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Thread: beehive plans

  1. #1
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    Hi, does anybody have plans for building a beehive I mean not just the pictures but a step by step approach starting from the material list cutting guidelines upto paint and stuff.

    Or if anybody knows are these on ebay any good?
    I don't have any woodworking skills but I would like to learn. If a beehive can be built by just the basic hand tools then I would love to do it. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Try these:

    http://www.beesource.com/plans/index.htm

    You don't have to make box joints for the corners -- you don't even have to rabbit the corners.

    In my opinion, building the frames takes much more time and skill than building the hives bodies, supers, covers, bottom boards, etc.

  3. #3
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    Kieck I have looked at those plans numerous times but I guess with my level of skill those are not sufficient. I need a step by step guide. :confused:

  4. #4
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    I doubt you could buy the materials as inexpenively as you could buy the hives ready-to-assemble. I know, I know, someone will jump in with at least one story of wood for next to nothing. And beekeepers often take pride in the hives they build themselves; some beekeepers just really like woodworking, too, so it combines two interests/hobbies/skills.

    But, realistically, if you have to go down to your local lumber yard, buy the wood, probably buy at least a tool or two, and buy the hardware, you'll spend at least as much as you would simply buying the ready-to-assemble parts.

    How much skill do you have, balhanapi? What I mean is, could you measure a current hive and build a wooden box of the same dimensions, even if the corners aren't put together the same way? What about cutting the rabbet (the lower edge that support the frames) for the ends of the frame? Do you have the tools and/or skills to cut those rabbets?

    Just looking at the description of the plans on eBay, they look "simpler" than the free plans offered here on BeeSource, but they don't seem to be step-by-step.

  5. #5
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    I bought those plans.. You were right they are not step by step.. plus they don't mention how to cut the rabbet. Isthere a way to cut the rabbet with just a saw?

  6. #6
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    The homemade ones I've seen have been pretty privative and simple to make. I thought about making my own but with brand new ones available for short money from Brushy Mt. during their free shipping sale why bother. I plan ahead and when the December sale comes I stock up. Some beeks here have had their hive bodies for MANY years so even if you did spend an extra $1 or so per hive body its a great investment.
    Greg, originally from Maine

  7. #7
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    Cutting the rabbet (I assume you're talking about the rabbet for the frames) can be done with just a saw. Are you using a hand saw or a power saw for this? Will you use a table saw, or some other type of saw?

    The key will be getting the correct depth and width of the rabbet.

    When all is said and done, I still think you might be better off simply buying the pre-cut hive bodies and supers and assembling them yourself.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the input guys. my problem is that I can start keeping bees no sooner than next year so this year will be a learning curve for me. I do plan to buy most of my equipment but do wan't to play with making a box or a nuc if it's possible. You know anything to actually do with bees

    and I found out that a rabbet can be cut using a rabbet plane! (I am talking about the rabbet on the hive body)
    so my tool list would include a woodworking bench something like this , hand saw, rabbet plane eg , a drill(to pre drill holes in sides before screwing) and of course a hammer and a chisel. am I missing something here?

  9. #9
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    Smile

    you wrote
    >>so my tool list would include a woodworking bench something like this , hand saw, rabbet plane eg , a drill(to pre drill holes in sides before screwing) and of course a hammer and a chisel. am I missing something here?<<

    Actually a circular saw, a router, and a drill a set of router bits and drill bits, a square, hammer, exterior grade glue and six or eight bar clamps with openings of at least 24 inches. I don't think a rabbet plane will do the job you want without a large learning curve.

    If you can't build a hive off the plans here at beesource then you might want to think about buying. Now that's not a slam but it will be Important to build a box farely close in tollarence and square or those bees will glue it up with comb and proplois. Only you can judge your skill level.

    The wooden ware prices are not too bad but it's the shipping that will get ya. If you live within a couple of hour drive to a supplier then you could pick it up youself. I hope these ramblings have helped. Let us know what you did.
    Steve<br /><br /><a href=\"http://www.cozynestfarm.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.cozynestfarm.com</a><br /><br />All that\'s golden must be honey

  10. #10
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    Yeah, you can cut a rabbet using a rabbet plane. However, you'll find that it takes more time and effort than you might imagine.

    Just my opinion here, but power tools make projects like this much, much easier. Obviously, beehives can be built without using power tools, but power tools speed up and simplify the process.

    In my experience using some of the old "man-powered only" tools to build things, your skill level bumps up a few notches just because the skill to use the hand tools well enough makes the project more difficult.

    You could try making covers, hive stands, bottom boards, etc. I think building those would be easier for you.

  11. #11
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    On a table saw, just make the first cut on the flat and the second cut on the edge to get a rabbet with just a saw blade.

  12. #12
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    Ok what do you guys suggest for a table saw? I don't plan to buy it right away but would like to know what others are doing?
    These table saws are costly, the decent enough I could find is for $400! something like this
    any suggestions? pleas bear with my stupid questions I am trying to learn

  13. #13
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    Go down to your local hardware stores, and look at the table saws. For what you have in mind, you could get by with a table saw that costs far less than $400.

    Have you considered buying unassembled woodenware and assembling it yourself? That would give you some "building" to do, and you will gain some experience seeing how hives are put together before you try cutting pieces yourself.

    Out of curiosity, why can't you get bees this year (2007)?

  14. #14
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    Because I live in an apartment right now :mad: It won't be before next year that we can move into a house.. I am stuck..
    Last edited by balhanapi; 03-07-2007 at 04:26 PM.

