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Author Topic: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?  (Read 820 times)

Offline SB-Russ

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Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« on: April 16, 2015, 04:40:27 AM »
So I tried again to see if I could find a way to make hives cheaper than buying a Ready To Assemble kit from a beekeeping supplier, and it doesn't seem possible, or for a $1-$2 saving, not worth it?

While I don't have prices from a specialist timber supplier, and am just using Bunnings DAR Pine prices, it still seems odd just how expensive buying your own timber is. For example, to make a half-size 8-frame box, I'd require 1.72lm x 125mm wide (and what's standard timber width here - 22mm?). The DAR Pine Bunnings have that I can get the closest match to is 1.8lm x 405mm x 19mm. That would get 3 boxes, with some waste 10 & ends when ripped to size. That piece is $43.94, or $14.65 per box. But then I'd have to rebate the sides and frame rail before it matched an RTA box. I can get an RTA box for $15.80, which is probably thicker as well I assume, and machine sized properly so they all fit neatly, whereas my hand-made efforts probably won't align as well. For $1.15 saving each box, but considerable more effort, it doesn't seem worth it.

Is anyone in Australia making their own hives from shop-bought timber, in retail quantities, and making a significant saving? I see our US friends saying they are making boxes for 1/2 - 1/3 the retail cost. Is the timber market just that much different here?

I'm not sure whether to pursue trying to find cheaper timber, or just give up and accept the beekeeping suppliers prices as a good deal?

Thanks.
Russell.

Offline kalium

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2015, 08:24:10 AM »
I've mentioned elsewhere that, for me at least, assembling the hive is the most time consuming aspect. It takes me literally (I've timed it) 5 minutes to cut and route a dressed piece
of timber (145mm wide). The squaring, gluing, and stapling, and painting (three coats) takes me longer.

I buy my 145x19 (I think 145x21 would be about the same price) for 4.77 l/m, so that's about $10 for an Ideal box. To buy $17 RTA here. I save even more on full depths.
If I was only ever planning on having a few hives and had the extra cash I may not bother. If I had no wood working power tools, or the willingness to get some and
learn how to use them then I wouldn't bother either. That's just me though.

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2015, 05:36:12 PM »
Yeah I guess you're right that the time to rip & route is minimal once you're setup, if setup correctly. Finding economical timber is my big issue.

So 19mm is sufficient width?

Offline BrissyBoy

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2015, 03:02:03 AM »
Might be worth giving Neil from Zenith Timber a call (07) 5546 9777

Don't quote me on this, but from memory he was making up weatherproof ply 5 frame NUCs for $10 ea.  All RTA and would need a coat of paint.

Offline kalium

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2015, 07:28:16 AM »
Yeah I guess you're right that the time to rip & route is minimal once you're setup, if setup correctly. Finding economical timber is my big issue.

So 19mm is sufficient width?

My bees have never had a problem with it, and I've never had anyone give me a good reason why it is insufficient.

Offline Dave86

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2015, 08:02:40 PM »


I have a mate that has a shed full of wood working machines. We are looking at cypress pine to make boxes from. We can get truck loads from Cecil plains 1hr west of Toowoomba and make boxes for about $8 each timber cost. Deepest box we can make without joining is a WSP so we are looking at using them and halfs or ideals for supers, depending on the supply widths from the mill.

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2015, 09:10:31 PM »
If you have any spares Dave, I'd certainly be interested in some. I'm still undecided on what size I want to go with.

Offline Dave86

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2015, 04:55:56 AM »
If you have any spares Dave, I'd certainly be interested in some. I'm still undecided on what size I want to go with.

Me too, we are really hoping to go commercial within the next couple of years. From what I hear there is quite a few that use full depths as brood boxes and are converting to WSP boxes as supers. They are just cutting down their fulls and using the cuts as lids.

Halfs and ideals have a following but mainly with the older generations downsizing weight for lifting. Mostly the people I know outside of wanting lighter supers are people that sell comb.

I think a mix of supers is the best way, as much as it could be a pain in the bum, a half depth super will fill on the downside of autumn as opposed to a half filled full depth.

Ill certainly be letting a people know when I have cypress boxes for sale, there is a bit of interest. it wont be for a few months yet as we expand or hive numbers and our business.

