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Author Topic: Hive Sizes and Maximizing Material Usage  (Read 1185 times)
Hoss
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Location: Ball Ground, Georgia


« on: January 30, 2009, 12:22:52 PM »

I started beekeeping last year and built 3 top bar hives.  This year, I want to add a more conventional hive to the mix and have decided to build a "combo" hive (dual deeps for brood under medium supers).  In researching hive body sizes, I see that a standard size body requires a 1/4" plus sawblade widths over 6' to complete.  I also note that a medium height is 6 5/8" or roughly 3/4" narrower than a 1x8.  Since I intend to build my own frames and bodies, is there any reason I shouldn't maximize the material usage by adjusting the sizes and maintaining proper bee space?  The same with the deeps except I can pickup an additional 1 1/2" in the height.  Or am I missing something, like where the rip strips are being used elsewhere?
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justgojumpit
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2009, 05:37:59 PM »

You could definitely do this, but then your equipment would be different from everyone else's.  This would get to be a little tricky would you every want to sell your hives, or nucs, and it could also get a little tricky if you want to buy stuff from other beekeepers.  No man is an island, so I feel like we better all speak the same language!  I dabble in a top bar hive every now and again, but the majority of my apiary has always been standard lang equipment.  I did also just build three long hives, which receive langstroth frames.  If your looking to optimize your wood usage, you could go this way.  This hive takes 33 deep frames, which is basically 3 deep boxes side by side - less the six walls that would come between the boxes!  I'd call that a save on wood for sure! - but then of course the top and the bottom are larger...

justgojumpit
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justgojumpit
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 06:48:30 PM »

You could also use the strips that are left over to make migratory tops and bottoms for nucs.  Paint should seal the seams between the strips.  This is what I have done for nucs for my personal use.  Not really beautiful, but I have them at the cost of the nails!

justgojumpit
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2009, 09:03:22 AM »

I've had the same thought many times.  I have resisted.  Standardization is a wonderful thing.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Hoss
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2009, 09:54:33 PM »

I've had the same thought many times.  I have resisted.  Standardization is a wonderful thing.

I agree with both of you regarding standardization...it works.
I haven't done the math but I'm curious...if you build your own hives to the standard dimensions, do you find that you end up with much waste materials?  Or do the "leftovers" from the hive bodies get used up in the frames?  From what I read on the various boards, my impression of beeks is that on the whole, they are a frugal lot.  I know I am...the thought of trashcanning perfectly good materials in the name of standardization makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end  afro...yeah, like that. 

But other than the standardization issue, is there a "bee" issue?  As long as I maintained proper spacing, would any of this cause the bees a problem?
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justgojumpit
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2009, 05:15:35 PM »

As long as you use proper bee space, you can make your hive triangular if you want to! The dimensions will not matter.  I use the scraps for bottom board rims, cleats on migratory covers, kindling in the fireplace, etc.

justgojumpit
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Keeper of bees and builder of custom beekeeping equipment.
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