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Author Topic: miter vs. Box joint  (Read 3935 times)
Acebird
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« on: December 27, 2010, 03:16:38 PM »

I read this topic on another forum and decided to start a thread here.

The discussion centered around moisture decay vs. strength of the box joint.  Other joints were discussed also.

For the average Joe Smoe like myself where replacement cost is not an issue I donít think it matters a hill of beans.  It takes a certain amount of skill to do either joint correctly.  If you donít have the skill and you are trying to be as cost conscious as humanly possible then I would suggest butt joints into an aluminum or steel angle held together by deck screws.  Even a novice wood butcher could cut four boards of the correct length, put a rabbit in two of the edges and then screw the angles together.  You donít need glue but it wouldn't hurt to drill pilot holes half the length of the screws.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2010, 03:33:27 PM by Acebird » Logged

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windfall
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2010, 07:23:24 PM »

I am new to beekeeping but have spent 15 years building wooden joinery meant for exterior exposure (wooden boats)
The standard miter is the weakest and most rot prone of any boxing joint, it's only advantage is the clean look it creates. Endgrain isn't really all that much of an issue, it is damp endgrain that is a killer, and miters make the most. They rarely stay tight and once open even a bit wick moisture in and hold it. And without some sort of nailing post on the inside corner they are weak as can be... short fasteners into endgrain and  poor glue surface.
Splined or locking miters are a different matter, but I still find them a bit weak without reinforcement.

Box joint and dovetails hold up equally well, and are equally strong as long as the glue holds, If the glue lets go the dovetails win hands down. With these the rot problem usualy starts on the endgrain that is capped by the bypassing board, not the exposed endgrain.
Half-blind dovetails hold up to moisture ingress a bit better than those two but are not quite as strong wracking.
A simple end-rabbit and screws is a surprisingly strong joint, and by far the fastest of the bunch to cut without jigs.

with the exception of the lowly miter I would think any of the joints more than adequate for use in beekeeping ware....but like I said I am a beginner.
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2010, 07:24:40 PM »

There are a dozen different corners you can have for you hive boxes.   I have 3 different style box corners out there right now.   The each work good enough and I try to keep paint on them.  Everybody has their favorite, but I think all work just the same if you use and take care of your boxes (paint them and don't drop them).  
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Acebird
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2010, 08:54:22 AM »

Has anybody ever tried linseed oil for the joint?  It is a natural substance more along the lines of propolis.  If I were going to try my metal angle idea I would dip the end grains into linseed oil prior to screwing them together.  Back in the day there were only wooden ladders (no fiberglass and aluminum).  We used to paint them with linseed oil.  You cannot imagine how well they stood up to the weather.

A miter joint is quite strong if you lap the outside with a metal corner.  Even something as thin as flashing would be enormously strong once all four corners are done.  Of course you can go hi tech and lap the joint with fiberglass mesh and resin.  If you really want to go nuts use carbon fiber.

As I said before, any other joint besides the butt joint to an angle will require some degree of skill.  Trust me if you dip the end grain it will take a long time before you have to replace it.  And then you can use the angles over again.

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Dave360
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 02:15:14 PM »

I am a new bee keeper so don't know about long life but rabbited ends 3/4" x 3/8"  then rabbit for frame rests is sure easy to make I only have to dado 2 boards for each box then I use titebond III  then nail and staple together then 2 coats of prime and 2 of exterior latex

 

  Dave
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Acebird
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2010, 03:37:42 PM »

Quote
then rabbit for frame rests is sure easy to make I only have to dado 2 boards for each box


If you have the dado, and the saw or router and bit and have done it before you would think it is easy but someone that doesn't work with wood on a regular basis might think differently.

