simple plywood behive plans
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  1. #1
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    Feb 2016
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    St. Louis, Missouri USA
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    Default simple plywood behive plans

    So I have a freind who enjoys simple wood working and is curently building me a set of 4 d coates nucs from a sheet of plywood. He doesnt charge me for labor just material. I am planning a big expansion next year and was wondering if there are any plans similar to the d coates nuc plans that I could share with him to work on. I did find these plans with a simple search https://www.keepingbackyardbees.com/build-beehive/ would anyone recomend these types of hives or some others?

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  3. #2

    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    You will be sorry if you start to make main bee keeping equipment out of plywood

  4. #3
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    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    My ply hives are 10 years old now, I've never been sorry I used ply to start out with. All my nucs are made out of ply, overwintered plenty-a-colony in them, never been sorry I made those out of ply either.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  5. #4
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    Feb 2016
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    St. Louis, Missouri USA
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    Quote Originally Posted by rwurster View Post
    My ply hives are 10 years old now, I've never been sorry I used ply to start out with. All my nucs are made out of ply, overwintered plenty-a-colony in them, never been sorry I made those out of ply either.
    thanks for the input! do you use full size hives made of ply? if so do you have plans you followed or did you make them on your own? what do you think of the plans i posted. would they work?

  6. #5
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    Jan 2015
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    Williamsport, PA
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    Quote Originally Posted by rwurster View Post
    My ply hives are 10 years old now, I've never been sorry I used ply to start out with. All my nucs are made out of ply, overwintered plenty-a-colony in them, never been sorry I made those out of ply either.
    I have 3 years with plywood nucs and they still seem fine, not delaminating at all. I mostly overwinter in them.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    I used consistent lang outside dimensions for them, made them from 19/32" ply (5/8). They're starting to delaminate a bit, have a few warping a hair, but all in all, 10 years isnt a bad run for plywood boxes in my opinion. Maybe 20% need to be cut down into nucs so... I would say, if you need to make hives from ply, do it with the understanding that 10 years is probably going to be the life of the box. And I've primed/painted them twice. The moisture got in because I didn't seal where the boxes sit on one another i.e. what would be the long grain in a 1x hive. Even if you do that, expect 10 years with maintained boxes.

    And I don't use box joints, my boxes are made with rabbets so you need to adjust measurements if you go that route.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  8. #7
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    Tallapoosa, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    No offense rwurster... but how can I compare your lifespan of plywood boxes to mine when you get less than 2 inches of rain in your wettest month? I have had more than your yearly average just in the last 7 days here. I would use plywood too if I lived in the high desert again. I much prefer Advantech in my climate. I think that it would be a better choice in Missouri too. I made a set of D Coates nuc boxes. They have been in service 4 years. I used an oil based sealer and paint. The tops warped so badly that I have replaced all of them in the first two years. The boxes are rigid enough to remain usable due to design so far. I will not build more for my use. I find them a bit narrow inside and do not lend well to stacking boxes on top.
    Beekeeping is local... in this case so is the utility of plywood.
    Working to propagate my survivors and staying treatment free USDA Zone 7b

  9. #8
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    It's been so wet here recently, I think even marine grade plywood would delaminate! The Advantech is holding up well, so far.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #9
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    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    tpope, dunno what you're talking about. We've gotten at least 3" of precip since October of last year. Now that's a wet year. We don't have SHB either

    Don't know how tops relate to boxes when your tops are warping or delaminating and your boxes are still rigid.

    At least you're not underwater like Palmer where even marine grade ply delaminates.
    Last edited by rwurster; 05-31-2018 at 08:48 PM.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  11. #10

    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    DSC_0059.jpg

    Nearly all my boxes have been plywood for the last 20+ years. I have some wooden ones too, same measures. When making them so thin (18mm) it is the odd wooden ones which have broken, the end of top bars bends and then breaks. In plywood boxes it holds.


