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Poll
Question: For those of you who have an observation hive, what do you prefer to put in the sides?
Glass - 2 (33.3%)
Tempered Glass - 0 (0%)
Safety (Auto) Glass - 1 (16.7%)
Plexiglass - 2 (33.3%)
Lexan - 1 (16.7%)
Total Voters: 6


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Author Topic: Observation Hive - Glass or Plexiglass?  (Read 3543 times)
specialkayme
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« on: October 08, 2010, 10:24:31 PM »

If you didn't already know, I'm building another Observation Hive: http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,30161.0.html It's just too fun to do once (or even four times).

In the past I've used Plexiglass. I'm usually rough on the hive, so I wanted to make sure it wouldn't break while in transit to a show.

However, they build on the plexiglass and I just can't get the stuff off. Takes forever. So I wanted to try glass this time (so I could just use a razor blade). Home Depot or Lowes doesn't carry safety glass or tempered glass. Just regular glass. I'm afraid that might break. So basically, my options are:

1. Put plain glass in there, hope for the best.
2. Put plexiglass in there and get angry when they build on it.
3. Put glass AND plexiglass in there (and eat the $50 cost to put both in there).
4. Special order some safety (auto) glass.

I know it isn't a new topic, and Mr. Bush has written a paragraph about it on his site. Just looking for some opinions. What would you guys suggest?
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2010, 11:02:31 PM »

I use plexi and just use mineral spirits to clean it.  A pain...but I know they are gonna so don't sweat it.  I have to clean the one maybe once every other year.

I think safety glass is stronger, but the unique feature of that is if it does break, it breaks into a million tiny pieces so that there aren't any pieces big enough to cut a person.  Well...not sure if that is desired either.  Instantly one bee-barrier missing.... shocked

So that leaves regular glass...if it does break, you'll end up with a few big cracks in it, but hopefully the pieces will stay in.  If it happened you'd need to fix it pretty quickly, but hopefully it would remain intact.

I think that the trouble handling the glass, cutting, etc would be more trouble than cleaning the glass, but then again I don't know much about cutting glass, but I do know how to cut plexi on a tablesaw.
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Rick
Jim 134
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2010, 06:14:02 AM »

You can use (Auto) temered glass.


       BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2010, 08:08:19 AM »

Laminated glass has a plastic film sandwiched between two thin pieces of glass. If the glass breaks the plastic holds the shards together.

Scott
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specialkayme
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2010, 09:17:04 AM »

  I have to clean the one maybe once every other year.


So far I've had to clean my plexiglass once or twice a year. Once every other year I can deal with, but twice a year is a pain. Plus, I'm never able to get it REALLY clean.

 I think safety glass is stronger, but the unique feature of that is if it does break, it breaks into a million tiny pieces so that there aren't any pieces big enough to cut a person. 


Thanks to Scott and Jim for already pointing this out, but just so we are clear: there is a difference between tempered glass and Auto glass.

Tempered glass: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toughened_glass
It breaks into a million pieces when broken. Stronger than glass, and used for car side and rear windows. I agree that this probably isn't what I want to use.

Auto glass (or laminated glass): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminated_glass
It spiderwebs and cracks, but doesn't break into pieces. Stronger than tempered glass, and used for car windshields.

I was leaning toward laminated glass when I went to the hardware store . . . only they didn't have it. Is it worth special ordering? Or should I just stop being a baby and go with plexiglass?

So far we have one vote for Laminated glass, and one vote for plexi. Any other takers?
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Jim 134
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2010, 01:35:26 PM »

    You can go to any auto glass Co. and get flat glass cut to size (Auto glass or laminated glass)DO NOT GET tempered glass.



    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2010, 02:15:31 PM »

whats the down faults with Lexan ?

If not I would use Glass and Plex you have to do some
bad banging to break it
I guess you could drop one  shocked
make it so you can put the Plex in,
 only when moving it


Tom
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specialkayme
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2010, 03:43:52 PM »

whats the down faults with Lexan ?

Pros:
something like 250x stronger than glass. Pound for pound it's stronger than steel.

Cons:
1. It cleans just like plexi. Very difficult to clean, and easy to scratch.
2. Cost. While it's 250x stronger than glass, it's also 3x more than plexi. Plexi would run me about $11.80 per window. Lexan would run me about $31.50, plus tax.

If not I would use Glass and Plex you have to do some bad banging to break it

The only down side with that is the cost. $12 a sheet for glass, $12 for plexi. That runs $24 a side, or $48 total plus tax.