*For those that totally object to a metal corner in could be made from a square block of more durable wood or plastic decking
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 07:43:15 PM »

acebird I guess your are right not everyone has a table saw dado set and chop saw in that case butt joints and metal straps are great
metal straps are probably stronger but what would you do about frame rest with out some way of making a rabbit

Dave
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Acebird
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 07:54:18 PM »

If it is 7/8 lumber you just rip the board 1/2" narrower and tack on a 1/2 x 1/2 piece on the top.  That gives you the rabbited groove.  If you are working with 3/4 board you would use a 1/2 x 3/8 piece on top.
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Dave360
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010, 08:08:19 PM »

acebird great idea sort of how d coats did for his nucs more than one way to skin a cat or make a box

Dave
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windfall
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2010, 11:03:23 PM »

Linseed oil really doesn't do much in terms of preserving wood. It's a staple finish for a lot of reasons, but many many tests have been done over the years by many people that have demonstrated that it is not a significant barrier to moisture and has no preservative qualities. The one thing it does do is slow surface drying, and therefore can reduce micro-checking under conditions where wet alternates with dry such as strong sun or high wind...reducing those tiny cracks at the surface can retard rot some as checks are often where fungal spores get their foothold.
The exception is complete saturation. This is accomplished by submersion in oil warmed to around 100 degrees for several weeks.

I would never suggest that glass and resin is either fast or easy, and unless you do both inside and out, it is a very short-lived bond on anything wider than a few inches...too much movement.

You can make a rabbit with two passes on a table saw, you don't need a dado blade. Just be careful not to trap the free piece created in the second cut between the blade and the fence....extremely dangerous.

I think metal corners would work fine but are excessive. It seems plenty of folks just but and screw without even a rabbit.

Not trying to be negative on your suggestions acebird, just passing on what I have experienced and been taught.
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Acebird
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2010, 08:53:59 AM »

Quote
The one thing it does do is slow surface drying, and therefore can reduce micro-checking under conditions where wet alternates with dry such as strong sun or high wind...reducing those tiny cracks at the surface can retard rot some as checks are often where fungal spores get their foothold.

It will last as long as paint does.  It is used on ladders because if the wooden rungs of the ladder crack you can see the crack whereas if you paint it the crack is not so visible. (makes a dangerous situation)  It will also help in the bonding of paint when paint is a viable solution.  Today we have synthetic acrylics.

BTW it is the sun and the ozone in the air that deteriorates protective coatings.  Rain does not bother wood if left in the air where it can dry.  I do not have any experience using linseed oil on a hive but if the bees accepted it they would add their own form (propolis) and seal up any imperfections in the joint.

a simple butt joint is by far the weakest joint.  Even a rabbited butt joint isnít much better because both joints will be stronger in one direction than the other.  Nails are practically worthless in a butt joint.  Glue is very temporary in an exterior environment do to the shrink and swell caused by moisture.  Use deck screws for their holding power, resistance to weather, and strength in bending.   No matter what butt joint you make you should use a metal plate on the outside or a fender washer so the head of the screw does not penetrate the surface.  This will strengthen the joint immensely.  The aluminum angle or the corner block of harder wood/plastic would act the same way.

Not being argumentative, I just know what works.
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2011, 10:44:58 PM »


If you "know what works" why are you asking people for input?

Oil does not help paint bond...that myth has been put out to pasture years ago.

"synthetic acrylics" are one of many many bases available for paints

yes, uv and ozone are the most damaging elements to most film finishes

oil finishes will not last as long as paint. Really they make a pretty poor exterior finish, and must be renewed every year or two. I like oil, I use 5-50 gallons a year in the boats I build and maintain, but you have to be realistic about what it can and cannot do.

who said anything about nails in a butt joint? of course they have no holding power.

I don't love or have faith in glue for 25-50 year projects, But the right glues applied properly can certainly be expected to hold up beyond "very temporary" The amount of opposing movement seen on a 3/4 inch corner joint is well within the elastic limits of aliphatic resins, epoxy, and some polyurethanes.


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Acebird
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2011, 10:35:55 AM »

Quote
If you "know what works" why are you asking people for input?

I didn't ask for input.

I gave my views on the subject.  I suspected others would do the same.  Seems like my suspecions came true.  You gave your views, right?  Let others do the same.
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David McLeod
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 06:54:04 PM »

The exception is complete saturation. This is accomplished by submersion in oil warmed to around 100 degrees for several weeks.

