boxes altogether.

    I'm also cutting all my boxes down to the 6 5/8" Illinois medium depth and using 6 1/4" deep frames. 50 lbs is so much easier on my shoulders than 90 lbs! (It does require 3 medium boxes to equal the honeycomb "real estate" in 2 deeps, and thus costs me 10 more frames, but it's worth the time, effort and money. I don't get all sweaty inside my bee suit handling mediums like I do lugging those d@mn deeps, and I enjoy the job so much more.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 05-19-2013 at 01:48 AM.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    portland, dorset, UK
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolande View Post
    I find, amongst the oldest of my boxes -and some are old the ones which have endured time the best are those with simple butt-joints; still very solid. They're followed by the finger-joint boxes. The least successful always appear to me to be the ones with rebated (rabbet) joints......

    .....Just my thoughts based on observation of old boxes of the three kinds that have been in constant use, side by side, over a period of decades. When I build new boxes now, they get butt-joints.
    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    ...That's all some of them last, and they usually break up when you have your veil off and your meanest colony in that butt-jointed ghetto box. Might as well just buy the cardboard nucs....

    lol.

    Each to there own, but...

    My time's far too valuable for me to waste it building boxes which are going to collapse after a couple of years/are no better than cardboard.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,089

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Type of wood probably has a lot to do with it, as does moisture. Some of the ghost towns out in the desert, while dilapidated, still have wood that holds together, but some have very little water damage. Years ago, beekeepers would treat the boxes with creosote, tar, trichloroethane, trichlorobenzine, other preservatives not often used today.

    I saw one bee box washed up on the beach after a storm probably washed it down the river. It was made of white pine treated with cresote, butt joints joined with oak dowels. It was still held together, though not in great shape. It certainly was not strong, and I doubt bees would stay in it. I could make out the brand belonging to a beekeeper who died in 1979.

    My buddy still has some of his finger-joint boxes from 1973. He treated them with linseed oil. They still have plenty of weight and hardly any cracks. They are in excellent shape, and still very strong. He thinks that the end-grain exposed is the long-term weakness, and that soaking it in oil is a good remedy. So far, it appears he's right. I notice that the finish on the exposed end-grain has a lot to do with the early weather attack. Rough-sawn end grain gets weathered rather quickly, finish sanded lasts a little better.

    The nucs I saw that fell apart on their second year were made of what appeared to be cottonwood, not treated, not glued, and nailed together. They turned crunchy around the nail holes, retaining very little strength.

    Seems that you get out of it what you put in to it. I agree about use of time. The same goes for use of wood - it ain't getting any cheaper!

    I made a dunking tank for my hive boxes. I had the air conditioning shop make me up some sheet metal for the insides. They soldered it all up, but I still had to seal some of it with silicone glue. I mixed 50% linseed oil and 50% mineral spirits, and dunked the hives inside for 5 minutes. Some of the hives I made last year were never painted, sat out in the desert all year, and still look brand new. I got a feeling that dunk tank and linseed oil was time, effort, and money well-spent. Same feeling about my branding iron.

    One more joint that needs to be thoroughly tested is a 90 degree lockmitre joint, which is quick to make, strong, has lots of glue area, and leaves almost zero end grain-exposed. You can glue it, dowel it, nail it, staple it, or screw it together. The only difficulty is getting the lengths exactly right when routing both sides. To that end, I just might make up a molding plane that shape, build the sides oversize, and plane them to finished length. I'll be making up some boxes with these joints soon.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 05-20-2013 at 12:04 PM.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pitman, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    For some of us, this is all possible. I considered using dove tails on mine because I like the way they look, and I'm already set up for it. I also could be making these boxes out of cherry or mahogany if I wanted to, but for alot of people, these custom joints and like the lock miter aren't really an option. The rabbet is better than a butt joint in that it gives more surface area to glue, and leaves less end grain exposed. The advantage of the finger joints is that it gives even more glue surface, and it can also hold the boards together if they check. For everyone who isn't set up for making these types of joints, I can assure you that a good glue and mechanical fasteners will hold your boxes together just fine.
    I like the Linseed oil finish. Thompsons water seal used to make a finish with linseed oil, but now it's just denatured alcohol and paraffin. For my money though, an exterior paint will go a long way. The advantage of paint is that pretty much any exterior paint will have a UV inhibitor which the linseed oil finish lacks. Moisture is definitely the most destructive element on a box, but don't overlook sunlight. It does nasty things.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,089

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Anybody notice boxes with cleat handles rotting before boxes without cleat handles? I'm talking about old boxes, on the verge of rotting. I'm noticing accelerated rot in 5-year old unprainted boxes around the cleats, despite having glued with TitebondIII and screws mounted from the inside. I'm getting the idea that smile handles could last longer. Comments?

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pitman, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    no doubt in my mind that the carved handles will last longer. Screws can fail, glues can fail. Thats two weak points that aren't present on a carved handle. You are exposing alot of grain and they should definitely be sealed up, but in my opinion it's the best option. My next project is going to be to set up a jig to carve the handles. I've got an old rockwell circular saw from the 60's that I've been hanging on to that should do just right. My first boxes got some fancy custom handles made from mahogany that were glued and screwed on, then the screws were plugged. They were cut to shed water, and are super comfortable to lift. I'm curious to see how they hold up. I'm not at all worried about the mahogany, they'll far outlast the boxes.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,054

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    Anybody notice boxes with cleat handles rotting before boxes without cleat handles? I'm talking about old boxes, on the verge of rotting. I'm noticing accelerated rot in 5-year old unprainted boxes around the cleats, despite having glued with TitebondIII and screws mounted from the inside. I'm getting the idea that smile handles could last longer. Comments?
    Sloped cleats seem to avoid the rot behind the cleat problem. I have them 30+ years old no rot beind the cleats. My friend with level cleat tops has rot and no longer glues.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    799

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    Quote Originally Posted by rnsykes View Post
    My next project is going to be to set up a jig to carve the handles.
    I made one this past weekend for one of my table saws and it works really well. I saw a jig on youtube to cut bee box handles and made it similar to that one.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pitman, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Hive Box Manufacture

    hadn't even thought about doing it on a table saw. have an pictures, or a link to the youtube video?

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