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Where do you get your 1.25" frame nails?

1600 Views 13 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  NewbeeInNH
Who knew they would be so hard to find! I didn't order nails from the bee supply company when I ordered my hives, because I thought - meh, I could probably get those cheaper at a big box store. Well, to put it shortly, hahahaha. I went on a quest last night and the price was $1.50 for 1.75 oz. (looks like about 50 nails), while the bee supply's price was $3.50 for 1,150 nails. DOH. I can't just order nails now from the bee supply company because shipping prices would make it a wash (or worse).

Is there a secret to finding large batches locally of 1.25" frame nails? I guess they're considered hobby nails instead of construction supplies, so they aren't as easy to find.
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I would go to a harbor freight if you have one, buy a Nailer/stapler (or two):

and ammo:

1 1/8 or 1 1/2 inch staples ...

Make a jig:

Sure makes putting frames together fast. I can do 50-60 per hour pretty easy with this setup.

I have two guns - one for top and bottom bars shooting staples, and another loaded with brads I shoot through the sidebar into the topbar to give extra strength. I use tightbond II glue on my frames.

The harbor freight guns are cheap enough, and with 20-25% off coupons if they break-down, just go buy another one.
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I started with nails and have switched to the 1 1/2" staples also. If you get the HF gun, be sure to get the one that shoots staples and brads.
I haven't built a frame jig yet. Going from hammering wire nails to the staple gun has been an amazing time saver.
Build a jig. The time saved with the jig/stapler combo is way more than going from nails to the staple gun. 10 frames per 7 mins or so ...
Ouch. I should have mentioned I'm a 53 y.o. female. I don't know if I can use a jig/stapler.

50-60 frames an hour is very tempting tho...
The staple/brad nailed everyone uses needs an air compressor to work. Something else to consider.
Actually using the gun won't be to difficult.
Sorry, for some reason I think everyone is a tool junky like me! :)
I ordered my nails from Brushy mountain with my frames. I don't think I have seen them in bulk anywhere else. You may ask at the hardware store if they can order a pound or two for you.
The HF staples jam all the time and the nail gun is $#!t. So I would spend a few extra bucks and get a ridgid stapler and a box of real staples or you will be grinding and re stapling all the time or even worse it does not shoot and you think it did and the glue holds it until you try to lift it out full of brood or honey and it falls apart in the hive. Some things you can cheapen out on. Frame nailing you cant.

Get one of these or a newer version.

Also A jig is just 4 pieces of plywood screwed together shorter then the frames (not much) plus two of the large paint stirrers you get for free at HD inserted into the sides of the box with a slit. Simple take you 20 mintues to make and last for years. Dont buy one of the fancy ones they just get shot with staples when they come out wrong and it takes you 1/2 hour to reset. Use this design and just use plywood or scrap wood and stirrers.

I did 160 frames last night in 2 1/2 hours or so. It is quick and easy with a jig. The only time I do it one at a time is when I am fixing frames.
The gun won't care if you shoot your fingers. So keep them safe. They call it a gun so treat it as one. The jig should help keep them out of the way. And yes I have had a miss hap with one. I love them but a word of caution is in order.
Okay. Well then. You talked me into it. I'm going back to Brushy and ordering more nails. :)
I agree HF air tools are not high quality construction grade equipment, but I don't expect that for less than 15 bucks either. They are disposable for me. The newer models seem to jam far less than the older blue ones. They made them quick release to clear jams too. I dedicate one gun for staples and one for brads. This seemed to help a lot with reducing jams for me. I built several hundred frames this year and had around 3 jams total. I don't disagree with what Eastside pointed out, but the HF ones have not been a problem for me.
I have used both harbor fright and home depot [rigid] nailers and staplers. the best combination seems to be harbor freight stapler or nailer with home depot [porter-cable] nails or staples. the combo nailer/stapler went back one of each seemed to eliminate jamming. some of the rigid ones are real unpleasant to clear jams. use a line pressure regulator. some of the HF staples and brads are fine some bad, there is not that much difference in price with porter-cable.
Those stinkers at HF were out of 1 1/4" 18 gage nails for my air nailer when I was there early this week, but they're normally stock. Or was it 1 3/8? The size I needed, of course.
Newbee, Mann Lake sells different sized nails in bulk.
Thank you, Cape! It looks like Mann Lake has a USPS shipping option that is half what Fedex/UPS is - I think Brushy only has the UPS option, so that's really helpful.
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