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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m buying new deeps and was wondering what I can use to keep the natural wood look instead of painting.
 

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You could paint it with UV inhibited varnish (spar varnish) or similar clear urethanes but they are not cheap. I have some friends with natural wood exteriors on houses and it is high maintenance to keep it looking good. I really like the look of bright wood especially if you bring out the contrast first with a propane torch like Lorrie has done and posted pics of here on the forum.

But unless you keep it maintained it starts to look sad like a wrinkled and soiled party dress.
 

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Good luck high maintenance. As a painting contractor the only thing that have given my customers time. Is Sikens. At $90 per gallon. Most spar varnish these days are junk. If you get lucky maybe a year
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I’m buying two new complete hives and think maybe I’ll try the natural look on one of them. Seems to be more work compared to just painting.
 

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Agree with My-smokepole on the Sikkens exterior grade stain. I use the mahogany because I like the reddish color. I've also used the light oak stain. My hives are in full sun most of the day. I get 3 to 5 years before I have to sand the wooden ware and restain.
 

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I haven't tried this on a hive body, only on hive stands. I apply four coats of boiled linseed oil over about ten days. BLO polymerizes very slowly and it takes a long time to fully cure, you'll need to leave it out in sunshine for about three weeks. It will never cure in the cold. The finish lasts about four years. It is easy to renew, just clean it and apply one new coat with a rag. Caution: Linseed oil is the stuff that makes rags spontaneously combust. I solve the problem by burning the rags in my fire pit, but you can lay them flat on the ground and then throw them away after they have dried.

For hive boxes I use whatever exterior paint they have on the mis-tint rack at my local Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore stores. I quit looking for exterior mis-tints at the BORG* cubes because they rarely had exterior paint mis-tints and I'm not going to waste effort with latex paints.

*Big Orange Retail Giant

(BLO tends to get sticky with multiple coats if applied too fast. Day 1, first coat, day 2 second coat, day 5 third, day 10 fourth)
 

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I use a Decking oil mixed with some exterior grade varnish.

Rather than painting, get a large shallow plastic container large enough to put a Deep on its side.
Fill it up while the Deep is in the container until it reaches half the thickness of the wood (so that it does not get on the inside of the Deep). Let it soak in for several minutes, then rotate the box and soak the next side and so on for each side. Repeat for other boxes.

Once finished pour the oil back into the tin for next time. Most oil drains off, then wipe the remaining thin film off with a rag. (Make sure the rag is flat and dries out before putting in the bin, as I believe it can heat up and self combust when drying.)
 

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With my location being relatively close to some neighbors and somewhat "exposed" from a road side, I've decided that the natural wood look is also beneficial from a "camoflage" standpoint as well... It takes a bit of time, but here is the method I have been using successfully so far below, so I can get pine boxes to look like premium cedar :)

First off, I have NOT had good success with either Thompsons or spar varnish. The Thompsons seems to still be able to absorb water after a while and doesn't protect well from UV, and the varnish only lasts a little over a season (including winter) before it starts to peel a bit (probably with help from the bees). BLO also seems to peel after a while, and it gives pine a bit of a yellow un-natural outdoor look that I don't like.

1. Start with a clean clear pine super, sanded nicely
2. Coat the outside of the box with a solution made from 1 gallon of white bleach and 2 unoiled 0000 steel wool pads. Allow the pads to soak in the vinegar for a week or so, and they'll disappear. It turns the fluid sort of a reddish color probably from the iron. A gallon will last for ages. I use a cheap sponge brush.
3. Allow this to dry all the way overnight, and then do another coat, allow to dry again
4. Now, apply at least 1 coat of diluted lye water with a brush to the outside. This is where the magic happen, the lye reacts with the iron solution and the pine, and turns the wood into a beautiful shade of "faux cedar". I've found that I like 2 coats better than 1, but it's nearly the same, and color tends to depend on the strength of your lye solution. Be careful to protect you hands, eyes, and lungs from the lye though
5. Once this is all dry, coat the outside of the box with at least 2 coats of Ace Hardware "SealTech" water based outdoor waterproofing sealer. It doesn't impart a yellow color, soaks in well, seals nicely, and hasn't seemed to lose it's protection over time. It is also UV resistant, so none of my stuff has turned grey. Still darkens a bit from sunlight, but not grey or weathered at all.

Here is a link to the product:
http://acehardwaremaldives.com/product/paint/16252/#.XnC_pWApC70

That's it, hope it can be helpful to somebody. There really is nothing like a beautiful hive built with quality materials and finished nicely, especially when it can look like that for more than the first few months :)
 

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Hockey fan you by chance a gun builder? I iron way is one of the old timer stain stocks. With some heat.
 

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I too am looking into this. There are posts that say the Thompson's didn't last or stick well
Trying to find the easiest & cheapest way like a spray can maybe? Yeah I know we all are.
I don't want to wax it but May Tung oil it.

Anyone done this and had the hives for at Least 5 years to show or say how well it worked?
I got new stuff coming and want to get ready.
I do have latex Oops paint already from other projects so I could do that too but it just takes such a long time with many coats (used to be married to a house painter)
 

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2. Coat the outside of the box with a solution made from 1 gallon of white bleach and 2 unoiled 0000 steel wool pads. Allow the pads to soak in the vinegar for a week or so, and they'll disappear.)
:scratch: I am a little confused, are we supposed to bleach or vinegar?
 

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I am also confused on the bleach or vinegar. Betting it's white vinegar

I bought some tung oil, after seeing how another beek's boxes turned out, but how they did over time I don't know as he sold his hives and moved away
 

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:scratch: I am a little confused, are we supposed to bleach or vinegar?
OMG sorry everybody, this should have said white VINEGAR... Not sure how I screwed that up. This technique is sometimes called "ebonizing" since it turns things like white oak nearly black, but since pine has very little tannin, it just turns more brown instead of having a yellow tint like you get from BLO. The lye afterward gives it a more reddish tone like cedar, so I really like the look. I'll have to take a few pictures if anybody is interested. Because I am a hobbyist, I have more time to do such things than the people here with more meaningful experience :)

BTW, using lye is an oxidizer, and has lots of interesting effects for some wood types. For instance, if you put lye on a piece of cherry, it'll look like 20 years of age coloration INSTANTLY. Just a fun experiment.

For topcoat, I use a water-based sealer from Ace Hardware that goes on a bit white, and dries clear. Mostly all soaks in, doesn't crack, water beads off, doesn't impart any color, it resists UV damage, and it's cheap. Seems like most of the benefits of stuff like Tung oil without the time to apply multiple coats, and it costs MUCH less.
 

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OMG sorry everybody, this should have said white VINEGAR... Not sure how I screwed that up. This technique is sometimes called "ebonizing" since it turns things like white oak nearly black, but since pine has very little tannin, it just turns more brown instead of having a yellow tint like you get from BLO. The lye afterward gives it a more reddish tone like cedar, so I really like the look. I'll have to take a few pictures if anybody is interested. Because I am a hobbyist, I have more time to do such things than the people here with more meaningful experience :)

BTW, using lye is an oxidizer, and has lots of interesting effects for some wood types. For instance, if you put lye on a piece of cherry, it'll look like 20 years of age coloration INSTANTLY. Just a fun experiment.

For topcoat, I use a water-based sealer from Ace Hardware that goes on a bit white, and dries clear. Mostly all soaks in, doesn't crack, water beads off, doesn't impart any color, it resists UV damage, and it's cheap. Seems like most of the benefits of stuff like Tung oil without the time to apply multiple coats, and it costs MUCH less.
I would LOVE a pic please :D
 
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