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On a thread some time back, the cost/benefit of building ones own boxes was discussed. While it may be hard to justify the time to make boxes, it was suggested that it's better to spend the time making frames.

"spend the time making frames"?

It seems to me that making frames would be much more time consuming.

Is anyone saving time or money making there own frames?
 

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I agree......I build all of my own equipment except the frames. I did initially plan to build the frames too, but after thinking through all of the different cuts, I decided buying them would be the more efficient way to go.

Blueline
 

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I build all my stuff except frames I buy them in large numbers to get them cheaper and then I have enough to help nubees get started.

Time-well I am retired so my time isnt worth much money wise but fun wise it is priceless :applause:
 

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You know I thought about this too. I looked at how cheap supers are and frames and thought Ill just buy them. Now frames I will purchases (for now) but boxes cause shipping to go way up and there for, for me it is more beneficial to make them. Shipping causes the price for each box to sky rocket!
 

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I'm making all my equipment, hive bodies, SBBs, inner and outer covers and frames. The frames are fast and easy if making a lot of them. The trick is to work smart. Be organized in the process so you make each saw set-up do the maximum work. Example, setting up the 3/4" dado blade lets me cut all the finger joints in the boxes. Also, can use it to cut the rabbet for frame rests. I can then cut the top and bottom slots on the end bars of the frames. I use the dado setup to cut the side bar tapers (optional.) Then I can use it to dado the ends of the top bars. I can then cut the slots in the SSB side rails for the bottom frame.

That just got a huge amount of work done with one saw setup, requiring me only to adjust the height or the rip fence. If you make one super and a 10 frames at a time, most of your time will be spent in saw setups. If you make a dozen hive bodies and a couple hundred frames at a time, your setup time is minimized.

It helps in that I have a small planer and also a radial arm saw used for all cross cuts.

Combine working smart with free cutoffs and long Maine winter nights, making the equipment that I will need to expand is a profitable and enjoyable process.

Wayne
 

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I typically go the lazy route with my boxes and use screws without box joints. If you don't pre-drill the screw holes, you get problems, but other than that it works great. I can put out about 2 or 3 boxes in 10 minutes or so.


I do typically build my own frames, though it does take a lot more time. I agree with Wayne, if you are doing things in bulk, like a lot of frames at once, you arn't taking as much time in setup.

For frames I typically use a 2 x 6. Cut off the rounded top and then rip the whole board down to size. Cut the dados on top and bottom using two setups, both working down the entire length of the board. Use a tall router bit on the router table to route the tapered part of the sides and then back to the table saw for cutting out the individual side pieces.

For the top bars, at least for medium and smaller sized frames, you usually have enough scrap left from the initial rip sizing to use for them. These really take the most time setup changes. I set a stop on my miter saw and cut a bunch to length. Then I start forming the ends of the top bars with various cuts using fence and height settings. Again, do cuts that are the same for each one you are doing before changing setups.

The bottom bars I can usually make out of scrap from making my boxes. They are the easiest. Rip down for thickness and width and one nice long pass for the groove and then using a stop on the miter saw to cut to length.

Honestly, if you calculated in time for how long it takes it "might" be cheaper to buy them, but my wood working is what gets me away from the computer, so I prefer making everything from scratch.
 

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I'm to the point of where I make my own screen bottom boards, tops and nuc boxes with some easy do it yourself plans. But I buy brood, medium and shallow boxes. I just don't have the $$ to buy the super duper equipment to make good boxes.
 

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You can pick up a table saw off craigslist for about $50 and it will do most of what you need to build.I picked up 2 saws for $75,one was a Craftsman and the other was a old Delta combo that had a table saw/joiner/drill press,really neat piece.I bought 2 stack dado's at a discount tool place for $8 each.I build my screened bottoms,feeder boards,inner and outer covers,double screen boards,nuc boxes and some supers.There are all kinds of simple plans on this sight and many others.There always seems to be an abundance of scrap wod laying around to build stuff with.I seldom buy any lumber,just air nails and glue.I usually pick up mismatched paint at Lowes for litle or nothing.I just got 5 gallons of barn paint for $3.When I went to check out it rang up at $96 and the manager overroad the price.You can paint a lot of stuff with 5 gals.
 

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I agree that Craigslist is a great source of material. My equipment purchases for making beekeeping:

1 heavy cast-iron top Craftsman table saw: $75 Needed hand crank and arbor wrench.
1 10" lunch box planer $75
1 Craftsman radial arm saw: $25 (needed cleanup and wood table)
1 new, cheap 2 gal. compressor and brad/staple gun (Lowes): $99
1 set dado blades (Harbor Freight) $29

All this has already paid for itself in the first batch of equipment I made. Of course, now that I have all that stuff, there's no excuse to not get on with the bookcases, kitchen shelves, etc that has been on the list to do.

Wayne
 

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I actually got into keeping bees because I love woodworking. Started off building the boxes, and have progressed to everything but the frames so far. Plan to tackle them one day, but right now, I just bought a bunch. Also got a huge box of deep & shallow frames from Freecycle--never even assembled.

Family joke: Can't buy Mom's Mother's Day presents until the Father's Day tool sale.
 

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I made 120 hives for the USF bee workshop in March and ran out. Like everyone said make one dimension at a time and run all that piece through. I have and will never make frame ends again. Top bars are the most complicated of the pieces and super sides are the easiest. There is little waste when you make your own. Frame bottom bars are mostly if not entirely from the cutoffs in my runs.
 

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You might want to go back and read that thread again. I think you have it backwards.

Most folks can't justify the time to make frames, but they do make boxes, bottoms, and lids.
 

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Woodworking is my business, but when I went to the orange box and saw how much they were charging for clear 1X8's for supers, I said no-way. If I can get 5 boxes, frames and foundation for $140 including shipping (gasp), material just for the boxes alone would be just a bit under 1/2 that. Add around $.75 per frame and $.50 cents for foundation (round-out) and you're about breaking even - without the labor, table saw, dado, dovetail, router, bits... & I have all the tools.

Sure, going with knotted pine will help you out - if you like looking thru about a 20-to-1 cull vs keeper ratio & then making sure your end cuts and hand holds don't run thru knots or splits...

If your time is money, then it hardly makes sense, if it isn't or you just like doing it - it's priceless.
 

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Making all my own stuff here. Specially in this economy and with a shop sitting idle. We have a few cold nights here in CT also. Good time to use up wood that has been collecting dust as the bees are not fussy. The frames are an opportunity to really use up the short ends and the last resort before the woodstove.
 

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Hey fellows, we are talking about hive boxes that will sit out in the weather, not fine furniture. I build all of my own equipment, except the frames. #2 white pine for the boxes and bottoms. Plywood top, with a white pine edge. I cut a rabbit joint, for the corners of the boxes, BUT, I glue it, then shoot it together with a narrow crown stapler. Boxes built like this, are stronger than the boxes built with box joints, that are not glued. They last for years. Medium supers cost about $6 to build. Just a little cheaper than you can buy them for, but the savings is not paying the shipping charges!You can also use 3/4" plywood for the bottom board, and use white pine for the sides and back.
 

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We make all of our boxes, supers, SBB's, nucs, nuc BB's and lids but we are buying frames.
 
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