squaring box corners
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default squaring box corners

    I cut the parts to make ten medium nuc boxes, but am looking for a more efficient way to ensure that the corners are square. I went the easier route and have the long sides going the full distance with the ends fitting between the sides. I am not nailing them to bottom boards as some will be top boxes to put feeders in or a second level box. I checked the first one by putting it on a nuc box someone else made with proper finger joints and ended up putting the only clamp I have that was big enough to pull mine into near square and hold it to dry because it was not squared.

    Any suggestions? I'd like to put all of them together tomorrow without waiting for each one to dry before starting the next one.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Walton County, GA
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    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Measure the diagonal dimensions. If they are the same the box is square. (Assuming the lengths of the opposing sides are all equal.)

    When I assemble boxes I glue the joints and shoot nails (brads) with a pneumatic nail gun. I check the inside corners with a speed square during assembly to get the box reasonably square. When I am finished nailing I clean up any excess glue and measure the diagonals. If one diagonal is longer than the other one I stand the box one one corner and either push on the box or strike it with a rubber mallet to equalize the diagonals. (It will be obvious which direction to go.) I do this before the glue dries.

    To clarify, when I say to measure the diagonals I mean measure outside corner to outside corner across either the top or bottom of the box. Let's call one long side the left side and the other long side will be the right side. Similarly one short side will be the front and the other short side will be the rear. Measure from the left-front corner to the right-rear corner (one diagonal) and measure from the left-rear corner to the right-front corner (the other diagonal). If these measurements are not the same you will need to adjust the box until they are the same. Make any adjustments before the glue dries. (It is too late to make adjustments after the glue has dried.)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    1,148

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Buy an aluminum square from Lowes or any other hardware store. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Swanson-Too...Square/1006205
    That is what I use and it works perfectly every time. I use one that belonged to my grandfather and have had it since he died in 1972. It was old then too.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Lumpkin County, GA
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    851

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    When I first started building boxes, I got tired of having to use a square and endless adjustments to get a box built. To help me get square boxes quickly, I built a jig which makes putting boxes together much easier.
    The red handled clamps allow me to quickly put the pieces together by holding them in place. I glue the piece's edges and fit them in the jig. The clamps push the pieces against 2 square corners. Then, I use bar clamps to pull the pieces tightly together. I then use 1 1/4 staples to fasten it all together. The gap in the middle allows me to put together nuc boxes.
    It works pretty well. Occasionally I will put a box together and realize that one of frame rest sides is upside down.
    Jig_1_Small.jpgJig_3_Small.jpg

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    I would suggest making sure the sides of the end pieces were cut square to fit against the side of the side pieces. May not be exactly square corner but close

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,713

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Heather, I use a 48" drywall square, although a framing square would work just as well. After I assemble the box, I lay the square on it and smack the acute angle on the counter until the box is perfectly square. Then I rehammer in any nails that loosened and set the box aside until the glue drys. I use rabbeted joints on the end pieces and use a speed square to make sure those edges are perfect 90s or else the box will not sit flat.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    When I first started building boxes, I got tired of having to use a square and endless adjustments to get a box built. To help me get square boxes quickly, I built a jig which makes putting boxes together much easier.
    The red handled clamps allow me to quickly put the pieces together by holding them in place. I glue the piece's edges and fit them in the jig. The clamps push the pieces against 2 square corners. Then, I use bar clamps to pull the pieces tightly together. I then use 1 1/4 staples to fasten it all together. The gap in the middle allows me to put together nuc boxes.
    It works pretty well. Occasionally I will put a box together and realize that one of frame rest sides is upside down.
    Jig_1_Small.jpgJig_3_Small.jpg
    Eric- Interesting set up. This is the type of thing I was thinking about doing and then use staples instead of hand hammering bigger nails. How long do you usually leave it on the frame and it you move it after stapling/nail gun, do you have many issues with it shifting out of square?

    I'm familiar with measuring the diagonals and using squares. I'm trying to find a more efficient method that doesn't require adjusting after nailing to have it square.

