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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm getting set to build some hive bodies and some nuc/swarm trap boxes (first run at building them myself) and I am wondering about the handles. All my store bought boxes have hand holds cut into the box, but I have seen several boxes that have what appears to be a 1" or 3/4" cleat maybe glued/nailed to sides as a hand hold. Is there a name for this style handle? While I guess I could tilt and raise a spinning dado blade on the table saw into the box side or use a plunge router to cut a hand hold, it seems a cleat style would be so much easier to build. The plans I got from this site use a cleat as well. Is there some drawback to this style handhold? Why do store bought hives have cut in handles if cleats are "better"? Something I should or should not do to make it work? thanks for the help, Mike.
 

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My guess would be cost. Cutting recessed handholds costs less than cutting and attaching cleats. When fastened to the outside top edge of supers, cleats reinforce the thin strip of wood there, the backing of the frame rest groove. But, at the same time they make the tops longer.
 

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What I have done, and of course your methods may vary, is use both the hand hold and the cleat.

First time, I used the dado blade to cut straight in to the wood, then angled it to get the "scoop" effect. Too much work.
Next time, I cut the 3/4" dado hand hold into all four sides of the super. Then I took my scrap lumber, 3/4" thick, and maybe an inch, to 1 1/4 wide, and nailed in on as a cleat, flush with the top of the hand hold across the ends. That way when the box is full, and heavy, I lift at the ends, and have extra purchasing power. When empty and moving around in my shop, I have the hand holds on the side for convenience. No cleat on the sides.

HOWEVER, gotta be sure to put the holds and cleats low enough so that when the telescoping cover goes on, the cleat won't prevent it from settling down as it should.

There are some who have done heat studies, and have shown there is heat loss through the dadoed hand hold, compared to the rest of the hive body. I've never seen that it has made any difference, but then, how would I know, huh? :scratch:
Regards,
Steven
 

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Bring'em down here buff and I'll Dado them for ya
 

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I build all of my boxes and I use the cleat. I think I hold it down 2 1/2 inches. I cut it out of 5/4 ,glue it and staple it. I really really prefer the handle versus the dado. I feel and ,just asked my wife,that when you are moving a hive body around or supper it just feels more secure. I dont know but it all comes down to personal preference Peace
 

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I have built boxes both ways. Using scrap wood for cleats seems to be a great way of making use of waste. I would recommend that you rip the cleats with your table saw on an angle. This lets the water shed off the top, and creates an angle that gives you better purchase in your handhold underneath. Hope that makes sense.
 

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Cleats only for me. I run mine from end to end which adds one more reinforcement to the overall box. I also angle cut my cleat on the bottom for a better grip.

Rick
 

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Hi Standman et al, I have built boxes with dadoed handholds and am now leaning towards cleats. Yes, a slope on top does help in keeping the water away more. I went just one little step further. I run the bottom of my cleats over the table saw and cut a little Kerf into them about a quarter inch back from the outside and about an eighth up into the wood. This will prevent the water to get back to the boxes. For me it was just a little thing with good effect while I had the table saw set up. I also think that cleats help in keeping the temperature better as the box side is being thinned with a dado cut and might create a cold spot. Hope this helps.Take care and have fun
 

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I don't think I buy the dado letting in the cold theory, a peice of 3/4 softwood has an r value of 1.05 (which isn't much). A 1/4" thick softwood has an r value of .35, neither has any real protection from the cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone for the discussion. I like the idea of angle cutting the cleat...makes lots of sense. Adam..thanks for the offer to cut in handles! but I think I'm going to go with the cleats. I still need to get with you on swarm season prep..I hand delivered letters to about 10 pest control companies and all the county (Walton) offices...I'm starting to think I may get more swarm calls than I want/can handle. All but one were really happy to have a beek contact them for swarm removal.
 
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