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So far all of my stuff is Mann Lake, plus a bit a free stuff a friend gave me, but my local farm supply store started carrying Little Giant bee keeping equipment. Is the LG stuff worth buying? It is priced very reasonably but if it is junk, I would rather just spend my money elsewhere.
 

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I don't have any Little Giant equipment. :)


However, Little Giant is a brand of Miller Manufacturing, which is part of the Frandsen Corporation. Also in the Frandsen family is Kelley Beekeeping.
http://www.miller-mfg.com/little-giant-leaders.html
Odds are that most of the common products sold by both Kelley and Little Giant are manufactured in the same plant. That does not necessarily mean all the products are identical, as different grades are manufactured in some lines.

Note that by distributing via truck to local stores, Little Giant may have a slight cost advantage of delivered product (compared to Kelley) as the Kelley distribution system is based around small package carriers like UPS for each small to medium shipment. Of course, that may vary depending on the volume going to a specific location.
 

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Welcome to Beesource Clint!

It seems to me that a relationship with a local supplier would be priceless. You can depend on Graham's logic whenever it is offered, it makes sense to me. :)
 

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I ordered some woodenware from Kelleys last year and part of the order was an assembled deep complete with frames that was Little Giant brand. Seemed to be pretty good quality to me, it was better then the commercial grade unassembled stuff I received in the order. I wouldnt hesitate to buy it again, especially in your situation having it locally. Hope that helps some.
 

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I'd try to get permission to look inside the box. If the wood is dense, the joint cuts are clean, the grain near the finger joints are straight, and the joints seem to fit tightly, they are probably pretty good. Also, if you are adept at determining which wood was used, you can tell a bit more about the quality. Bald cypress is excellent and costs more, Douglas Fir is good, as is sugar pine. Ponderosa pine is OK, but don't let it sit around too long - build the boxes before it warps. White pine is poor, redwood is poor, poplar is very poor.

I build my own boxes, and sell them to other beekeepers. My main concern is selecting the wood that puts decent grain in the areas from which the finger joints will be cut, no knots nor wavy grain that makes staples stick out the sides.

An assembly jig and some pipe clamps really help when assembling boxes. Most commercial beekeepers buy the cheapest grade boxes possible - knot holes everywhere - and build them good and square when assembling. Treating the assembled boxes with hot beeswax or boiled linseed oil sure makes pine boxes last longer out in the weather.
 

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I was able to tour kelley beekeeping's old manufacturing facility on a curiosity trip to clarkson, ky this summer. They have built a new facility but it was not up and running then. They appeared to be producing wooden ware for little giant as there were pallets of little giant supers boxed up and ready for shipment. At the time they were having a huge sale on 2 frame stainless extractors that were going out in little giant boxes but i do not believe they were made in house. Chinese made I am pretty sure.
 
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