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Hello everybody,

Making plans for woodenware building this fall and would like to build a bunch of Layen Hives to experiment with next spring.

Dr. Leo's recommended hive (http://www.horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/insulated-layens-hive.shtml) uses plywood with an insulating layer.

Can anyone provide their long term experiences using plywood in these designs ? I like the ease of building but I live in a high humidity environment and don't want them de-laminating inside and out, but I also don't want to use 2 layers of 2x lumber.
 

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River rat, I use regular 3/8" B/C plywood for inner covers and telescoping tops. The tops get a coat of primer and two coats of a high quality latex exterior grade paint. So far I have not had any issues with delamination, even with the heat and humidity that we get here in the Richmond area.
 

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Green, treated plywood works great.
I use it for the hive roofs, not even painted.
Should work just the same for the exterior hive envelope.
 

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Similarly, I made a Long Hive from 2x 10mm sheets of unknown grade plywood (presumably Exterior, with hindsight) glued and screwed together, maybe 10 years or more ago - still going strong with no delamination problems.

But - I also built a 6-frame nuc box from some dubious 'single-use' plywood (the stuff used with pallet deliveries) which lasted just one year before collapsing from rot. Which was a complete waste of effort.

Both given the same glue treatment along the exposed edges and the same paint job. So - the grade of plywood used is important.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the feedback everybody, I'll give them a try, see how they hold up.

Design is simple so even if they do start falling apart, it is easy enough to build/transfer/try again. I'll have enough trouble establishing from my langstroth hives.
 

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Thanks for the feedback everybody, I'll give them a try, see how they hold up.

Design is simple so even if they do start falling apart, it is easy enough to build/transfer/try again. I'll have enough trouble establishing from my langstroth hives.
what will be the trouble with establishing from the Lang hives?
Are you going with the deep frames?

There is also a double deep lang design in Dr Leos book, I have a couple of those and the establish is easy, just put the NUC or Hive in and done.

I also broke up a 30 frame long Lang, (double deep) with Queen cells this spring into 6 5 frame NUCs,, was a nice way to get some increase.

GG
 

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I built three hives from these plans this winter and just used basic 11/32" sheathing grade plywood. Two of the hives have had no issues. One hive had an issue with an exterior end panel bulging slightly in the middle. I just caulked up the gap and since it's the bottom exterior I don't think it's a serious problem. No delamination and I used two coats of a good quality exterior paint (leftovers from painting the house). Oh and I'm just west of Richmond...

I also built two swarm boxes and I did have real trouble with one of the boxes front & back panel bowing outwards. That said I hadn't had time to put metal on the roof of that box before I dropped a swarm in it so it got fairly wet with little protection this spring. I did salvage it by gluing in some supports up top to stiffen the panels & provide a frame rest. I wound up modifying that box to allow me to place it above a standard langstroth nuc box and encourage the bees to build upwards into layens frames. Looks insane but seems to be working.

My plan is to build several more hives this winter and I'll probably add some more blocking to the bottom corners of the hives. I think that will keep the exterior panels from bulging without much effect on the insulation value. With the existing plans you're just stapling/gluing the exterior panel into the end "grain" of the bottom panel so there isn't much holding power.

As far as transferring from Langstroths I only transferred one hive this year. It was a split from last year that I had just transferred into two 10 frame medium boxes. I just did a shook swarm technique with new frames and they took off. Wound up building out 12 1/2 layens frames this spring and our flow was not good. I did feed them throughout to get more wax. I also wanted to retire the old langstroth frames was so the shook swarm worked really well for me. My other layens hives are from swarms. I did not do any of techniques that involve cutting down langstroth frames or putting a shim into the layens and hanging langstroth frames.

Hello everybody,

Making plans for woodenware building this fall and would like to build a bunch of Layen Hives to experiment with next spring.

Dr. Leo's recommended hive (http://www.horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/insulated-layens-hive.shtml) uses plywood with an insulating layer.

Can anyone provide their long term experiences using plywood in these designs ? I like the ease of building but I live in a high humidity environment and don't want them de-laminating inside and out, but I also don't want to use 2 layers of 2x lumber.
 
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