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Author Topic: beehive wood?  (Read 7038 times)
Dracono
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« on: November 11, 2010, 11:53:46 PM »

Whats the best type of wood to use to build beehives out of? Pine, oak, cider, cypress?
thanks,
Dracono
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 06:22:12 AM »

Free wood is always the best  kind... cheap wood is the next best kind...
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2010, 07:26:13 AM »

I would rate your various choices as cypress is the prettiest and most durable wood when properly treated and then any of  your western varieties of pine.  both the above are also light wood (per volume) which also means the wood working operation are easier to accomplish.
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2010, 08:23:50 AM »

Wouldn't suggest the oak unless you have one heckuva good back. Cyprus weathers good as is, however pine is easier to work with.
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2010, 09:02:17 AM »

I have to agree with Free or Cheap.
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2010, 10:03:14 AM »

Free wood is always the best  kind... cheap wood is the next best kind...

+1 !!

In Aridzona, not sure what's "local" but I'd guess any of a few varieties of pine are available. If you have a local sawmill they're usually very aware of the qualities of what they cut and can make some suggestions.

Here in northern Indiana, it's all hardwood, so I usually watch the big box stores for sales on pine boards.

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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2010, 10:06:40 AM »

One that I believe would equal or surpass cypress for longevity is old growth heart pine (longleaf) but the weight would be equal to or greater than oak. Machinability is good as long as the tools are sharp and kept clear of rosin. The dwindling supply of this would make it costly unless you happen to stumble into old barn boards or the like that are coming from a demolition.
The distinguishing feature of heart pine is dense growth rings and high rosin content (enough rosin content that termites avoid the stuff). The downside is that it burns hot due to the rosin and is even more flamable than most woods.
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2010, 11:02:46 AM »


I like cedar 'cause I don't have to paint it.
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2010, 11:21:09 AM »

I am on the free or cheap wagon. i use pine, cherry , oak, redwood, maple, whatever will make a box, bottom board, inner cover or frames. save the scraps because one scrap from one part will make another part.
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2010, 11:28:12 AM »

Whats the best type of wood to use to build beehives out of? Pine, oak, cider, cypress?
thanks,
Dracono

 I don't think Redwood was mentioned but I say its one of great woods.
But you would need Donald trump's pocket too buy any decent amounts shocked
 I just found some cheap cypress, excited too make a few box's with it.

Tom
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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2010, 02:08:16 PM »

Teak wood or mahogany wood is nice woods, but I have never seen them in the free to cheap pile.  Pine is great and I what I do find in the free to cheap pile.  All my boxes are pine or cypress. 
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2010, 02:29:12 PM »

I actually have one made from aluminum.  It was in a former beekeeper's small outyard for several years, and was the one of his most active hives.  He died, then the bees died, and I ended up with it.  I'm going to give it a try next year and see what happens.  Maybe he was on to something... no paint, no rot...hmmm?
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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2010, 02:34:45 PM »

Have you got a couple of pics of the aluminum hive?   Something I like to see.
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2010, 02:40:05 PM »

save the scraps because one scrap from one part will make another part.

Absolutely
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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2010, 05:07:30 PM »

Here's a couple, three more from memory that would meet the rot resistant standard. American Chestnut, often used for fences and the preferred wood for caskets back when it was available. Black Locust, if it could be found in large enough pieces it is very rot resistant as I have used it for untreated fence posts and have gotten fifteen years of solid service almost as good with the same size of lumber issue is Red Mulberry in the same application.
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2010, 05:50:34 PM »

I would love to see pics of the aluminum bee hive also.
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Dracono
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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2010, 05:55:53 PM »

also sorry I havent had a chance untill now to update my info on my Location... I am no longer in Az. I am now in Springfield, Mo.
thanks for all of the help guys.
Dracono
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2010, 06:26:27 PM »

Here's a couple, three more from memory that would meet the rot resistant standard. American Chestnut, often used for fences and the preferred wood for caskets back when it was available. Black Locust, if it could be found in large enough pieces it is very rot resistant as I have used it for untreated fence posts and have gotten fifteen years of solid service almost as good with the same size of lumber issue is Red Mulberry in the same application.

