I am going to build some 8 frame medium boxes. I have bee looking at some wood and have seen some white wood. Is white wood actually white oak or is it something else? Can this type of wood be used to build the boxes.
Yes, you can build hives from poplar. Whether it is a good choice for hives partly depends on the price, and whether you plan to keep it painted. Poplar certainly is not as decay resistant as say cypress.
I build my hives out of free recycled lumber. Most of what I collect is spruce-pine-fir (construction type lumber).
Whitewood is usually spruce or fir. It's not a good choice for woodenware. It will quickly rot. In the south, IMO the best 2 wood choices we have are southern yellow pine and cypress. Cypress doesn't grow in my area so I use SYP.
In my area, standard pine boards are perfect for woodenware. You need to be picky when you select them but I can almost always find what I need.
Painting the parts that are weather exposed is critical for durability. 2-3 coats of decent exterior house paint. Color does not matter except considering that dark colors will absorb heat. Depending on hive placement that may or may not be good. There are guides on the web that will tell exactly which faces need to be painted.
Give your painted woodenware time to completely dry and air out. Beees are not crazy about the smell of fresh paint.
I don't think finger joints are neccesary unless you are going to be moving your boxes around a lot and want to grow a big operation. For the backyard beekeeper, I think glued and nailed dado joints are plenty strong.
Handholds are another consideration. If you are a bigger operation and need to store a lot of hives close together or stack them tightly on the back of a truck bed, then you probably want the traditional cut in hand holds.
But if your a hobbyist and don't have the tools or skills for cut in handholds, it seems to me that the nailed on runner is fine.
All of this is more to suit you and your operation. The bees don't much care.
I just dove into this beekeeping thing and bought the supers and covers for one hive, built 2 solid bottom boards out of oak veneered plywood and pine, and the boxes for the supers for a second hive out of pine or whatever I had laying around. I decided to go with pocket holes since they are so easy to do if you have the jig. Between wood glue and screws, I figured they would hold up well. I did fill all the holes on the insides with plugs or putty to hopefully eliminate any spots that disease could grow. I also made the jig to cut the handholds...and I must say...it was pretty slick. The plans for it are on the build it yourself section of beesource. I primed and put 2 coats of paint to everything. The only thing I painted on the inside was the bottom boards since they are made of plywood...I wanted to seal in any solvents that may be off-gassing.
The bees seem to like it just fine.
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