Wanting to expand, the need to build my own equipment became evident.
I went down to the local Pawn Shop, and aquired a commercial 10" table saw, air Brad nailer, Router, Two Air Staplers(for different staple lengths), and a finish nailer. I also picked up an array of pipe and screw clamps, all at a fraction of their retail cost.
I picked all of this up for less than the price of the table saw, if I had purchased it new.
The pleasure that I get from making my own equipment is imeasureable.
I have built Nuc's, Brood Boxes, Supers , Bottom Boards, and tops.
Yeah, I do,,,,,but I ain't much good at it, but I do enjoy it. My wife took all my power tools away from me because I was "butchering" the wood too fast
Seems it took two boards to get one. First one I learned what I was doing wrong, second one was the one that should fit.(notice I said should,,didn't always happen) Fortunately, I had access to an old baton board cabin for free wood source for most of the work. Too bad I don't heat with wood cause I have alot of scrap. I have an occasional fire in the back yard so I get to enjoy the wood that way as well.
I have some pretty ugly hives that paint won't help so I keep them in the woods out of public view. I figure as long as I don't violate bee space, it's o.k. The bees haven't left yet
I get a ton of joy from making my own woodenware, and I have built about everything except frames. It seems the most important thing, after getting your equipment, is finding a cheap source of wood. I visit job sites and get permission to raid their burn piles. I have also used a lot of "cull" lumber from the big box stores.
If shipping was not so expensive, I could buy some stuff about as cheap as I can make it. But with free or cheap lumber, and not figuring anything for my time, I have been able to add considerably to my equipment and expand my hobby. For a closet woodworker, it really enhances the beekeeping experience.
I started building all my own woodenware except frames this year, as I am expanding in a big way over the next couple years. I get no.2 pine boards(very nice no.2) at a local family owned lumber yard much cheaper than the big stores. I can build anything for about 1/3 or less than any of the bee supply companies charge. I use rabbet joints instead of box joints, and use good galvanized spiral shank nails with plenty of Titebond 3 glue. The only thing I don't make is the aluminum tops for the outer covers. I buy a large coil of aluminum (2 ft.x 50ft.) and take it to a local sheet metal fabricator, and he bends them up to fit perfectly at a reasonable cost.
It's a good feeling to step back and look at stacks and stacks of freshly painted parts and know that you did it yourself and saved a ton in the process.
Yep, there are going to be naysayers. But come the high snow and cold temps of winter, it is nice to be productive making the equipment in a warm shop. I make essentially all of my equipment, except frames. In fact, I just finished 50 more mediums a couple weeks ago - seems like the bees have been needing more supers this year. I'm planning on expanding next year again (the amount of hives, not so much my belly ) so I will need to get busy earlier this winter. I save a bundle of $ making my own equipment.
With the exception of some frames I needed in a hurry, all my woodenware this year has been built in my expanding shop. Even hundreds of frames have been made. Not sure why the naysayers complain that homemade equipment has to be substandard or odd sizes. I took the plans from beesource and started from there. My bees seem at home in it and, though I'm not selling any of it, the naysayers needn't fear my having it in my hives.
Just made a pile of medium nuc boxes today to finish out my splits at the end of the month. Tomorrow I have to hunker down and start cranking out more frames for the late flow. If it weren't for the free wood I get and the tools I bought, I could never expand at the rate I plan.
I bought most of my equipment used. Table saw, radial arm and planer. I am ordering a new Grizzly bandsaw with riser block next week so I can start resawing 2x10 and 2x12 cutoffs into 3/4" boards for hive body sides. I've built everything so far from 3/4" Windsor One trim (Monterey pine) that I get from the scrap box at work. I'll need a lot more wood for next years increase so I'll be bringing home a few truckloads of cutoffs for this winter's project.
This is my first year at beekeeping. I built all of my woodware including frames from plans from this site. I get my wood from a local sawmill 2 minutes from my house; charges around .50 a bdft for rough saw pine. For the metal cover, I used some round metal duct that I had laying around. Most of all I enjoy building the woodware.
With the exception of some frames I needed in a Tomorrow I have to hunker down and start cranking out more frames for the late flow. If it weren't for the free wood I get and the tools I bought, I could never expand at the rate I plan.
Be careful wayne, i am recovering from frame making. Got my hand caught in the dado blade. chewed up my index finger real good.
I've made just about all of my equipment up to this point - after buying a bunch of odds and ends including about 150 frames at a garrage sale.
Since I ran out of my initial purchase of frames I've been making my own - and even thought they have quite a lot of fiddly little parts you can actually come out pretty good making them if you go about it right and make enough at one time.
Yea I would like to see it also. Does someone have plans or a jig or how is it done?
there are some plans on the plans section here. No jig to do it, you have way too many cuts. the top bar you have to make about 14 cuts. the side pieces about 6 and bottoms 5 cuts. LOT of time involved on frames.
Not really all that much time. My top bars are made out of 2 simple to make parts glued together instead of one complex part. And the key is that you cut the profile into a wide piece - like a 2x6 2x8 or 2x10 - and then you rip that into 12 or more individual parts. Also you make enough parts for many frames at one time so that you only have to tune the set up once to produce parts for 200 or so frames. The more you make the less time you have in each one.
Also a lot of the material can be short cut offs from a framing job that you can get for free.
If you have a job making good money with over time making even better then you probably shouldn't bother (of course in that case why are you fooling with bees anyway?) but if you have time and wood and tools it's a whole different thing.
Or if you just like to make sawdust and say "I made this".
You can make your own stuff, but it will likely not be as solid as the regular off the shelf equipment -- finger joints are time consuming. There is also the issue of standardization. Many things do not fit or work correctly when attempting to interchange them. You lose a couple of hives/work this way and the extra time/cost is lost. If you have only a couple of hives, then have at it, no harm done. I have some hand made stuff in my yard and it is the bane of my existence.