If I could get laminated glass for cheaper, and have it be as strong and last longer, that's what I'd prefer (at least after hearing a few opinions). All glass shops in the area are closed till monday. I'll call then and get some quotes on sheets of flat laminated glass, see what comes back. If it's over $24 a sheet, I probably would be better with getting glass and plexi.

make it so you can put the Plex in,
 only when moving it

Not a bad idea Tom, but to do that I'd have to open the whole thing up (open the sides, unscrew the supports, slide out the glass, slide in the plexi). The whole time I have it open and bees are flying around. Closing it up and putting it in the car after that would be a pain (but alot less than having broken glass all over my car, granted).

Other than that, I could slide the plexi in in front of the glass, then slide the glass out, but that screws up the bee space.

I like where your head is at Tom, but I don't know feasibly how I could do it without it being more work and frustration than just getting laminated glass. If you can think of a solution, I'm all ears!

Thanks for the thoughts Tom, thoroughly appreciated.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2010, 03:49:39 PM »

Sorry, double post.
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Tommyt
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« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2010, 11:08:16 AM »

Looking at your Build in the other post I think your going to rabbit cut the glass in If I am close
Maybe this would work
Cut a Groove and then a rabbit put the pane glass in the groove and Plex in the rabbit  or what would
both look like if they were sandwiched I know if the glass blows it would Be bad for the Bees but everything
else would be Safe
Also if you did the glass to slide in from top or one side would it make it too hard to install or remove
My thought is if you could some how make the glass a bit longer (height) then you could slip it out to clean
and the Plex would hold them maybe a challenge to return the glass with bees in the way ?? the more I think the deeper I get and off tracked
 I'll stop here lol

Tommyt
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specialkayme
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« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2010, 11:30:37 AM »

Looking at your Build in the other post I think your going to rabbit cut the glass in If I am close

I was planning on doing a dato cut to put the glass into the frame. A rabbit cut ends up leaving it exposed to the inside (bad news) or the outside (not as secure) and also screws up the bee space (at least, how I've built mine).

Maybe this would work
Cut a Groove and then a rabbit put the pane glass in the groove and Plex in the rabbit  or what would
both look like if they were sandwiched I know if the glass blows it would Be bad for the Bees but everything
else would be Safe

If I ended up using both glass and plexi, I would just dato two grooves. The glass would be closer to the inside, and the plex would be closer to the outside. Again, I would prefer not to do this for cost, and also for simplicity sake. Tomorrow I should have some quotes on the price of laminated glass, so I guess I'll make the decision then.

Also if you did the glass to slide in from top or one side would it make it too hard to install or remove

Others have tried this (Jordan M for one) and they have found out the hard way that once it's in there, and the bees glue it up, you're screwed. Especially if it's glass, almost the only way to get it out is to break something. That's why I go with the frames that can be disassembled, rather than sliding the whole thing as the only way of getting it out.

My thought is if you could some how make the glass a bit longer (height) then you could slip it out to clean
and the Plex would hold them maybe a challenge to return the glass with bees in the way ??

I could redesign it like that, and theoretically it would work, but once they add propolis it will be very difficult to slide the glass out. I can use vaseline to slow them down, but it doesn't last forever.
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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2010, 12:46:08 PM »



My thought is if you could some how make the glass a bit longer (height) then you could slip it out to clean
and the Plex would hold them maybe a challenge to return the glass with bees in the way ??

I could redesign it like that, and theoretically it would work, but once they add propolis it will be very difficult to slide the glass out. I can use vaseline to slow them down, but it doesn't last forever.

 I did not think of the Bees gluing every thing in their reach ?
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specialkayme
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2010, 01:56:47 PM »

I did not think of the Bees gluing every thing in their reach ?

The amount that they are prone to glue depends on their genetics. But generally speaking, if there is a crack and you give them long enough, they will glue it up.

Now just imagine, there will be cracks in the groove that you use to put the glass in (either dato or rabbit). Give the bees enough time and they will fill it with propolis, it's in their nature. Now, you start pulling on the glass from the top, and the bottom is glued in. It's glass. It won't take too much pulling, wiggling, nudging, before it breaks. Bad news bears for all.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2010, 07:31:33 AM »

I have some of all three (plain glass, plexiglass and tempered glass).  I like the tempered glass a lot, but when I've built them I've tended towards Plexiglass because it's easy to come by and work with than the other two and less fragile than regular glass..  The plain glass is just too risky when a small child decides to run into it or hit it with a toy.  The tempered is easy to clean with a razor blade scraper.  the plexi is tricker but can be cleaned with FGMO (mineral oil laxative) and then followed up by windex etc.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2010, 11:08:07 AM »

Thanks to everyone who contributed. I was hoping the voting results would have been a little more conclusive, but it is what it is.

