Cost of Medium Hive Body
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Cost of Medium Hive Body

    I have been running some numbers to try to determine if I am wasting my time trying to build my own hive bodies. Here are the numbers on a Medium Hive Body for me:

    1 X 8 X 8 spruce board = $9.06.
    Yield of board = 1.25 hive bodies.
    5 hive bodies = $36.24 (+8" of total waste)
    Medium Hive Body = $7.25/each

    This does not factor in staples, glue or paint - but those expenses will be constant even if I purchase the bodies.

    Looks like Mann Lake is currently selling unassembled medium hive bodies for $15.50.

    To eliminate waste, I build in groups of 5 hive bodies.

    5 Medium Hive Bodies Homemade: $36.24
    5 Medium Hive Bodies Mann Lake: $77.50

    I like woodworking, but I am not terribly good at it. It probably takes me 4 hours over 2 days to build 5 out. (I told you I am not good). I am probably working at less than $10/hour. Also, spruce is a soft wood that I do not think will stand the test of time. My goal is to simply hold it together with layers of paint.

    Most of you all have probably done some form of these calculations, at least in your head. I was wondering what you guys have factored, whether you think it is worth it to build, or if you see a way to either build or buy cheaper than what I am doing.

    Thanks.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Southeast Texas
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    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    I am also a box builder - and can throw in on this
    #1 Spruce??? that's not as cheap as pine - this is what the mann lake boxes are made from - Also these must be the select boxes - budget are cheaper than you build price

    Unassembled Budget Grade Hive Bodies & Supers buying over 36 - 6.95

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    2,270

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    Right now, ML is selling "Budget" mediums at $6.95 in lots of 36. You really can't beat that price even if your wood supply is free, if you are willing to live with the knots.
    http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeepin...ct/WW-607.html

    I build mediums out of Redwood dog-ear 1 x 8 fence board (current price $2.87). Redwood fenceboard makes a good lightweight medium -- not going to hold up to major trucking, but I have 10 year old boxes going strong. I have multi-hundreds of these boxes in use. I sell nucs in the 10 frame boxes -- which saves call-backs from newbees at the cost of 5 additional frames. Worth every penny.

    I build with simple butt joints and drywall screws. Sometimes use a biscuit cutter to reinforce the corner joints, but mostly not these days. Some boxes have a cleat (helps reinforce the rabbet), but most of my migratory covers are not sized for the cleat. Note RW dog-ear has a true dimension of 11/16 thickness, so a bit of cheat on sizing is required or just ignored.

    Many shipping brokers crate goods in 1x12 and 1x8. If you can find a broker with this crating material willing to let you scrap it out, you are golden. Avoid overseas pallets, as these are routinely treated with toxic methyl bromide as an insect killer. Pallet stamps (the letters MB) will indicate this treatment.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Southeast Texas
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    1,792

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    JW - I can get 8' 1X8" 3.69 a board
    1X 12 X 8' 5.32 but I have to buy the whole bundle

    How thick is that fence board - is it 3/4?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Robeson County, North Carolina
    Posts
    739

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    If you are able to make box-joint hive bodies for that price, stay with it. I can't. I make shallow supers with rabbet joints, but the juniper wood was free. It I had to buy the boards AND make them, I would opt instead to purchase.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Southeast Texas
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    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    my boxes are cut just like a mann lake box

  8. #7
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    May 2016
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    Robeson County, North Carolina
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    739

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    Quote Originally Posted by sakhoney View Post
    my boxes are cut just like a mann lake box
    Hopefully I'll get back to that point soon. My shop, and all the contents, are in storage awaiting a new home to be built. Which Jig do you use?

  9. #8
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    Apr 2016
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    Southeast Texas
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    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    built a gang saw that cuts them all with 1 pass

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Bristol,RI
    Posts
    652

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    ive built mine from 1x8x16 for 9.50 per board rough cut pine/spruce whatever sometimes have to look through a few to find a straight cleaner one but have been happy so far. did my first batch with finger joints and my dad wonders why we were building furniture for bugs so we switched to rabbets.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Robeson County, North Carolina
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    739

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    Quote Originally Posted by sakhoney View Post
    built a gang saw that cuts them all with 1 pass
    Sweet! Got any pics? I'd like to set the set-up.

