I know this has been discussed on here, but when I went looking for the information I couldn't find much and no pictures. If you build the super the same way as the main body, you end up with an odd "gap" where the super and body come together. Not a huge deal, but that's a lot of opening where ants, etc can get in. And if they propolize it closed it will be tough getting them apart. What I did was pretty simple. I don't care to have the cleats on the tops opting, rather, to just weight them.
The only dimension change is the overall height of the box. Since the bottom is all one piece Mr. Coates design (which is brilliant in its simplicity and function) takes into account the lack of "bottom board". So I knocked 3/4" off of the "height" of all of the components so sides are now 9.5"x19.125" and front/back are 7.5"x8.75" cleats stay the same to form the frame rest. Then with the "leftovers" I made extra cleats 8.5"x(1.5"-2" depending on what I had available in plywood scraps). When assembling, I took those extra cleats and slapped them flush with the bottom edge of the super onto the front and back of each super. Titebond III + staples then sealed all edges with the Titebond III. Two coats of primer + two coats of glossy paint.
I thought I took pictures of the assembly process, but it appears that I did not. So here they are in action.
I like the clover too. They don't have to go far to collect nectar.
Lots of clover in the backyard. Overseeded a little bit more this spring actually to boost the amount. More bumblebees and other "sweatbees" working those and my strawberries. I did see some the honey bees on strawberry blossoms, but only the first day I made the nucs up. After that it's up up and away! Only seen 1-2 bees on the clover in the yard so far. Which is fine. Dearth is coming soon and yard clover helps get some maintenance nectar at the very least. Thankfully there aren't too many golf course lawns in town.
I know it's not proper forum etiquette to revive old threads, but I have a good reason for this one.
I would like to know how well those second story boxes have held up since you put them in service. My only concern was with the potential for the sides to warp. I know the lids can get quite unruly if not weighted down properly, so I was worried that the same might be true of the sides since they are not attached to a floor to keep them in check.
Woodstove PM'd me, but figured I could reply back here for future forum searchers.
The supers have worked well for me, they do not hold their shape perfectly, sides bow a bit. Frames sit a little tight in them (probably as a result of the bowing) so the bees propolise the end bars to the side wall sometimes. The biggest complaint I have with the internal dimensions is that they're a bit tight for 5 frames and I'd prefer the dimensions were closer to a 5-frame Mann Lake box, which can hold four frames and a 1-frame feeder. One other drawback is that they are ALWAYS my wettest hives coming through/out of winter. No exceptions. Not sure if that's because they don't breathe as well or what. I have the same ventilation on top as my other colonies, but they're always wet. But the moisture is always on the sides.
If I had the time to build them I would use more of them. The yellow nuc in the background is what I use mostly now. They're pre-made by the Amish about a five hour drive south of here. Bought a bit slug of equipment from them last year. The assembled nuc + migratory lid cost like $9 or 10. Considering the labor in making the plywood ones, it's a no brainer for me to buy the Amish ones.
But the plywood ones work, are reasonably durable, and bees survive in them just fine.