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Author Topic: Clear hive finish  (Read 2946 times)

Offline patook

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Clear hive finish
« on: May 10, 2009, 05:09:36 PM »
Hello, I have been painting the outside of my hive bodies, but I noticed some people have a natural finish hive that looks really nice.. Is there a natural finish that is good for hives and it easy (read CHEAP)? I know there is a process of boiling in paraffin and tree rosin, but the setup for that seems expensive for only a few hives that I have. 

Thanks

Offline fermentedhiker

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2009, 10:20:48 PM »
I've seen some people doing multiple sandings between coats of spar varnish.  Creates a finish with beautiful luster, but good spar varnish ain't cheap.  What I'm thinking of trying next is just rubbing in several coats of boiled linseed oil.
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Offline tlynn

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2009, 10:51:39 PM »
I've seen some people doing multiple sandings between coats of spar varnish.  Creates a finish with beautiful luster, but good spar varnish ain't cheap.  What I'm thinking of trying next is just rubbing in several coats of boiled linseed oil.

I am using spar varnish now and really like the look.  Gloss Minwax Spar at Home Depot is something like $25/qt yet it goes a long way.  I'm sure the commercial folks are saying, yea, forget that. 

Tip - between coats put your brush in a ziplock baggie and throw it in the freezer.  Take it out say 15 minutes before the next coat.  This will save on thinner you otherwise would use to clean the brush.

Offline hankdog1

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2009, 12:00:25 AM »
not meaning to hi-jack your thread but couldn't you use bee wax in some manner to seal it?  sorry just seemed like the right place to ask the question
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Offline mgmoore7

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2009, 10:22:42 AM »
Some of the hives that you see without paint have been "dipped". This is a process of dipping equipment in paraffin wax and gum rosin that is heated to 300 to 350 degrees.  This seals that wood deeply and likely won't have to be redone for many, many years. 

I would love to do this and have investigated it thouroghly but am finding for my small operation, the startup cost is too great.  Probably $500-700.  Studies in other countries where this is more common have concluded that the per hive cost is much less than paint. 

Michael Bush uses bee wax rather than paraffin wax. 

Offline Eshu

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2009, 01:30:17 PM »
I've used Behr Waterproofing Wood Protector No. 300 on a good share of my hives.  It won't get you a furniture like finsh but it protects the wood (it has silicone in it for some UV protection).

hankdog1:  I've seen recipes for making beeswax finish by mixing melted wax into turpentine or linseed oil.  Usually, these finishes are used indoors.  I'm not aware of anyone doing this for hive boxes.

Offline justgojumpit

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2009, 02:14:48 PM »
deck sealer.  Might have do be re-done every once in a while like your deck, but it goes on fast, and it's cheap!

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Offline Robo

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2009, 02:44:42 PM »
Used motor oil works well and is about as cheap as your gonna get.

Richard Taylor used creosote.   I don't think you can buy it anymore though.

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Offline dragonfly

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2009, 05:34:46 PM »
I used Spar varnish on my first hive, and it looked great, but it did not hold up well in the Texas sun and heat. After the first year, it was peeling and cracking. If I do another clear finish, I think I will try using a sanding sealer.

Offline dragonfly

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2009, 05:36:08 PM »
Robo- those hives are beautiful. :)

Offline fermentedhiker

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2009, 08:13:36 PM »
I used Spar varnish on my first hive, and it looked great, but it did not hold up well in the Texas sun and heat. After the first year, it was peeling and cracking. If I do another clear finish, I think I will try using a sanding sealer.

that's part of the problem with hard finishes.  Most are not designed to deal with having moisture trying to work out from under them.  Which is exactly what happens in a hive.  We seal the outside with paint etc... and moisture from the hive within wants to equalize with the dryer air on the outside.   Depending on the weather and amount of ventilation in your hives the less permeable the finish the quicker they'll start to break down.
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Offline Robo

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2009, 09:24:22 PM »
Robo- those hives are beautiful. :)

10W30 and a Wagner power sprayer :-D
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Offline tlynn

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2009, 09:37:59 PM »
I used Spar varnish on my first hive, and it looked great, but it did not hold up well in the Texas sun and heat. After the first year, it was peeling and cracking. If I do another clear finish, I think I will try using a sanding sealer.

Depending on the weather and amount of ventilation in your hives the less permeable the finish the quicker they'll start to break down.


True.  For us in Florida, with high humidity and ventilation of SBB year round, it may not be quite the issue as in northern climates where the hives are closed up for a number of months. 

Offline challenger

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2009, 09:46:38 PM »
Anyone using copper napthanate? It is what the dude from the Univ @ GA uses and I picked up some from my local hardware store. I'd like to make some sort of dipping tanks.
Painting hive boxes is a real PIA to me. I've done about 30 or so and am sick of all the coats needed to weather proof it.
I don't know about the whole motor oil thing. I can't imagine the bees would prefer the petro smell??
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Offline DaveKow

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2009, 10:40:18 PM »
10W30 and a Wagner power sprayer :-D




Rob, have you tried any other way of applying it?  How often do you have to coat them?

Thanks.

Offline Robo

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2009, 10:41:49 PM »
I can't imagine the bees would prefer the petro smell??
These obviously do  :-D




BTW,  you only put the oil on the outside, not the inside.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2009, 11:04:21 PM by Robo »
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Offline Robo

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2009, 10:49:15 PM »
Rob, have you tried any other way of applying it?  How often do you have to coat them?

No I haven't.  Had to find a use for the useless power sprayer since it doesn't work worth a crap for paint ;)

I don't see why you can't slosh it on with a brush, just will take a little longer.

I started doing it about 5 years ago and haven't had to reapply it to any yet.

Here are some honey supers that are about 3 years old.

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Offline dragonfly

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Re: Clear hive finish
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2009, 12:19:57 AM »
Robo- those hives are beautiful. :)

10W30 and a Wagner power sprayer :-D

Wow! That would never have crossed my mind. :) I would bet it holds up really well. How long ago did you coat them?