Using 2X lumber for boxes?
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  1. #1
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    Default Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    Why is the "standard" for boxes 1X lumber? I know 2X lumber would be heavier, but an empty box isn't really that heavy anyway. 2X lumber might not cost more than comparable 1X lumber. 2X lumber would definitely mill better, glue up better, and it would also provide more insulation in the winter. I'm going to make a complete hive and see how it works.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Whitmell, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    The first hives I built were 2x. I made 20 7 frame medium boxes and 20 supers. I'm thinkin about making more supers for them out of 2x and use those for winter hives. They are cheaper to build at a retail lumber level. They are a bit heavy if you grab ahold of a hive with a feeder and top, full of bees and tote it very far.

    Yet they are so stout i bet if they were strapped or chained down a bear couldn't tear into them.
    Don't laugh it's paid for. -- Manure draws more flies than honey.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Bunker Hill, IL
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    891

    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    just remember to hold the inside dimentions the same as a normal 1x lumber hive. YOu still want standard frames to fit inside it.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Statesville, North Carolina
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    60

    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    All of my top bar hives are made of 2x lumber. a 2x12 costs less than a 1x12 for some strange reason.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyvern View Post
    a 2x12 costs less than a 1x12 for some strange reason.
    lower grade of wood

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    lower grade of wood
    That's true, but the way lumber looks these days it's more like choosing the lesser of two evils, at least here in the deep south. No lumber is anywhere near the quality that it was 20 years ago. I think I'd take thicker, stronger and more knots, over what little 1X lumber has to offer now. You have to sort through half a stack to find boards that aren't split on the end, and then they cup.

    I'd like to find some spruce 2x8x12' boards but I don't think anyone here has spruce in anything wider than a 2x6. That would be much lighter than Southern Yellow Pine.

  8. #7
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    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    2X lumber is fine but usually cost more.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    From the bees point of view 2 inch is likely better, getting closer to the insulation qualities of a tree.

    However, I have to work on hives owned by a guy who has 400 hives, all built of 2 inch timber. Trust me, it can be hard work, surprising how that bit more weight in every box can wear you down.

    The guy himself is a bit of a leave it alone beekeeper, to his cost. And I suspect it is partly the prospect of the constant heavy lifting that makes him that way. It's not only the weight either, the box is also 2 inches bigger each way, so you have to bend that little bit more, etc.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  10. #9
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    Mar 2013
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    Reddick, FL (Ocala)
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    Thats why I love cypress

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by crazylocha View Post
    Thats why I love cypress
    Rub it in why don't you?

    I use to live in SE AL and I used cypress to build bluebird boxes. Those boxes are now over 15 years old and still look as good as they did the first summer. I love that silver grey color of weathered cypress. Now that I'm a beek, I really miss the cypress. If I could get it here I'd use the rough cut 1x thickness and build every box out of it. What I use to get was about 1 1/4" thick.

  12. #11
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    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    Because 3/4 inch thick wood works just fine. It's your back, do as you wish.

    Crazy Roland

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    Going by the prices I saw at Lowe's, a medium super built from 2x8 raw material would be 33% cheaper than a medium super built from a 1x8...... Both pieces of wood are Southern Yellow Pine graded as #2 Prime.

    Looks like I'm going to 2x material for my boxes. The added weight is really a non issue for me.

  14. #13
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    May 2013
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    Sacramento, CA
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    31

    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    When you start pulling 50+ full honey supers in a day your back will tell you why, and in the long run quality wood will be your friend. I've worked with boxes from the 40's that are still in good condition because they were made of quality wood.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    What do you consider quality wood?

  16. #15
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    May 2013
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    Sacramento, CA
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    kiln dried, not a lot of knots, not quick grown plantation wood. most of my families boxes are made of ponderosa pine, though we use MDO paper two side for the lids. quality is expensive in the short term but if you can give your equipment to your kids in 50 years its worth it.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    I only have about 2 practical choices. Quick grown plantation pine, which I can get without a lot of knots, or rough cut, air dried poplar. Poplar is light but has a tendency to become very fragile.

    I just did some calculations for southern yellow pine and an empty medium super from 1X would weight 6.25lbs and from 2x lumber it would weight 12.5 lbs. So it's 6.25 lbs added to a full super of honey. I'm going to try it. I may regret it, but I'm going to build some. One other advantage is that I can mill one heck of a good modified shiplap joint in the 2x lumber. It will provide 1 1/2" of surface for gluing and be totally isolated from any exposed end grain.

    EDIT: If nothing else I could use 2x lumber for the brood chamber and put 1x supers on them. I would only need one super per hive with a flange on the bottom for the transition from 2x to 1x.

  18. #17
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bee View Post
    If nothing else I could use 2x lumber for the brood chamber and put 1x supers on them. I would only need one super per hive with a flange on the bottom for the transition from 2x to 1x.
    Transition with a flange?

    Hopefully the boxes you build from 2x lumber will have identical INSIDE dimensions as 1x boxes. So why would a flange be needed?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    The inside dimensions will be the same, the exterior dimensions would be different. If you have a box made from 1X lumber sitting on top of a box made from 2X lumber you will have a 3/4" wide lip left all the way around the top of the 2X lumber box. If you attach a strip of 3/4" quarter round to the side of the 1X lumber box at the bottom of the side, the bottom thickness will be 1 1/2" which will exactly cover the 2X box and won't leave a flat spot for rainwater to stand. Make sense?

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    45 Chamfer the top of the 2x boxes so they have 3/4 to 7/8 in land on top instead of quarter round on the bottom of the 3/4 boxes. I would plan on at least 2 supers per hive.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Using 2X lumber for boxes?

    That would certainly work.

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