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?