    JP, I don't have the equipment to do finger joints or similar joints. That would be easier to square. Using an actual square instead of the other box is the better method, but it was buried in the shed.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Wimer, Oregon
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Corner clamps are what one uses for making square 90 degree corners, you can get them at homedepot, lowes or online $15-$50
    Then a electric nail gun, better is a portable air compressor $60-$100 and a pneumatic stapler or nail gun $45-$75 each
    The red clamps ericweller shows with his jig are destako clamps $13-$45 each
    Simple items for beekeeping wooden ware construction.
    DavidZ

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    1,437

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    I make all my boxes from reclaimed wood (ex pallets) using simple 'glue and screw' butt joints, with the boxes being assembled on a sheet of thick glass (ex glass-top table) to eliminate twist. Having screwed the boxes together, the diagonals are measured. Sometimes a small difference can be rectified by simply pressing the longer diagonal down firmly onto a hard surface - if not, then a sash cramp is placed across the longer diagonal and tightened until such time as the glue sets. With a really awkward build, sometimes it's necessary to slacken-off some of the screws a quarter turn or so.

    It's all very crude compared with the high-quality woodworking which some guys here engage in, but after all - they're only boxes to keep insects in.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Woodbridge, VA (But planning to move to NW Louisiana soon)
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    279

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    A jig like Eric mentions is easy, and if you're stapling the parts together you won't have the problem of beating the first joints apart while nailing the later ones together. I use a cheap welding table from Harbor Freight, and it works great for simply pushing the box parts into the corner of the table, while stapling the joints together. Two of the table sides have lips that can be raised an inch or so above the table surface, giving a solid corner to press parts into. It's not micro scale accurate, but plenty close enough to put bugs into.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/adjust...ble-61369.html

  12. #11
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    Jan 2013
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    Lumpkin County, GA
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    851

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeguppy View Post
    Eric- Interesting set up. This is the type of thing I was thinking about doing and then use staples instead of hand hammering bigger nails. How long do you usually leave it on the frame and it you move it after stapling/nail gun, do you have many issues with it shifting out of square?
    I take the box out of the jig as soon as the fasteners are put in. Once released from the jig, I staple the places I can't reach while the box is in the jig. My pneumatic stapler is the only way to go. Hammer and nails would probably cause the box to deviate from square as the nails are hammered in.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Bucks County PA
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    351

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo View Post
    Measure the diagonal dimensions. If they are the same the box is square. (Assuming the lengths of the opposing sides are all equal.)
    This.

    Using parallel clamps can help but measurement is still required. There are also right-angle clamping aids that can help with this alignment. Fortunately, for bee boxes, "really close" is generally fine, unlike with cabinetry and fine furniture.The quality of your joinery for long-term strength in the weather is more important, honestly.
    Humble assistant to beek Alison as well as family purveyor of luxury Bee condominiums and Paparazzi activities...

  14. #13
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,760

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
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    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Several interesting jigs and methods. Thank you. I think switching back to the staple or nail brad gun is my first start. The boxes are costing about $3.60 each, so I don't want to get too fancy and you gave some down to earth, cost effective suggestions.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  16. #15
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    Jan 2019
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    Portland,Tennessee
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    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Built a jig like this. Works great for any size box.iphone pics 257.jpg

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    2,998

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    I'm in the simple camp. I have an old Craftsman table saw with the heavy duty cast iron table top. I assemble boxes on top of it and use the corners of the table saw to get the box square. This eliminates several steps such as picking up a square or applying clamps. The only problem with this is that glue will accumulate on the table top and has to be scraped off occasionally. I assemble boxes with galvanized spiral 3 inch nails and titebond 2 glue. The table saw is just the right height for me to work. Don't do this with a fancy cabinet grade table saw!
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  18. #17
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    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: squaring box corners

    I had just enough time to get three put together using a framing square and they are sitting level. Used the brad gun and compresser to help minimize the movement. I think I want a jig to hold the pieces in place. I saw one years ago on youtube that had edges on a board to brace the sides in place, but cant' seem to find it. Anyone recall something like that and know who posted?
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
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    577

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    I built a jig like Michael B's
    I screw 2-16 in cleats at exactly a 90 deg angle to the top of my work bench.
    Then,frame rests down,I shove the assembled box against the cleats,squaring it,and tack a diagonal until the glue drys.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,713

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    Jadeguppy, go back and look at some of Scott Hendriks' videos. I recall he uses a squaring jig like what you describe.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Kirkland, WA
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    106

    Default Re: squaring box corners

    All of the suggestions here are valid and you may already have finished this project, but, If you cut two rectangular board to the dimensions of the inside of your boxes, that will insure your boxes are square. Assuming of course that your rectangles are square. Then you can clamp however you want (if you are gluing). You can also use several ratcheting straps as clamps and/or to hold everything together as you glue, screw, nail it together.
    OldMontgomerysFarm.com
    Paul Montgomery -- C-I-E-I-O

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