I would like to see pics of the American Chestnut also.   I know here in Georgia most all of what was still standing was cut for acid wood well over 50 years ago. 
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2010, 06:28:18 PM »

Of the oaks white over red. White Oak is the wood of choice for slat boxes used for commercial catfishing and is the preferred wood for coopers (barrel makers).
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« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2010, 06:35:47 PM »

American Chesnut is a nice straight grained wood. I understand that it also machines well. I wouldn't as I only see it in small pieces from time to time. It is mainly available as "wormy" chestnut which is old salvage wood with powder post beetle damage. Very popular with crafters of small items such as boxes and turkey calls since large lumber is just about gone.
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2010, 11:31:34 PM »

You got all that Osage Orange in every fence row from Nixa to Boliver... just need a saw tough enough to cut the darned stuff!  LOL
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MacfromNS
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« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2010, 07:37:04 PM »

No one said anything about spruce, we use that for everthing.
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Dracono
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« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2010, 09:45:11 PM »

okay well next to free what would be the most cost effective? as for I am wanting to build lots of hives as well as maybe starting a hive building business, and selling hives and foundationless frames.

Thanks,
Dracono
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« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2010, 09:56:44 PM »

Local Saw Mill and see whats most ready Available,
Ask If he'll work with you on Cutting width and thickness,
Check Craigslist for wood daily.

Tom
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David McLeod
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« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2010, 07:54:01 AM »

What Tommyt said. Look for small local mills and see if any mills mills near you have occasional over runs of "extra" wood. You are also close to the cypress belt and may find a small cypress mill south of you in Arkansas. Your costs will be lower if you can do your own pick up and delivery and be willing to take lots rather than picking up a few boards at a time.
Good luck, I'm looking to do something very similar myself though not so much a business of selling boxes and frames.
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« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2010, 10:09:34 PM »

Hemlock makes some dandy hive bodies.  It's easy to work light and weathers really well.  As for the american chestnut you guys are talking about my mantle is made out of that stuff no worms or anything.  Don't think you could afford hives made out of that stuff.
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« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2010, 10:34:59 PM »

I actually have one made from aluminum.  It was in a former beekeeper's small outyard for several years, and was the one of his most active hives.  He died, then the bees died, and I ended up with it.  I'm going to give it a try next year and see what happens.  Maybe he was on to something... no paint, no rot...hmmm?


Ok, now tell me it has aluminum frames, they used to have them you know !

Bee-Bop
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« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2010, 11:01:07 PM »

As for the american chestnut you guys are talking about my mantle is made out of that stuff no worms or anything.  Don't think you could afford hives made out of that stuff.

The loss of the chestnut is one of the saddest chapters in american forestry. Your right what's left in lumber form is relegated to hobbiest craft makers in small form for the most part as it is all salvage wood at this point. My comment was merely to mention the rot resistant woods I am aware of both the locust and mulberry, while quite rot resistant, would be extremely difficult to find in sizes large enough for even a section super.
Personally I think a teak hive would be pretty cool if costs were of no object. I love the way it weathers to a soft grey color.
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« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2010, 05:21:32 AM »

as mike says ossage orange(bodock) as we call it in the south is the most durable; it will wear out 2-3 post holes, but that is the only thing it is good for other than the people that take a coupla years to make a bow out of it. other than that cypres will out last the nails.
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« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2010, 07:19:53 AM »

>ossage orange(bodock)

Actually it's Bois D'Arc which is pronounced the same... but it's French for "wood of the bow".
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« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2010, 09:02:32 AM »

I use catapla wood(harvested from my woods) to make my hives. It is rot resistant, light in weight, strong, easy to work and rabbit the corners which eliminates 1-1/2 of the end grain exposure to stop water wicking in the end grain. When I glue and staple the corners I coat the exposed end grain with the water proof glue to seal it.
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« Reply #31 on: November 16, 2010, 09:59:39 AM »

I actually have one made from aluminum.  It was in a former beekeeper's small outyard for several years, and was the one of his most active hives.  He died, then the bees died, and I ended up with it.  I'm going to give it a try next year and see what happens.  Maybe he was on to something... no paint, no rot...hmmm?


