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Have any of you ever used standard lumber dimensions for the depth of your hive bodies - 11 1/4 inches for a 1X12? Are there any reasons not to go with it - besides being stuck making your own frames also? How did the 9 5/8 inches dimension get established?
 

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It has to do with "bee space" that distance where two bees can pass each other on the wall of the hive and the frame, between frames, etc. Too much space and the bees fill it with comb, too little and they glue it up with propolis. The 9 5/8 inch depth of the deeps gives bee space everywhere when the frames are spaced correctly. Same with the other sizes of equipment. If you use the 11 1/4" width the bees might give you a mess. They would probably at least add comb on the bottoms of your frames if you were lucky to fill the space to the proper bee space. Good question.
The other reason is like you said, you'd have to make your own frames.
 

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The bees won't care as much as we do about box size. They might even like it better, as it would give them a taller comb without breaks. The biggest drawback that I can think of is having to then make my own non standard frames.
 

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Have any of you ever used standard lumber dimensions for the depth of your hive bodies - 11 1/4 inches for a 1X12? Are there any reasons not to go with it - besides being stuck making your own frames also? How did the 9 5/8 inches dimension get established?
Started out that the sizes of boxes were from what LLLangstroth had at hand and then manufacturers got into standardizing stuff.
 

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> How did the 9 5/8 inches dimension get established?

No doubt that was a convenient dimension when rough cut boards were the predominant form of lumber on the market - that would have been largely from a local mill. Lumber was shipped by horse & wagon and/or boat. At that time a 1x10 was adequate for building a deep.

As railroads became more widespread, lumber was shipped over longer distances, and large lumber mills became the standard, and it didn't take too long to figure out that it was cheaper to do the planing to size at the original mill instead of at the customer's location. Also, planing the board at the mill reduces the weight and means more boards can fit in a railcar. Eventually, market forces have changed the standard 1x10 down to 9.25", but beekeepers practices have not changed even though the overall lumber market changed.

If you make your own custom sized boxes and frames, you won't be able to mix n' match with commercial products. Its doable, but you may regret that choice down the road. Why not buy rough cut 1x10s, dry them or hire it done, then use them to make standard sized boxes?

.
 

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> How did the 9 5/8 inches dimension get established?

No doubt that was a convenient dimension when rough cut boards were the predominant form of lumber on the market


Considering that Langstroth died in 1895 when rough cut lumber was really a 2" X 10", not 1 1/2" X 9 1/2",or any other variant, that would hardly be the case. As sqkcrk has already pointed out, Langstroth had some boxes on hand that were that particular depth.
 

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Well, boards actually, from which he made boxes. Probably bought some from a mill and planed them thereby making them less than 10 inches wide.

Too bad dimensions weren't set when plywood was around or we would have hives better suited to 15 3/4 inches rather than 16 1/4 inches wide.
 

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> Langstroth had some boxes on hand that were that particular depth.

A 10" rough cut board from a mill, particularly when local saw mills were likely to be circle mills (not bandsaws) is likely to have had pretty rough edges. I think that those beekeepers would likely have edged/planed the boards to get a standard, uniform size - and that was 9 5/8".

Langstroth may have already had some boards on hand, but why would you expect that those boards were not some kind of established standard lumber size? :scratch:
 

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Could have been gang saw mills too. A sash saw set up in a water wheel mill.

Boards coming off of circular saw sawmills around here aren't as rough as rough cut might make one think. Though not what I would call smooth either. But the rough cut planks in the walls of my house, built around the same time as LLL was alive and keeping bees, those planks are actually pretty smooth, though not planed.
 

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When I first started building boxes, I fulminated against the archaic size standard, which is oversize for the modern 1x10

Then I started finding uses for the ripped piece. Recently I purchased a whole bunch of 1x2 furring, because I had completely run out of the cut-off from ripping down 1 x12 and needed that size. I was ripping boards just to get the cut-off piece.

Yes, the old oversize standards are frustrating, that 16 1/4 wastes sheet goods.

You can furr out the bottom of a 1x10 with some 1/4 inch bender board -- I know I have.
You can deepen the notch on the endbars 1/4", and this shortens the frame. This can be done with a hand saw and chisel -- I know I have.
Split bottom frames let you use foundation on the narrowed frames. or go foundationless.

If you promise only to use the 1x10 undersize boxes on the bottom, you can use them with regular frames, and the extra depth of the frames hangs into the extra space of the bottom board (which is greater than bee space in most designs). I know I have, but discovered that promise is impossible to keep.

When I lived in Costa Rica, the sawyers would cut 1 x board freehand with a chainsaw. The chain was sharpened for rip cutting, but a chalk line and a steady hand produced boards from tropical hardwood (and a lot of sawdust).
 

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I was accounting for those issues with the frame consideration. Any others?
Manufactured foundation won't work either. Are you planning to extract your honey or crush and strain? You'd have to build your own extractor too, if you want to extract. It can all be done, of course. But it's kinda like reinventing the wheel just to avoid cutting down the 1 x 12. Much more work in the long run. And how many other pieces of equipment won't work so you might have to reinvent them too? If you ever want to buy, sell, or swap nucs or frames, your nonstandard equipment will give you yet more headaches. You'll really have to think long and hard about how much using nonstandard equipment could increase your costs instead of saving you money.

JMO

Rusty
 

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> Langstroth had some boxes on hand that were that particular depth.

