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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning on making my own hive bodies and supers, just for kicks. Anyone know an easy way to make those indented hive handles with home woodworking tools? I'm guessing it would involve a router, but can't wrap my head around how to do it.
 

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The easiest way would be with a table saw and a dado blade. Adjust the rip fence to the correct position to put your hand hold in the correct spot. Clamp a stop block so your your handles are all in the same spot. Put your dado blade expanded to the maximum width, lower it all the way, clamp your hive sides to the table, turn on the saw and raise the blade to the depth you like, lower the blade, turn the saw off, unclamp and repeat.

BB
 

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I do as BB says, but I put the hand holds a tad lower to accomodate a cleat nailed across the ends of the super. For me the dado hand hold is a tad small, and the cleat gives extra purchase. Just be sure you can put a telescoping lid on with the cleat there...

I use 1"x1" scrap lumber for my cleats and run them all the way across the ends of the super. I tried to duplicate the nice deep hand holds made by the commercial manufacturers, but gave it up.
Regards,
Steven
 

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I use 1X2 s. all the way across when they are full they are heavy and the 2 inch gives me a better grip. I got a little arthritis in the hands so I go for all the extra I can. I mark a mid line on the super and put the top of the cleat on that line. Just preference with me to have the cleat lower.

Rick SoMd
 

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table saw like described is the best bet. I've also done it with a circular saw built a jig so the cut would be centered and about 2 inches high and keep swiping with the circular saw till its done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I can definitely see how the cleats would be easier on the hands, but I just like the classic look of the inset handle. The table saw method should work, more or less.. a little more rough and manual than I'd prefer, though. Maybe I can come up with a proper jig that'll make it easier to do the 40 or so of these I'll need to do. That or I'll break down and just nail something on the outside like a sane person.
 

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I use a plunge router with a 3/4 inch bit and a jig that places the handhold in the position I want. Cleats are good but I find they trap water behind them and cause rot.
 

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Did you get into beekeeping to be a weight lifter?
when you put that little hand hold in the end and lift a super with your fingers you will want somthing else
All my boxes have 1inch by 2inch cleat/handle
everybody that sees them hates them till they lift a full box then they love them :D
only problem is if you have thousands of them then its a space issue

apism
still has strong back/weak mind :)
 

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I use a router and a simple jig I made from 1/4" plywood. The jig has a kind of "window" cutout. I clamp the jig to the side of the box and run the router around the inside of the "window" as a guide. Done.

I've been assembling the boxes then doing the handhold routing but as I ramp up production of boxes, I'm going to make a long, 4-hole jig that covers all 4 (unassembled) sides and cut them all prior to assembly.

I also like the look of a recessed hand-hold, don't feel like I need to be a weightlifter to lift the boxes and can not be swayed by the cleat enthusiasts. They have tried and failed every time the question is asked about how to cut hand-holds.

Wayne
 

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A plunge router and a jig will work well. A friend of mine uses a jig made to recess door hinges. I have done my recessed handles on a table saw with a dado blade. I can send details if you are interested.

The problem with most homemade recessed handles is that the bottom of the recess is square, and tends to hold water. You can mitigate this to some degree by filling that area with a thick coat of paint. My favorite boxes (to pick up when full) are the ones with cleat handholds. One suggestion if you decide to do cleats: slant your table saw 15 degrees or so when you rip your 1 x 2s. This produces a slant on the top which sheds water and on the bottom which gives you more "bite" on your fingertips.
 

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I use a router with a straight cutting bit and and a guide bushing to make these handholds:



Here's the jig:



And here's the router setup:



It's fast and safe and makes a cutout almost like a factory one, but to tell the truth I prefer cleats - they are easier to hold on to.
 

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I make my own and use the dado method for my medium honey supers. It is so easy but I use a 3/4" straight bit mounted in a rather large shaper. I just make pencil marks on the fence for the drop and lift points.
As for hive bodies I highly recommend cleats. They not only are much easier on the fingers but also help tie the boxes sides together and if you have to lay a box on end they automatically tilt the box so frames don't fall out. I was considering using them on the honey supers I make as well just for this reason. For me it is very handy to lay a box on end and blow out bees or just put them on end while doing something else and not having frames fall out is a plus that is hard to imagine if you have not had this feature. As for rot I suppose this is true but using urethane glue makes me confident they won't rot-if you start to see rotting you can repair it before it destroys the woodenware. A fat bead of caulk troweled into the "joint" with your thumb would make a smooth transition and shed water.
 

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A 12” drill press is my machine of choice -- you only need the right cutter. I believe is much safer and faster than using a radial arm or table saw for a cutout handle. I would be okay with a router but I have seen other threads in which folks were critical of a handle that does not drain. Once I have everything setup a can make a handle cutout in 20 seconds, they are tapered, and smooth. I also have a vacuum port at the edge of the cutter to suck up all of the dust. See photo link below.

Specifics -- I use a contour wheel (Kutzall extreme contour wheel – (stock number 107) with 50 grit – and adapter (stock number 840) $22.50 // http://www.kutzalltools.com/) in a drill press. The wheel has flared sides and is 2 1/2" in diameter and 1 1/16" deep. I made a wooden jig that slides across the table while holding the wood at the appropriate angle. I built stops to limit the travel of the cut. The height of the handle cutout from the top of the box side is determined by the distance of the table from the cutter which you can control either by moving the spindle or the table. The depth of the cut is controlled by a guide on the underside of the jig that makes contact with the front of the drill press table. The lumber plank is also held by stops made the length of the longest side that can then be limited to center short sides as well.

Email me if you need addition information: [email protected]

http://i876.photobucket.com/albums/ab326/carlinmo/Handlecuttout.jpg
 

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this is another variation on the router jig. I use a dovetail bit in the router to make the top of the handle perpendicular to the box. the wings on the sides let me clamp it to the completed box sides while I cut.


 

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i use two 2x4s laid flat on each side of a table saw blade. I then lay my plank of wood that the handle is to be cut in on top of that and center it up with the fence. I then crank up the blade until it raises the plank up about 3/8 of an inch. I then crank the blade over to a 45 degree angle, the blade will not be touching the hive body. Now turn on the saw and crank the angle adjustment to 90 degrees and back to 45 degrees. This will angle the blade into the hive body and cut with the side of the blade. Its hell on a blade but makes nice handles.
 

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I also like the look of a recessed hand-hold, don't feel like I need to be a weightlifter to lift the boxes and can not be swayed by the cleat enthusiasts. They have tried and failed every time the question is asked about how to cut hand-holds.

Wayne
The simplest way i have found to do them is to get a dado blade, and set it for 13/16" or as close to it as you can get.
Set the height of the blade to 1/2"
mark the center on the fence. Then mark the edge for a long side and a short end marking them as long and short.

Then take your piece and lift 1 edge up so you clear the blade and push up against the fence and then hold it securely at one end and slowly drop the other end down.

It will cut square and neatly. i can do 10 hives worth of handles in about 5 min this way.

What i do is line up the end edge with the mark i made on the fence, then set the other end down.
 
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