Building vs. Buying - Page 2
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  1. #21

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    My problem with pre-assemble wooden ware is a lot of time the poor Quality of Assembly. We have seen new stuff all most fall apart after one season. Where with glued, stapled end grain filled with caulk or glue. An two coats of paint they look just as good after 5 years in service.

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    North Adams MA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    Commercial boxes are pine, are they not, which isn't as expensive as plywood, correct?
    Also, I found that buying assembled boxes and frames from the Amish was extremely reasonable and easier than assembling/building boxes and frames myself.

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    903

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    I build my own, but the reason is I have access to cheap wood and I enjoy the Wood working part as much as the keeping.
    In Michigan there are numerous sawmills where you can get rough sawn Pine for 800-1000 dollars a thousand board feet.
    It then needs to be dryed preferably kiln dried
    I have a small planner
    table saw
    pin nailer and cordless screw /drill.
    I do most of the work in winter, we still have snow on the ground here.
    If wood is expensive, and you can sell a few NUCs or queens you likely would be better off to buy unassembled bulk and put them together and pain/dip your self.

    Good luck let us know the "cheapest" solution you discover.

    pine1.jpg
    my future hives, I am cutting some logs this winter, so taking it from tree to bees in hive.

    GG

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    SE IOWA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    I can get a 1x12x6 for about 8 bucks and a 1x8x6 for 5. I pick thru the lumber as needed to get good (to me) Menards lumber. My time is free as I am retired. I have all the tools needed for making the boxes. To me I am saving while keeping myself busy making them. I make bottoms and tops out of recycled lumber that was free. I bought about 40' of aluminum flashing for tops for $20. Frames I buy for about .78 ea. Someday I may try making them also. This is what works for me.

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Burnet County, Texas, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default

    I just went through this same thing a couple of weeks ago. I have a very well set up woodworking shop and capable of doing hive bodies, etc. But decided it is not worth it to make the hive bodies and the frames.

    Just sifting through the warped and knot riddled wood trying to find decent stock is hassle enough for me to not want to do it. And then you would still have to make the time to build everything.

    I do however make the tops, bottoms, inner covers and nucs.

    Just like you said, the commercial grade hive bodies from Mann Lake are a decent enough deal to just go with it.

    But if someone can find a good enough deal on lumber and enjoys making them, I wont make fun of them for that either. There's people out there that actually enjoy doing their taxes, so who am I to say otherwise?

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Memphis, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Cheaper to buy from Mann Lake

  8. #27

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    I'll chime in because this has topic has caught my fancy...

    We ran the numbers and are making our own boxes now. In short we only build 10 frame deeps and mediums. We buy our frames assembled by the semi load. In order for making boxes to be cost effective we purchase lumber by the semi load as well. You can make roughly 3,600 deeps from one semi truck of 1x16 pine. We used to make furniture then got into bees so we already had the shop setup. If you're starting from scratch you're looking at around 13k-15k in equipment (bare min) for a production shop. We stick to making deeps unless we get an order for mediums then we run that order to the exact number only. We always have deeps on hand. Our commercial bee operation only runs Deeps.

    We got into making deeps for ourselves then figured we could sell them too. We don't have the tooling to make frames yet, nor have I ran the numbers to justify making frames in the large qty we need, so I cannot chime in on that.

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Powell, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    Occasionally I can get 1X12's at Lowes that are damaged or unsalable at normal price. I can get these at about 1/3 the normal price. The lumber is still good and i use this to make supers and bottom boards. But like i said, it is only occasionally that this is available.

  10. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Randolph county,WV,USA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    Bulk for me is 150 deeps which i purchase, tops and bottoms I make, bulk price is not good.
    ZONE 5A WVwildernessapiaries.net

  11. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Walla Walla Wa
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    I enjoy working in the shop and need something to keep me busy in the winter as I am one of those people who canít sit idle (watching TV counts as sitting idle for me). On the other hand, cost is a consideration as well. If it is an item I use in quantity it is difficult to beat commercial bulk prices. I can get a box of 35 mediums from ML for $9.75 each, shipped. Building them myself costs $3-4 more per box, ignoring my time (plus it is hard to get decent lumber from the big box stores).

    I build stuff I donít use in quantity because shipping tends to even up costs, I enjoy doing so, and have the time.

    Salvage helps when you can find usable lumber. My exception to the volume rule of thumb is frames. I can cut my own from salvaged 2x wood, which is easy to get from construction sites. I have jigs for my table saw, routing table, and drill press that let me knock them out in quantity. It takes me about 3 minutes per to go from scrap to frame parts.

    My experience, FWIW.

    Stu

  12. #31
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    225

    Default

    By all means build some boxes. Its fun! As to economics in our market: last time I bought lumber it cost $6 / box for #2 pine. Then I bought unassembled boxes which cost $8 / box delivered. I don't have a good enough shop set up to justify that. Tops and bottoms out of plywood is simple and cost effective here. I build those heavier than I can buy because they never fill up with honey 🙂. And I keep an eye out for sales.

