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Author Topic: Building tops  (Read 3414 times)

Offline Wes Sapp

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Building tops
« on: June 20, 2008, 02:22:32 PM »
To those who build their on woodenware, what type of tops do you  build? What designs or dimensions do you use? I have just started building my own stuff and have made screened bottom boards and hive bodies but no tops. About the only design I can find is at beesource and it’s for a telescopic top, I checked our local building supply stores and a piece of sheet metal that would cover one top runs about $7. So I was wondering what other options are out there?
Wes Sapp

Offline BearCreekBees

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2008, 02:36:38 PM »
In SC you could probably make do with a modified migratory top. I used to make them out of scrap 3/4" plywood. Just cut to fit the outer dimensions of your hive body, paint it, then slap it on. If you want to get fancy, add a 1"x cleat on the top at each end, and if you want to get even fancier, add another set of cleats at an angle so they extend down in the front and back of the hive. That should last you a good long time- no need for inner covers either. This won't last as long as a metal covered top, but it is a lot cheaper and faster to make.

Offline Jerrymac

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2008, 03:57:34 PM »
I take a piece of 3/4 inch plywood cut to the same outside dimensions as the hive body. I then nail/glue a 3/4 by 3/4 inch strip of wood around the edges.  Yes this is a lot of space between the top of the frames and the cover, if you worry about bee space, but I haven't had any trouble with a lot of burr comb up there. Paint it with UV protecting polyurethane and place on hive.

Place a cinder block on top and you are set for 80 mph winds.  :-D
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Offline BenC

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2008, 09:28:06 PM »
At lowes in the area where roofing supplies are found there are rolls of al. flashing 24in X 50ft.  metal can be cut from this roll and bent to fit the lid for a lot less than $7 each.  Or get a couple good coats of paint on the plywood and when it's time to repaint or retire it then just do it.

Offline Ross

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2008, 09:40:43 AM »
Simple, by a 4x8 sheet of 5/8" or better exterior plywood.  Cut the long side first.  4 pieces 20x48 and one piece 15 3/4"x48".  Now cut each 20x48 piece into 3 20x15 7/8" pieces.  Cut the 15 3/4"x48 into two 15 3/4" x 20.  Yield is 14 tops from one sheet.  You can shade the 20" pieces a 1/16" or so and make the 15 3/4" more like 15 7/8".  The tops do not need to be flush with the outside edge of the hives.  They just need to cover the opening.  Not having the flush to the outside is an advantage for hauling as they don't get pushed by the hive next door.  Tops don't need to be fancy.

I drill a 2" feeder hole in some of them, but not required.
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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2008, 01:59:34 AM »
I no longer build tops, bottoms are easier to make and turned upside down they make a top entrance, Or a slight modification turns them into magritory tops.
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Offline Robo

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2008, 08:37:01 AM »
At lowes in the area where roofing supplies are found there are rolls of al. flashing 24in X 50ft.  metal can be cut from this roll and bent to fit the lid for a lot less than $7 each.  Or get a couple good coats of paint on the plywood and when it's time to repaint or retire it then just do it.
Ditto.

The aluminum flashing works great, I've been using it for about 10 years now.   Years ago we used galvanized and over time it rusts and rots thru, not a problem with the aluminum.
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Offline mlewis48

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2008, 10:34:17 AM »
 I make all of my own tops but I could never get the covers bent right. I was at a material shop, with my wife and found this material that is made out of p.v.c. Easy to work with and it is not expensive at all. I use a spray on glue and staple the edges. Hobby Lobby is where I found this. Give it a try.
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Offline randydrivesabus

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2008, 12:21:28 PM »
i had trouble with bending the aluminum too. I think i'll make my next round of outers without it.

Offline danno

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2008, 09:48:56 AM »
i had trouble with bending the aluminum too. I think i'll make my next round of outers without it.
To get good bends without a brake use a pc of 2X4 and two clamps.  Do one side at a time clamping the 2x4 right at the edge being bent. Bend it and then use a rubber mallet to make the bend sharper. Nail and move the opposit side.

Offline jeeper038

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2008, 09:10:16 PM »
I have the same problem. Rossman Apiaries has just the metal pre bent for 5.70 plus shipping. I hadn't thought about the aluminum but that is a good idea, I have a roll in my shed I will start using.

Offline qa33010

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2008, 10:59:32 PM »
   I don't use the metal.  I just make it out of 3/4" or 1" plywood and either 1x4, 1x3, 1x2 or all together edges for a telescoping cover.  I use two to three coats of primer (good quality) and two to three coats of mismatched paint.  Never had a problem yet and they are doing better than the metal ones that I bought in '05.  I also paint the inside of the cover, but not the inner cover.  I have made a couple migratory covers this year to use for upper entrance when I remove the supers.  I know I could use migratory all the time and save some work, but I like the heft of the homemade telescoping cover.
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Offline rast

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2008, 09:38:15 AM »
 For a backyard operation, I like the telescopic cover propped up 3/8" in the front and shoved all the way forward for ventilation. I don't use an inner cover. This area stays full of bees during the hot part of the day and they use it for an upper entrance as well.
 Small weak hives, use a sealed top for minimum entrance area so there are enough guard bees to keep out robbers and vermin.
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Offline prisoner#1

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2008, 03:12:51 PM »
So I was wondering what other options are out there?

call around to metal fabrication shops, one I worked in sent me home with about a 300 sheets of galvanized
14 guage sheet metal, it was all cut into small pieces around 2'x4' but it was materials sent when we were
recieving items that had been farmed out to other companied, a lot of these shops will sell it for the scrap
value or in many cases will give it away just to get it out the door

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2008, 10:26:08 PM »
Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline contactme_11

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2008, 01:29:16 AM »
You can get sheetmetal panning in various sizes for only a couple of bucks at almost any HVAC supply house.

Offline SgtMaj

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Re: Building tops
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2008, 04:42:25 AM »
Don't cover it in metal.  Put a few coats of paint on, and plan on repainting it every 5-10 years or so and it'll last a heck of a lot longer than if you cover it in metal that will only serve to trap moisture between the metal and the wood (which it WILL get in there no matter what you're thinking about trying to do... every time the temp. outside falls, minute amounts of water vapor will condense on the inside of it, and over time it will become downright wood-rottingly damp).

Offline rdy-b

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