    OP, sorry for the hijack. Back to your regularly-scheduled, on-topic, discussion...

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Wayne, WV, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    I get 1x material from the local Ace: 10.99 for 1x12x8 and 6.99 for 1x8x8. So I think it comes to $8 for a deep and $4.20 for a medium. I use glue, staples and butt joints. After I cut the box to width, I use the extra for cleat handles.

    I built my first set of boxes with box joints, then went to rabbets, now to butt joints. Lots of Titebond III. The Egyptians used glue; the wood around the joint rotted out but the joint is still bonded together. Anyway.

    You'll get faster and faster at putting boxes together, psm. I'd never used a table saw before I started, if that tells you anything.

    I keep a close eye on local wood prices. If I had to buy all my wood from a box store, I'd probably buy my boxes to save time cutting.

    BTW, I really like AdvanTech subflooring for tops and bottoms: I get 6 tops and 6 bottoms from one 4x8 sheet; it comes to about 2.50 each. Even with the rails the total cost is less than 5.00 each...

    Enjoy!
    "The amazing thing about the honey bee is not that she works, but that she works for others." St. John Chrysostom

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Howard County, MD, USA
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    I built everything for myself. Hive boxes, tops, bottoms, and frames.

    Cost wise I know I saved money. If I add my time in I didn't save a penny.

    But, I enjoyed all the time I spent building everything so that made it all worth it.

    -Alden

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    Quote Originally Posted by cervus View Post
    Sweet! Got any pics? I'd like to set the set-up.

    OP, sorry for the hijack. Back to your regularly-scheduled, on-topic, discussion...
    Hey, its my thread and I want to see the pics too. Carry on.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    The 36 ct. budget bundle from Mann Lake seems the way to go, but I will not use that many mediums for some time. Looks like I can find some cheaper wood. Honestly, I have not shopped around for it, so I can probably get my unit costs under $7 if I get more aggressive on that front. Sounds like I am getting hosed at $9+ per 8' board.

    I am not a handyman, but I enjoy piddling in my shop with equipment, so the time is not completely wasted. I use an abbreviated box joint. I basically cut a 3" tongue out of my short sides and 3" slots out of my long sides and marry them up. I router the short tops to make a 3/8" shelf for the top bars to rest on and I have built a hand-hold jig that I cut on all four sides of my boxes.

    I wanted 1 hive this season. Got talked into 2. Then bought a nuc from someone. Then did a split when a queen cell emerged. I did not budget for 4 colonies. Just looking for ways to trim some fat. Thanks for the discussion.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
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    1,596

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    1X8X 6 only about a inch of waste , easy to sort .

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    3,049

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    Do due diligence in checking alternate sources of equipment. I was going to build all new tops, bottoms, and hive bodies for 30 colonies this spring. I wanted to use cypress for durability. After pricing the lumber and getting a quote from Albert Zook, he was able to make the equipment for less than the cost of the lumber.

    http://www.k4vb.com/Misc%20Projects/...available.html
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Southeast Texas
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    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    will get photos next day or two of that box cutter

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Belmont, North Carolina 28012
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    108

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    Ohio Bee Box currently gets $8.00 for medium hive body/super - http://theohiobeeboxcompany.com/wood...8-medium-super

    I'm happy with mine.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    622

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    I use 1x8x6 from Menards. It's worth checking around, we have 2 stores 35 miles apart and one store is 50% cheaper on lumber because they are in a different market. The cheaper store sells them for 3.69. I don't calculate my time into the cost, I'm not missing work to build them and would just be sitting on my butt anyways. Some quite time with the table saw and router, away from the family is good for the soul sometimes too.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    683

    Default Re: Cost of Medium Hive Body

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Do due diligence in checking alternate sources of equipment. I was going to build all new tops, bottoms, and hive bodies for 30 colonies this spring. I wanted to use cypress for durability. After pricing the lumber and getting a quote from Albert Zook, he was able to make the equipment for less than the cost of the lumber.

    http://www.k4vb.com/Misc%20Projects/...available.html
    Do you think he would make some custom 12 7/8" frames?

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