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I am a beginning beekeeper, just getting ready to order and assemble my first hive boxes. Every set of instructions I have read says to nail the hive together with cement coated nails. I've always understood screws to be a more secure method of connecting wooden parts - less prone to pulling out or "popping". Is there a good reason to not use screws when assembling a hive, or is it simply traditional to use nails?
 

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nails, screws, or staples. I have seen all three used.
 

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I glue and nail mine, once painted, no problems with warping or nail pop, but several folks here have said they like screws..ease of taking apart and replacing a board I believe. I think most folks use nails cause it's faster.
 

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Once glued in the dove tail joint then nailed it aint coming apart. You can use Screws but I can drive nails faster then most people can turn a screw with a drill. 15 plus years as carpenter doing alot of framing. with out a nail gun. but use what you want its all good screws 6d box nails.
 

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Go down to Neus in Menomonee Falls and order some Maze double dipped galvanized 7d box nails. They are the best, made in Peru, Ill.


Roland
 

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Saw one of Maine's large commercial operation's booth at the Common Ground Fair last fall. All their hive bodies were screwed together. Made me give the idea another thought.

Wayne
 

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I pre-drill the holes and use screws,... makes it easier to take apart and alter at later date if necessary. I make alot of my own boxes using a rabeted joint rather than box joint. I may go to all 8 frame boxes someday, and the screws would make that transition a little easier.
 

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We are just a small operation, 20 hives and hoping to add 10 more to re-sell with Bees, but we found we curse a lot less putting them together with galvanized decking screws and TitebondII than nails. No splitting problems so far. We do pre-drill.:):):)
 

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Thanks for all the great thoughts. I guess I'll go with screws. Unlike some of you, I'm not a very fast nailer, I can drive a screw straighter than I can nail, and ... so far at least ... I've never hit my thumb with my drill driver!
 

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Here in Tucson, Arizona I started out building my supers with various waterproof glues and galvanized nails. In other areas of this country, that seemed to work just fine. But I finally gave up on that fastening system, I then tried galvanized ring-shank nails, but despite the glue, even the ring-shank nails soon walked out of the wood (lots of temperature change day vs night). I had some coated deck screws (3-1/2" long), left over from building a wheel-chair ramp for my wife. I used some to assemble supers. I first clamped them tightly together, making sure they were square, then pre-drilled 1-1/2" long pilot holes. Using a drill or power screwdriver I drove the screws in nice and tight.

This is the beginning of the fourth year since I began using coated deck screws to hold my supers together. Some of the screws in the oldest ones have loosened slightly. A quick twist with a power screw driver and the supers are again firm and tight. When I tried doing this same thing with nails that had walked out, it never succeeded, the nails would walk out again within a week or two. It costs much more than nails to use coated deck screws, but money is saved by not needing to use glue, and the increased versatility of using this method of fastening. I will continue using them until an even more practical fastening method presents itself.
 

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I think I can answer the question - 'why use nails instead of screws'? Simply put - because 'that's the way it's always been done' or 'we've always done it this way'. Among the most dangerous or silliest 6 or 7 words one can speak on almost any subject.

There is nothing wrong with screws, splitting wood can be prevented by lubing screws w/ beeswax - all old-time carpenters know this trick of lubing nails or screws with beeswax. Pre-drilling, using self-drilling screws or thinner shank screws will also lessen the splitting problem. Mechanical fasteners, whether nails or screws are used to hold things together until a permanent glue sets up. The reason builders use adhesive and screws on subfloor or drywall is to hold the sheet goods in place until the adhesives take over holding power.

For speed, I like 1/2" crown staples - they hold like crazy (cement-coated two legs of holding power), inexpensive, drive faster than my wife, etc.
 

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I only have a few hives, so I use screws at the top and bottom, nails in between. On the screws at the top that hold the thin piece of wood - at the rabbet - I use screw washers with the screws. I figure that might help support the wood if I push too hard trying to get a frame out.
 

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Screws wouldn't necassarily be any better than nails since once you have gone through one board you would be screwing into end grain. I would think that you wouldn't really get much purchase in the end grain, you'd just be cutting the wood fibers.

Which ever you use, nails, staples or screws (expensive, imo) add some glue to the process. It'll be worth the effort.

Since properly used glue will hold better than nails, staples or screws, generally speaking in wood joinery, does anyone glue their boxes together and only glue? Probably not, I'd guess.
 
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