Dave

Offline kalium

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2015, 06:34:14 AM »


I have a mate that has a shed full of wood working machines. We are looking at cypress pine to make boxes from. We can get truck loads from Cecil plains 1hr west of Toowoomba and make boxes for about $8 each timber cost. Deepest box we can make without joining is a WSP so we are looking at using them and halfs or ideals for supers, depending on the supply widths from the mill.

Do you currently use white cypress for your boxes? I suspect you don't need to paint them ?

I find it much easier to get various types of timber in widths suitable for ideals more so than full depth. I suspect it's similarly easier with WSP and manley.

Offline Richard J

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2015, 07:48:37 PM »
I am about to start cutting out supers and can do it for less then $10 a box one thing you need to check on when getting prices is the grade, anything above merchant grade your wasting money .19 mm is plenty but if a few guys get together you can get a pack of 240 x 19 merchant grade.

Offline Dave86

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2015, 11:46:43 PM »


I have a mate that has a shed full of wood working machines. We are looking at cypress pine to make boxes from. We can get truck loads from Cecil plains 1hr west of Toowoomba and make boxes for about $8 each timber cost. Deepest box we can make without joining is a WSP so we are looking at using them and halfs or ideals for supers, depending on the supply widths from the mill.

Do you currently use white cypress for your boxes? I suspect you don't need to paint them ?

I find it much easier to get various types of timber in widths suitable for ideals more so than full depth. I suspect it's similarly easier with WSP and manley.

I have a few cypress boxes that I bought S/H. Not sure what cypress they are.
I paint them as a matter of going through the motions but I won't be copper drenching the boxes.

Not sure what cypress is growing at Cecil plains but it must be good as there is 2 full time mills out there.

Offline Richard J

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2015, 01:48:26 AM »
I have dragged heaps of winter honey out of the forest at Cecil plains, you keep going straight past the sawmill and hit the forestry station out there , it's good for gum top box and soapbush

Offline max2

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2015, 07:33:08 AM »
I used to make my own supers but with 250 x 22 mm timber at $ 10/m for not clear Hoop it is not worth it.

Offline Dave86

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2015, 03:34:41 AM »
I used to make my own supers but with 250 x 22 mm timber at $ 10/m for not clear Hoop it is not worth it.

I can get 250x25 white cypress for $7.70/m. cost about $14 in timber for a box then I have to thickness, saw and spindle mould them. on my costs so far I could sell them for between $22.50 and $25 a F/D super, I have seen them up to $30 each for radiata at guilfoyles and $25 at quality bee keeping.

Online Eric Bosworth

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2015, 07:56:06 PM »
What is the us/Australian conversion rate? I can make a deep box out of eastern hemlock for $4.00 with my farming tax exempt form from the local mill.

Offline kalium

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2015, 02:41:35 AM »
What is the us/Australian conversion rate? I can make a deep box out of eastern hemlock for $4.00 with my farming tax exempt form from the local mill.

That's about $5 AUD. FYI Australia is generally a higher cost country than the US.

Online Eric Bosworth

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2015, 10:20:21 PM »
Still $5 is a lot less than the other numbers I've seen on this thread. Is there a shortage of forests in Australia? Next year it will cost me even less because I will cut the logs from my own land and have them cut with a portable saw mill. I have a lot of larch and its naturally rot resistant.

Offline kalium

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2015, 11:08:35 PM »
Still $5 is a lot less than the other numbers I've seen on this thread. Is there a shortage of forests in Australia? Next year it will cost me even less because I will cut the logs from my own land and have them cut with a portable saw mill. I have a lot of larch and its naturally rot resistant.

Yes, $5 is a lot cheaper that what you've seen on this thread. I don't think it has anything to do with wood availability. Australia is just  generally a higher cost country.
That's probably for a whole host of reasons of which I won't get into here.

What is perhaps the more interesting conversation is how much return in $$ (via honey) you get for that box in the two respective countries.
But that would be for another thread as well :-)


Online Eric Bosworth

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2015, 03:22:00 PM »
Honey yield varies a lot across the US.

Offline Dave86

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Re: Cheaper to buy RTA hives in Australia?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2015, 05:05:17 AM »

After speaking to many saw mills regarding availability of 250mm wide boards Im thinking ill be spending my time converting to WSP boxes. the price difference between 200mm and 250 is $4.50/m and the 250mm boards are very much special order, the mill I have getting cypress for me cannot guarantee a consistent supply, but the 200mm boards are everywhere.

Finding hoop pine is even harder, cypress and radiata are easy.

 

anything