Ok, now tell me it has aluminum frames, they used to have them you know !

Bee-Bop

No, I just have the one aluminum hive body.  He had it on a wooden bottom board with a wooden hive body on top.  It was a very active hive.  I mow the yard it sat in and watched them come and go.  He had two other standard hives but they didn't do nearly as well.  After he died, there was no one to tend the girls and they eventually died.  Shortly thereafter, the landowner got permission from the beekeeper's family to dispose of the hives, and I got the job of removing everything.  (It just happened to be the same year I was getting started in beekeeping.)  That hive was fully packed with dead bees, their little heads down in the cells.  They died of starvation.  Had I known then, I could have probably saved them.  I plan to put it into use this year and see what happens.
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« Reply #32 on: November 16, 2010, 04:19:41 PM »

Correction on the chestnut. There is enough out there still to make boxes. I looked at some this afternoon and almost pulled the trigger but at 7.00bf decided I really didn't need to build an old fashioned bee gum. Seriously, when I spotted that stuff I could just see an old school gum sitting in the yard.
The reclaimed heart pine was a better deal at 6.00bf but still a no go. What I went to see was the best yet, select cypress 2.95bf. Still not scrap or salvage prices but for my tastes it will do.
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« Reply #33 on: November 16, 2010, 05:39:34 PM »

I buy eastern white pine for .93 /bm

Scott
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« Reply #34 on: November 16, 2010, 05:49:17 PM »

mical, didnt i say in the SOUTH. I am pretty sure I said in the south. I never heard the fancy name until my mother told me how to spell it mical around fifty years ago.
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Dracono
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« Reply #35 on: November 16, 2010, 10:47:09 PM »

Why thank you all for your opinion's it means a lot to me.

Now the next question is where do I get the jigs to cut my hive body's with the dove tail cuts?
I would like one of each deep, medium, shallows?

and how much do they cost?
Thanks,
Dracono
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« Reply #36 on: November 17, 2010, 08:09:25 AM »



I am sure you can purchase a jig for making a box joint from almost any wood working supply house. Question, how are you going to make the cuts, router or table saw? With a router I know there are jigs available for all sorts of dovetails and box joints on the table saw most wood workers make their own jig for use with a dado blade. Do a google search and I am sure you can find all sorts of plans including some on this site.
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« Reply #37 on: November 17, 2010, 08:35:12 AM »

http://woodworking.about.com/od/woodworkingplansdesigns/ss/BoxJointJig.htm


http://www.woodmagazine.com/woodworking-plans/jigs/

Here is a couple

Tom
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« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2010, 10:42:41 AM »

You have ironwood in Tucson, I'm not seriously suggesting making a beehive out of it, but if you did it would be almost bulletproof.  I don't think the bees are all that worried about being shot at though. And there's all the high carbon woodworking equipment in smoking heaps trying to work the wood.
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« Reply #39 on: November 17, 2010, 05:01:48 PM »

If your going to be making your frames as well the main consideration would be how well it machines or mills as opposed to rot resistance (if your frames are rotting inside the box you have far more serious issues). I would recommend poplar (tulip poplar not cottonwood/aspen) due the extreme ease of milling and a good moderate strength without being brittle or having grain tearout. Any of your softwood pine or spf ( western or canadian spuce/pine/fir) should suffice though you can find both pitch pockets and some tear out in some of that. Eastern White pine is commonly used but can be brittle. Avoid new growth syp (southern yellow pine) new growth (as opposed to old growth or heart pine) will move excessively on you warping and twisting. If you go with cypress for the boxes and happen to have any drop or cut off pieces go ahead an use them as cypress mills well too, though I would not spend the extra for cypress frames. But if you want to go whole hog mahogany mills as good as anything I've ever come across plus has good strength.
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