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If one is going to build a good number of hives, make up a nice, square assembly clamping block just 1/64th of an inch smaller than the inside dimensions of the hive. Surround the block with a layer of light brown plastic postal tape (easy to sponge off the glue).

Dip the finger joints into the glue pan, assemble the sides correctly, squeegee off the excess glue (scrape it back into the glue pan), clamp it with pipe clamps, pop the first 8 to 16 staples, nails, or screws, remove the beehive from the assembly jig, check it for squareness with your framing square, complete the stapling or other fasteners, then damp sponge off any last bit of excess glue.

Building both frames and hives, I used a Hitachi narrow crown 2" stapler for frames, and a Senco 2-1/2" stapler for hive bodies and supers. I love the Hitachi, it never even blinked once. The Senco was a bit sensitive and double shot once in a while, but it drove wide crown staples better than my mentor's pro-quality guns.

A few years later, I tried the Campbell Hausfield finish nailer and was impressed how little damage it did to the wood grain compared to staples, and how well two nails splayed at slight angles to each other hold very well.

After numerous tests breaking glue joints, glue and staple joints, glue and nail joints, and glue and screw joints, I now trust either 2-1/2" long staples with Titebond III or 2 stainless nails 2-1/2" or longer at approximately 5 to 10 degrees away from each other with Titebond III. These tests were similar to the construction of my hive brood boxes and supers.

For frames, I trust 1-3/4" narrow crown staples with Titebond III. If I had the precision of nail location accurate enough to test the frames with brads, I would like to have tested them, but the stapler proved much more efficient at making the joint right the first time, due entirely to ease of locating the staple where I wanted it.

All samples so built broke wood other than the glued and fastened joint. One instance of a frame glued only with no fasteners broke across a glued surface in the weakest area where the glue joint was smallest, so go ahead and fasten them.

In all cases, make a keen effort to ensure that wood grain near the joints is straight and free of knots. Also try to keep knots out of the rebated ledges and where hive edges touch other hive parts. Small, tight, integral knots in the middle part of a board away from joints and shape features are acceptable.

Once boards are cut and waiting assembly ("knockdown stacks"), clamp many of them together with bar clamps to prevent warping.

Over the years I've developed a preference for the cup of the wood facing in rather than out. This means that the corners all touch and the middle finger joints have the largest gaps before gluing and clamping. I mark each corner in pencil AA, BB, CC, and DD and mark inside, outside, and top before mock-up and assembly.

If an assembled box is out of square after stapling, make 4 V-blocks and use a long pipe clamp with 2 V-blocks against the narrow ends until square. Top edges may be the same or opposite as the bottom, so you may have to cross-clamp the bottom narrow corners until they also come square. Check immediately after removing from the assembly block, and again after the last staples are in, and apply the V-blocks as necessary BEFORE THE GLUE DRIES.
 

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For boxes, I don't over think! I just dip the fingers in the glue pan and assemble them with 2 3/8" galvanized ring shank framing nails. I don't even put all 4 sides together at once. I first nail one long side corners to two short sides with just one "tack" nail in the middle of each glued corner. Then put the other long side on and tack nail with two more nails. wipe oozed glue to seal the end grains. Measure for square and nail the rest of the fingers working outwards from the center nail. Add only two nails outwards from center per joint at a time to keep the joints tight. Wipe the final assembly. I tack nail on the work table and rest of the nails with box resting on the ground. No jig, no fancy clamps. I can do a box every 5 minutes.
 
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