This one has always had me wondering. I was told of an anecdotal account of an antebellum home in central Alabama that was a candidate for complete restoration after almost a half century of vacancy and being well over a century old at the time of restoration. The reason given was that the entire internal structure was still structurally intact under it's original roof. The claim was that the original roof was bald cypress shakes (old growth heart wood no doubt by it's date of construction) and prior to it's installation a wash pot (big black cast iron kettle) full of linseed oil was placed over a fire in the yard and the bundles of shakes were completely immersed in the oil for a time prior to installation.
Now as I said this was entirely anecdotal though I do trust the source as she is well known (throughout the southeast) as a oral historian/storyteller if not historian out right so she had some basis in that she only repeated as she was told.
Whatever the case I would assume, knowing the construction methods of the time as I do, that all of the structural wood as well as the exterior siding would have been most likely heart longleaf pine or maybe heart cypress (not as likely as that was never as common as pine).

Could there be any veracity to this? And if so what impact would hive wood saturated with linseed have on the bees?

Of course it could be like another antebellum that I'm aware of that still retained either it's first or very early roof. It was white oak shakes and was probably well over the century mark when I saw this go down. It was completely covered in green moss and the only way to see the wood underneath was to lift the moss. Amazingly there were no leaks on this roof. The curator, who really knew better, was convinced to remove this moss to get back to the shake roof. The leaks were immediate and severe, almost as if there was no roof. I hated to see it happen as the Clarke County museum now has a modern metal roof that is not at all authentic to the structure.
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Acebird
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2011, 07:18:03 PM »

Yeah, that saying, "if it ain't broke don't fix it" comes into play more often then we like.
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2011, 09:42:57 PM »

If you can't fix it with a hammer, then it must be an electrical problem.                   


Disclaimer, I have been stuck at the house all day due to the ice/snow and have been drinking.
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Tommyt
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2011, 11:20:58 PM »

Disclaimer, I have been stuck at the house all day due to the ice/snow and have been drinking.
  Which one you drinking Ice or Snow
I know a few who really like Ice grin


Tommyt

and BTW
all this post and allenf and MB and a few others have had box for 30 plus years so I think a few folks are getting
way out of control with how good a corner and what kind of glue you need these old box's are the real deal
someone needs to ask an owner what was used back then
JMHO
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AllenF
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2011, 11:28:35 PM »

We didn't use glue back then....And I will try to get a pic of to show you some old nasty boxes that are still good for the bees.   
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windfall
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« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2011, 10:38:35 AM »

David,
I can't speak to oil on shakes. It is common practice on boats to do the saturation for small parts that will see lots of wear, where a film like paint or varnish would quickly be lost. Things like cleats, wooden blocks, skid plates...these parts are usually small enough that prolonged soaking is practicle. The resulting surface is almost waxy to the touch and polishes nicely. It also nearly eliminates future surface checking by displacing the bound water in the wood.
The heat helps in lowering the viscosity of the oil, but more importantly it causes air in the wood to expand and outgass, when the wood cools you get mild vacuum internally and oil is pulled in deeper. Usually what we do is heat the pot for a few hours each day. Even after weeks of this treatment, a cut sample will show penetration of no more than 3/8-1/2" in pine or cedar and as little as 1/8-1/4 on dense closed grain woods like white oak.

Hot oil and turps are often brushed onto the planking of boats, often with the addition of pine tar which may well have some preservative qualities. This concoction is usually called "boat soup". Folks use it because it is easy to apply and maintain. Temps and dust are not an issue (like they are with paint) and all the boat needs each year is a scrub before another coat goes on. Whereas paint requires full cleaning and sanding/scraping. It also makes for a surface that doesn't get as slick underfoot when wet. But it doesn't protect the wood near as well...life is full of compromise!

I have no idea how bees would take to saturated equipment, but even if they did, I can't imagine it would be worth the effort. I just put this info out since oil came up. In general I don't have much to contribute yet on this site...still in learn mode, but this was something I know a bit about.
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Acebird
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2011, 12:05:32 PM »

 
Quote
I just put this info out since oil came up.
I mentioned linseed oil as a possible solution because it doesn't stay oily (more like propolis).  It cures to a very hard surface unlike the oils that have been mentioned.
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