A 10" rough cut board from a mill, particularly when local saw mills were likely to be circle mills (not bandsaws) is likely to have had pretty rough edges. I think that those beekeepers would likely have edged/planed the boards to get a standard, uniform size - and that was 9 5/8".

Langstroth may have already had some boards on hand, but why would you expect that those boards were not some kind of established standard lumber size? :scratch:

Please point out to me where I said there was no standard lumber size!?!

I merely stated that a 2x10 was in fact exactly two inches thick by ten inches wide, not what we currently have.
 

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Please point out to me where I said there was no standard lumber size!?!
Your statement of:
Langstroth had some boxes on hand that were that particular depth.
in reference to boxes that are 9 5/8" deep certainly sounds to me as though you were asserting that the size chosen for hive bodies was more or less a randomly chosen size.


My point in post #6 (that you were responding to) was that a hive body 9 5/8" deep was likely a convenient size given the 1x10 "rough cut" lumber that was available at that time.

Whether a rough cut 1x10 was exactly a full 10 inches after cutting (no kerf allowance), or whether that 1x10 was slightly smaller than 10" (with an allowance for the kerf loss) isn't something that is easy prove. In the lumber market that existed at that time, mills tended to be small and local as shipping lumber was quite expensive. It may be that it was only as mills became larger after railroads became widespread that lumber sizes were standardized on a more or less national basis.

Over the decades since, those "standardized" lumber sizes have progressively shrunk bit-by-bit until we have got to the "now" standard of 9.25" for a 1x10 board.

My bottom line: the 9 5/8" hive body depth was chosen because that was a depth that could consistently, conveniently, and economically be constructed from the 1x10 lumber available at that time.

.
 

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75 years ago hive boxes were almost all 7/8 thick, the inside dimensions were the same as now. in Canada 7/8 boxes are still common also betterbee is still using 7/8. some us makers are making 9 1/2 deeps, these are short on bee-space for std. frames but they will work. a lot of the 1x12's on the market are not that great a grade so ripping down to 9 5/8 will allow you to rip off some of the problems and besides what is left will work for telo cover edges , shims, or inner cover edges... some of what is offered in the big box home centers the mills would refuse to take when I logged 35 years ago, now they call this rubbish "select". get used to cutting out the problems... the so called 1x10 planed to standard of 7/8 x 9 5/8 goes back something like a hundred or 120 years ago I think, not all the way back to rev. langsworths time. this was when mfg. bee supplies became popular.
 

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Your statement of:

in reference to boxes that are 9 5/8" deep certainly sounds to me as though you were asserting that the size chosen for hive bodies was more or less a randomly chosen size.


My point in post #6 (that you were responding to) was that a hive body 9 5/8" deep was likely a convenient size given the 1x10 "rough cut" lumber that was available at that time.

Whether a rough cut 1x10 was exactly a full 10 inches after cutting (no kerf allowance), or whether that 1x10 was slightly smaller than 10" (with an allowance for the kerf loss) isn't something that is easy prove. In the lumber market that existed at that time, mills tended to be small and local as shipping lumber was quite expensive. It may be that it was only as mills became larger after railroads became widespread that lumber sizes were standardized on a more or less national basis.

My bottom line: the 9 5/8" hive body depth was chosen because that was a depth that could consistently, conveniently, and economically be constructed from the 1x10 lumber available at that time.
"My statement of" was a non verbatim quote from a previous post, please read again. I asserted nothing, merely stated lumber dimensions from that period. Granted there was no specific standardization.
 

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Whether a rough cut 1x10 was exactly a full 10 inches after cutting (no kerf allowance), or whether that 1x10 was slightly smaller than 10" (with an allowance for the kerf loss) isn't something that is easy prove.

My bottom line: the 9 5/8" hive body depth was chosen because that was a depth that could consistently, conveniently, and economically be constructed from the 1x10 lumber available at that time.
As someone who pulled a pit saw for 5 years I can attest as to how 18th and early 19th century lumber was produced. A line was scribed on the end of a log using a plumb bob as a guide for the square and then another linbe was scribed on the other end of the log and then another line 1" or whatever thickness of board one wanted was also scribed and so on across the one end and the other end. Then a chalk line was laid down the length of the log as a guide for the sawyer to follow. So, a one inch board never has been full thickness, unless kerf was allowed for.

Milled lumber when mills were first set up to mill lumber followed the lead of pit sawing by mimicing the up and down stroke of a narrow blade, one blade at first and then multiple parallel blades in the same frame or sash, thus sash sawn lumber was made.

Then, years later, eventually being able to make a large flat disc w/ teeth that could be sharpened was developed and we got the circular saw. The boards in my house were not cut w/ a circular saw, here in northern NY back in the 1860s. One can see the saw marks on the exposed boards. They were cut w/ a sash saw.

But, like what was pointed out, unless the kerf was taken into consideration in the rough cutting process one will not have full size lumber. And as someone who worked in the 18th century and has worked around modern though old , mostly Amish run, saw mills, the Miller is going to sell you the saw dust whether you take it w/you when you pick up your lumber or not. Understand?

You don't just pay for what you buy, you pay for the production too. That is true in all transactions, I garontee.
 

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I have no problem making my own woodenware. I make most of my own equipment, including frames. But I do have problems working with frames that are more than 6-1/4" deep. Deeper frames are just too unwieldy. I understand that running traditional deep supers and frames is somewhat more efficient, but it still isn't for me.
 
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