    Here are maps of the mean temperatures and rainfalls in Finland 1981-2010:
    http://ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/vuositilastot

  12. #11
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    Quote Originally Posted by My-smokepole View Post
    You will be sorry if you start to make main bee keeping equipment out of plywood
    I have made some from plywood before and like My-smokepole said I was sorry!!! They delaminate some but all the splinters coming off the plywood was the worse part.

  13. #12

    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper1d View Post
    I have made some from plywood before and like My-smokepole said I was sorry!!! They delaminate some but all the splinters coming off the plywood was the worse part.

    These cost me 5 Fmk (about 1 dollar) each. They were made of 2nd grade stuff...

    I quess we in Finland can made better quality plywood

  14. #13
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    Jospehine County, Oregon
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    up here in oregon we get 7-8 months of rain some years, all day all night, for me our plywood nucs painted real thick last about 5yrs out in the rain and snow.

  15. #14
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    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    I have a good number of Coates style nucs and swarm traps made from 1/2" plywood. I wax dip them. Have had some sit in fields that were flooded 4-6" INSIDE them for 2 or more weeks at a time. The box is still fine. The lids warped a little, thank goodness, and let the bees exit and enter through the top.

    Biggest issue I have with plywood is the squirrels love to chew it. I assume it's the ply, because I haven't seen evidence of them chewing my wax dipped pine boxes.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  16. #15
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    here is a 8 frame meadum based on the D Coates nuc https://beevac.com/plans-and-downloads/
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  17. #16
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    18mm is approximately 3/4" stock. Mine are made out of approximately 16mm stock, quite a few sit under a center pivot in an alfalfa field where they get over 40" of water dumped on them a year plus the annual precip. Ply has never been a bad choice for me. All my medium supers are ply, 9-10 years old and look brand new. Tops on the other hand, no matter what my migratory tops are made out of, they take a beating.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  18. #17
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    Feb 2017
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    Northern Il, USA
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    Quote Originally Posted by Bdfarmer555 View Post

    Biggest issue I have with plywood is the squirrels love to chew it. I assume it's the ply, because I haven't seen evidence of them chewing my wax dipped pine boxes.
    Have exactly the same problem with plywood tops. Had one so eaten up I got out the old Bondo I used to fix up a rusted out car body and patched it with that. So far so good...
    Otherwise no real problems. I coat the cut edges with Titebond prior to painting in the hopes that it will prevent delamination. Not sure if it helps.

  19. #18
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    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    I make my lids out of 1/2 - 5/8 ply. My nucs are ply. But, Normal boxes are normal wood. I would not make my normal boxes out of ply. Do the nucs tops and bottoms but, dont do the boxes they wont stand up to abuse.

  20. #19

    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    I wanted to have exactly 6 mm bee space, plywood keeps measurements, wood varies according to humidity and twists. Nowadays there is though plenty of glued wood for sale. Made of wood pieces glued together. They are glued (every other piece wrong way round, I donīt know the word) so that he effect of moisture is partly gone(twisting). I donīt know the prices, probably cheaper than 20 years ago, I would use that material just because to me the one and only important downside of plywood is that box (shallow, 12 frames) weights about 1 kg more than wooden one.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Knoxville, Tennessee
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    73

    Default Re: simple plywood behive plans

    I agree Advantech is the way to go!! Tired of warping tops and sides.. [/QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by tpope View Post
    No offense rwurster... but how can I compare your lifespan of plywood boxes to mine when you get less than 2 inches of rain in your wettest month? I have had more than your yearly average just in the last 7 days here. I would use plywood too if I lived in the high desert again. I much prefer Advantech in my climate. I think that it would be a better choice in Missouri too. I made a set of D Coates nuc boxes. They have been in service 4 years. I used an oil based sealer and paint. The tops warped so badly that I have replaced all of them in the first two years. The boxes are rigid enough to remain usable due to design so far. I will not build more for my use. I find them a bit narrow inside and do not lend well to stacking boxes on top.
    Beekeeping is local... in this case so is the utility of plywood.

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