  13. #32
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Winchester, KY
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    Hard to beat these prices from Amish made cypress equipment by Peter Zook in Franklin, KY.
    Pete Zook 1 2020.jpg

  14. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Barbados
    Posts
    12

    Default

    If one is resourceful there is no way buying is cheaper. On the island where I live and in the past ten years I have never paid for any box, baseboard, or lid. It is all recycled wood. Currently I have over 50 unassembled boxes in storage. My friend who I work with, has found a huge shipping crate that appears it will make well over 300 boxes. One does not need a fancy wood shop to build boxes. A circular saw and glue with some pony clamps. If you don't know what a pony clamps is it is a clamp made from galvanized pipe, you buy the clamp parts at any hardware store for about 15. each One can easily make boxes.
    The lids and baseboards can be made with old real estate signs or any thing that is waterproof. Our stands are made from recycled old bed frames that are metal. They can be cut with a hack saw, if you don't own a right angle grinder. Then bolted together, if you don't have access to welding. Frames are a little more of a challenge, if you want to make them, a table saw is suggested. I have started to make mine out of hardwood, such as mahogany, or a wood we have here called purpleheart. become creative recycle, reuse and make bee stuff. Nothing hard
    Good luck and start dumpster diving.

  15. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,815

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    Airwreck - what a refreshing read - nice one

    Re: Mann-Lake being 'cheap' ... not overall in my experience - only their price tag. But - just in case you think I'm bad-mouthing ML - my criticism is far more directed towards their supplier. ML were only selling them on, during the short time they were operating here in the UK.

    I bought twenty (in order to get free shipping) economy-grade flat-pack deep National brood boxes. My intention being to assemble them, cut 'em in half, add a new side, then use 'em as el cheapo 5-frame nuc boxes. I'd done this before with a batch of their premium-grade cedar boxes, and it proved to be a reasonably easy and cheap procedure. But ...

    These economy-grade boxes were really bad - I think they came from an outfit called "Knots'r'Us" ! With National boxes, each end is formed from 3 pieces - a flat 'plate' and two rails - one at the top which forms a hand-grab, and another at the bottom to match it. Most of these rails had knots in 'em which caused them to become bent like dog's-legs, and none of the mortise and tenon joints lined-up correctly. So - those boxes needed a lot of work (and filler) in order to get them into reasonable shape, and all the remaining knots had to be over-glued, as many were already becoming loose.

    Looking back, it would have been both quicker & cheaper to have made those nuc boxes from scratch, using pine pallet wood (ex Oregon - lovely stuff), and it would have been well-seasoned unlike the ML junk. Never again - if that's what commercial 'economy-grade' means - I'll make my own from now on ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  16. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,195

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    Can't imagine buying bee boxes Too easily made, considering I just bought 116 - 14' 1x12 pine. Nice quality. $0.75 a board foot

  17. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Barbados
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Oh I forgot to add, little John reminded me. If you use pallets for wood search for the stamp on the pallet of MT or HT. MT stand for methyl bromide treatment of the wood for bugs. HT stand for heat treated for bugs. Maybe domestic pallets do not need this treatment, but export pallets do. The MT treatment will adversely effect our bees.

  18. #37
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Bucks County PA
    Posts
    376

    Default Re: Building vs. Buying

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    I enjoy working in the shop and need something to keep me busy in the winter as I am one of those people who can’t sit idle (watching TV counts as sitting idle for me). On the other hand, cost is a consideration as well. If it is an item I use in quantity it is difficult to beat commercial bulk prices. I can get a box of 35 mediums from ML for $9.75 each, shipped. Building them myself costs $3-4 more per box, ignoring my time (plus it is hard to get decent lumber from the big box stores).

    I build stuff I don’t use in quantity because shipping tends to even up costs, I enjoy doing so, and have the time.

    Salvage helps when you can find usable lumber. My exception to the volume rule of thumb is frames. I can cut my own from salvaged 2x wood, which is easy to get from construction sites. I have jigs for my table saw, routing table, and drill press that let me knock them out in quantity. It takes me about 3 minutes per to go from scrap to frame parts.

    My experience, FWIW.

    Stu
    This is where buying the boxes from ML knocked down shines...good price and you still get to build them, albeit without all the "fun" of creating the joinery from scratch.
    Humble assistant to beek Alison as well as family purveyor of luxury Bee condominiums and Paparazzi activities...

  19. #38
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Barbados
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Got distracted, someone mentioned they had jigs for table saw router etc.. would they be kind enough to post pictures or plans.. sound great.
    One more comment about boxes. Living in a tropical environment. The box joints on commercial boxes rot so much faster then butt joints. IMHO box joints are a waste of labor.

  20. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Canandaigua, New York, USA
    Posts
    40

    Default

    I love shipping pallets and crates. I've made all bottom boards, inner covers, telescopic covers and quilt boxes that double as swarm traps. I also make all my pig hut hotels out of skids. These skids are usually 8-10' long and 4' high. The only money I spend is on screws and glue. My wife on the other hand wishes that I wasn't always so cheap 😂.

  21. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Sevierville TN
    Posts
    119

    Default

    I buy 1inch by 1foot rough cut white pine from a guy about 30 minutes from me with a wood mizer. some boards are a little thicker and where there are knots they bulg out a little cuz the mizer blade doesnt cut thru the knots good but at .35 cents a board foot less than $4 a deep I can't buy boxs for that anywhere. find someone with a wood mizer near you. I found this guys ad posted at the local co op. I don't make alot of money at normal job and never have enough extra to bulk order boxs so i have no choice but build cheap or don't have as many hives. id rather spend more time and less money and I have gotten alot of boxs that wouldnt fit together when I bought premade boxs ive bought maybe 10 total when I started and had at least 3 that wouldnt fit together out of the 10 ive bought. But if I had the extra money to waste id rather not build them by for now i do but still buy pre cut frames but make everything else I uss advantec for bottoms and tops.
    Last edited by mybodyisatemple76; 02-22-2020 at 05:26 AM. Reason: Added last sentence

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