  15. #15
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    Have you tried finding a place to keep bees without having them on your own property?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by balhanapi View Post
    Because I live in an apartment right now :mad: It won't be before next year that we can move into a house.. I am stuck..
    It sounds like you and I are in similar situations. I am in graduate school and live in a condo. There is no way I can have hives at my house. I posted to a listserv that our local beekeepers assoc. (http://www.theocba.org/) Within about a day I had 4 separate offers for places I could keep my bees. Most were within 8-15 miles from my place. My two packages are on order and I will pick them up on April 21st.

    I have actually done a reasonable bit of wood working, but lost my access to a table saw when I moved out of my parents home long ago. I have been wanting a to add a table saw to my tool collection for years now, and now my wife approved it. Since I don't have much room (the condo strikes again), I am getting a portable. Of the ones I have seen and can afford, I think I will get a Ryobi BTS20R (It's $209 at Home Depot here) Its not a "professional" grade one, but I think it will fill my needs right now. It got some favorable reviews for saws in its class. On top of that, it will fit in my closet (folds up to be about 15" thick)

    As for what to build, I decided to make a top-bar hive. I think frames would be the worst part to build, so the top-bar hive avoids that. I also get to plan the whole thing and make it unique!
    Last edited by kawayanan; 03-07-2007 at 07:22 PM.

  17. #17
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    Kieck, No I haven't thought of keeping bees on someone else's property,- for no particular reason. looks like a neat idea of course.
    Well I am going to our local beekeeping meeting on Saturday, lets see what the future holds.. May be I find someone close by..

    Thanks Kawayanan for the encouragement and good luck for this year!

    I found this at home depot. I went today to have a look. this one looks great. I added it to my wish list for next year

    Edit :- lowes also had a decent one for $159 Firestorm
    Last edited by balhanapi; 03-07-2007 at 10:54 PM. Reason: additional info

  18. #18
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    Wink You get what ya pay for...

    Balhanapi,

    There's a couple of things I do know something about, and one of them is woodworking.

    First of all, as it was mentioned, the boxes must be made to tolerances that can be a little bedeviling if you are not meticulous in your measureing and cutting. Your selection of tools can be a determining factor as to how easily you can obtain the needed accuracy.

    For instance, using 3/4 inch plywood, I can make two deep boxes per day using a tape measure, circular saw, speed square, router w/ a 3/4 inch straight side bit, a t-square, a couple of clamps, and a thin point sharpie pen. These boxes will be square and built to the dimensions needed.

    On the other hand, again using 3/4" plywood, I can build 12 to 14 deeps in a morning, using a tape measure, panel saw, table saw with a multi chipper dado blade, and a sharpie pen.

    As it so happens I built six deeps, one 7 5/8th inch medium, and a 2" spacer for queen cell stuff, this morning. I also painted them with two coats of Kilz primer. But, I went and looked at Mann Lake Ltd., and am considering ordering boxes for this spring. The reason being as follows: Time and cost. You can get precut boxes for about twice what it would cost you in materials (Excluding tools). If you factor in initial tooling costs and such, you would have to make a lot of boxes to break even. Furthermore the actual time spent prepping materials is longer than the assembly time.

    Now if you have the time and can scrounge the materials, then it might be profitable, in so far as you can aquire a good tool set-up that will serve many other useful purposes.

    Contractors table saws to look at: Hitachi and Dewalt, maybe Ryobi

    Forget the rabbet plane... for now. Get a router and save the purchase of the plane untill you are making furniture and can get a Lie Nielsen bronze body with an A-2 blade. (As I drool wishing I could get one...)

    Don't forget that you can use different methodologies to arrive at the same place. Consider Top-Bar Hives.

    See: http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

    Anyway let me know if you got any other questions on equipment choices. Oh and if you need exact dimensions I can help you with that too. Deciphering plans is part of my job description.


    Albert
    September 8th 2007 is National Beekeeping Day
    American Agriculture, its as close as the nearest Honeybee!

  19. #19
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    Thanks Albert for the insight. I know I'l go with buying unassembled equipment, but I also know that at some point i'l go get my tools too! I think it would feel ecstatic to make your own beehives- the way you wan't them to be. My point is to enjoy the bees to the full.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by balhanapi View Post
    Kieck, No I haven't thought of keeping bees on someone else's property,- for no particular reason. looks like a neat idea of course.
    Well I am going to our local beekeeping meeting on Saturday, lets see what the future holds.. May be I find someone close by..

    Thanks Kawayanan for the encouragement and good luck for this year!

    I found this at home depot. I went today to have a look. this one looks great. I added it to my wish list for next year

    Edit :- lowes also had a decent one for $159 Firestorm
    Have fun at the meeting. So far every beekeeper I have met has been very nice. I am sure I will meet one some day that isn't, but I think as a group they're better than the average.

    When it comes to tools, the old saying "You get what you pay for." is usually true. I couldn't see the Home Depot link you provided (I think the Home Depot website might do something that makes links not work). There are table saws out there for under $100, but "You get what you pay for." Before I would even consider one, I would want to see it and feel it. Some feel flimsy and "loose". For example, to me at least, a comparably priced Ryobi and Hitachi feel much different. For me it may also be worth going up in price for one that felt better built. If I had the money, the $500 range contractor or job-site saws are definitely better (Bosch seems to be a winner, I just can't afford it ). I would just be careful about the cheapest models, you might do better moving up a little at least.

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