I digested everyone's input, and contacted a glass company. They said they could do laminated glass at $18 a sheet for 1/8th inch, and $30 a sheet for 1/4 inch. So, it would be $36 total for 1/8th inch and $60 total for 1/4 inch. When I asked about the difference between the two, the glass worker informed me that "1/8th inch is pretty flimsy." He said 1/4 inch is still glass, but it's more durable.

I know plexi is $11.80 a sheet, and plain glass is $13 (or so) a sheet. I've become frustrated with plexi, and glass is too flimsy. So if I went with plexi AND glass, it would be $24.80 per side. Then when the first glass broke (which, inevitably it would considering the way I abuse equipment) it would add an additional $13 to the side, resulting in at least $37.80 (plus additional pieces of glass, potentially).

I decided it was probably cheaper in the long run, and easier to clean, if I went with the laminated glass. I went with the 1/4 inch as well, to make sure it is strong enough.

I'm surprised how heavy the laminated glass was though, I wasn't expecting that. But hopefully everything works out. I'll keep you all informed (if you are interested) or you can just continue to watch the build thread.

Thanks again.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2010, 09:39:47 AM »

Maybe you are on the right idea here.  If you put glass on the inside and plexi on the outside with two layers, then you get the best of both worlds...
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Michael Bush
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specialkayme
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« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2010, 03:19:15 PM »

I'm surprised you like that idea Mr. Bush. If the glass breaks it screws up the bee space. Twice the cost of glass or plexi. While it has the advantages of both (easier to clean on the inside and more durable on the outside) it also has all the disadvantages (inside breaks easily, and can screw up the bee space) for twice the price.
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« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2010, 12:29:32 AM »

If it breaks you'll be redoing it.  Breaking is really just a contigency plan, not a plan.  There is a better chance it will just crack and you can leave it that way...
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2010, 03:25:51 PM »

Glad to see you went with the laminated glass. I didnt vote because you stipulated the voters to be observation hive owners. I too think you will save money in the long run AND probably feel a lot more confident whilst transporting. That smiley cracks me up→ afro
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specialkayme
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« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2010, 03:52:27 PM »

I didnt vote because you stipulated the voters to be observation hive owners.

Oops, I didn't mean to exclude anyone. Input is always welcome, so long as it's constructive.

Thanks though Mjd, I think I made the right choice too  afro <--- just for you
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« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2010, 04:13:33 PM »

Your welcome. I am enjoying your woodworking thread. I did not feel excluded, I figured you needed experienced voices and I do not qualify. I had sent a deposit on bees last spring but got detained (literally) for a while and I can not remember the guys username or phone number to see if we can do it next spring. Totally my fault. Soooo, I am going to get bees from someone this fall for spring delivery. I got myself a shop full of woodworking tools now including a nice Leigh dovetail jig. I've been building and selling garden benches. When I go to the lumber mill this weekend I am going to buy enough wood to build a few hives and just buy the comb frames outright. Anyway, sorry for the hijack and I look forward to the rest of your build.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2010, 04:41:35 PM »

No worries. Glad you like the threads.

Building your own equipment is the best way to get a hands on full appreciation for the hobby.
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« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2010, 06:03:27 PM »

Based on the huge price difference-- at least in the quotes I've been given-- I'm still leaning toward plexi over laminated. If the plexi gets badly scratched, you can replace it a couple of times and still not spend what you'd spend on laminated.

I admit I haven't done it yet-- just planning my OH project-- so with experience might think differently.
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« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2010, 06:11:50 PM »

Check a few other shops. I got one quote at $48 a sheet, and another at $30. I would never go with $48, but $30 was doable, considering it was less than 3 plexis. I've gone through two plexis on one OH easily.

Others may vary, but this is how I view it. An observation hive is built for one thing, and one thing only: to observe bees, i.e. to watch them. I can't watch them if they build wax on the glass. I can't watch them if it's scratched up.
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« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2010, 09:24:07 PM »

>Based on the huge price difference-- at least in the quotes I've been given-- I'm still leaning toward plexi over laminated. If the plexi gets badly scratched, you can replace it a couple of times and still not spend what you'd spend on laminated.

My thinking exactly...
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Michael Bush
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