Tulip Poplar for hive construction
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Bedford Co., Tennessee
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    Default Tulip Poplar for hive construction

    I am thinking about using rough cut poplar (yellow/tulip poplar) for some new boxes. Does anyone have experience with this? Pros and cons vs. white pine and/or cypress?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
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    Default Re: Tulip Poplar for hive construction

    Poplar is great for bee equipment. Just slightly heavier than white pine. Not as water proof as cypress, but great for boxes.

    If you are buying rough cut, as I have for years, you need to strip stack and allow air dry for minimum of 9 months. I have posted before, there is shrinkage. Here is some of my info, poplar and pine shrinkage.





    cchoganjr
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  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Bedford Co., Tennessee
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    Default Re: Tulip Poplar for hive construction

    Great. Thanks for the heads up on shrinkage, Cleo.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Lexington, VA, USA
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    465

    Default Re: Tulip Poplar for hive construction

    Please don't do it. Promoting the cutting down of the best nectar producing tree in the Mid Atlantic is a sin against man and God.

  6. #5
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    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
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    Default Re: Tulip Poplar for hive construction

    Years ago we did the trim-work on a very expensive large office building. For some reason the architect specified yellow poplar.
    From a carpenter's perspective it's one of the easiest woods to work with. Really enjoyed working with it when compared to oak, pine, or any other trim wood I'd ever worked with. If I had a pile of it I would not hesitate to build bee hives with it.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Bedford Co., Tennessee
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    Default Re: Tulip Poplar for hive construction

    Not sure if you are being serious billabell. I quite like the idea of giving the bees a home made from such a valuable bee plant. I'm surrounded by poplar trees and it don't look like they're going anywhere anytime soon. Why not use materials that are native and abundant in one's locale?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lexington, VA, USA
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    465

    Default Re: Tulip Poplar for hive construction

    Quote Originally Posted by mpklug93 View Post
    Not sure if you are being serious billabell. I quite like the idea of giving the bees a home made from such a valuable bee plant. I'm surrounded by poplar trees and it don't look like they're going anywhere anytime soon. Why not use materials that are native and abundant in one's locale?
    Obviously, I was not serious. I am also surrounded by thousands of tulip poplar and they not only produce our major nectar flow but they are gorgeous and stately trees in all seasons. I personally hate to see one come down, but I understand their responsible usage is a fact of life. However, pine is just as abundant and far less expensive in my area. Pine makes more sense economically to me unless you have a special deal on the poplar.

  9. #8
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    Feb 2010
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    Park City Ky
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    Default Re: Tulip Poplar for hive construction

    Quote Originally Posted by billabell View Post
    However, pine is just as abundant and far less expensive in my area. Pine makes more sense economically to me unless you have a special deal on the poplar.
    billabell...Yes it is a local thing.. White pine not available in my area, (Central Kentucky), poplar is abundant, fast growing so crops of poplar can be harvested about every 20-25 years.

    We have yellow pine, but it has a lot of sap, not as good for bee boxes, and costs more per board foot. Yellow pine .56 per board ft at saw mills, poplar .48 per board foot at sawmill. (boards cut 16 foot long 1 1/16 thick 12 inch wide.) After shrinkage you can cut 9 9/16 or 9 5/8, and have a piece left for making side rails for bottom boards, frames for tops, or frames for inner covers, so there is very little waste.

    I have been able to get a lot of poplar cutoffs for free over the years. Virtually all barns, storage sheds, wood fences, etc are built with poplar and quite often boards are cut 10 ft, but builder only needs 8 feet, so 2 foot cut off on all boards. Barn builders gave them to me to haul them off.

    Sometimes you can find saw mill cut off they will give you for free. These are normally 2 to 3 ft in length.



    Here is an example of the free cutoffs.



    cchoganjr
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  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Bucks County PA
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    370

    Default Re: Tulip Poplar for hive construction

    I use a quantity of tulip poplar in my woodworking avocation since I have a lot of it milled off our property. I have used some in beekeeping woodenware for utility, usually scraps and for smaller things. There's nothing wrong with using it for boxes and they will certainly be sturdy, but they will also be noticeably heavier than pine or similar. While poplar is a relatively "soft" hardware, it's not lightweight. That's the singular downside compared to pine, cypress, etc.
    Humble assistant to beek Alison as well as family purveyor of luxury Bee condominiums and Paparazzi activities...

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
    Posts
    3,533

    Default Re: Tulip Poplar for hive construction

    Here is an example of the free cutoffs.
    cchoganjr[/QUOTE]


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