I am now in my third year of making hive bodies and supers using "biscuit" joiners in lieu of Box joint laps. Experience so far has been perfect. I am wondering if others are using biscuits to reinforce butt joints on hive bodies?
The main advantage is time savings and simplicity. The full depth boxes are made with 3 biscuits at 2.5, 5 and 7.5 inch centers. The long side is cut to full length -- 19" 7/8, and the short sides are the interior dimension. I use large size biscuits and gorilla glue. I add three deck screws to tighten at each corner. There is a massive time savings in not having to cut finger joint patterns on 8 (!) ends for every box.
I don't price out the cost of the biscuits which is moderate.
One *massive* advantage is the short sides are smaller (14 3/4), and it is possible to cut a full hive from each 6 linear feet of board.
I am sure many others have had the problem of the 72 1/2 inch runnning requirement for hives which does not cut into "modern" exact-length pine boards without waste. Buying 8 feet to get that last half inch + kerfs is really, really, really frustrating over time. I know you can buy 8' and 12's and make up multiple boxes in an elaborate cut list to minimize waste. However, I only build and store a few boxes at a time.
If anyone else has long-term experience with biscuit-joined hive bodies, I would be interested in hearing about it. Are there "exterior" grade biscuits for instance?
I haven't had weather damage or opening cracks, but I don't expect the hive bodies will be quite as sturdy as fingerjoint models. I don't transport my hives, so I suspect there is less impact as hives that are moved regularly.