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Author Topic: Rabbet joint vs. box joint  (Read 3502 times)
DirtyDusty
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« on: May 22, 2011, 08:23:38 PM »

I was looking at a hive body a friend of mine had today, and I am not sure where it came from, but the corners where rabbeted instead of finger jointed.  It seemed just as sturdy as the other ones he had.  Is there a reason why most of them are made with finger joints instead of rabbeted joints?  Seems to me the rabbeted would be strong enough and alot faster.
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ccar2000
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2011, 11:48:51 PM »

Finger joints have more surface area for gluing. There fore theoretically stronger. Finger (box) joints are harder to make.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2011, 12:37:00 AM »

Finger joints have been traditionally viewed as stronger.  Brushy Mt. makes both joints, or they used to.  I haven't seen a catalog lately.
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Grieth
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2011, 09:26:42 AM »

I have thought about this a lot.  A finger joint exposes twice as much end grain.  Fingers expose the full width of end grain for half the end grain of each piece making the join, the equivalent of one entire end grain.  A rabbet joint exposes only half of one end grain of one piece and none of the end grain on the other.  Thus, for weathering, rabbet joints expose less of the timber that may be more vulnerable to rot.

However, if the joint degrades over time, fingers should be much stronger. But, the weight is almost all carried by the two end pieces and not the join.

I also noticed the boxes often start to rot on the edges where the hive tool is used, not the joints.  Then again, wax dipping protects against this.

My thoughts: more a matter of personal preference (or price and availability) as the box will probably fail in other ways before the joints.
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2011, 10:34:54 PM »

I make most of my hives and I use Butt Joints. I nail and glue all the joints and the bees normally use their fair share of propolis. I do not have a problem. It is definitely easier to make them this way and it takes less sophisticated tools!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 01:09:58 AM »

I typically do the same except with deck screws instead of nails.  They hold up fine.
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AllenF
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 07:23:16 PM »

I have bodies made both ways.   Never had a problem with them failing.   Rotting yes.  But they are about equal.   Use what you can get or feel good about making.
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2011, 09:34:02 AM »

IMO, but I don't think it's strength nor exposure. It's cupping that the finger joints are better suited to prevent. The finger joint locks in from both sides and can be nailed to stop the boards from splaying out if the board tries to cup. No way to slow cupping down structurally with a rabbated joint.
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Grieth
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2011, 12:13:06 PM »

Either method relies upon the nails/screws and glue strength (and titebond is stronger than timber) to stop cupping.  You would need dovetails if you were relying on the mechanical forces of the timber - although I suppose there is a greater glue surface with finger joints.

I still think that arranging wax dipping is a far stronger priority than construction methods.  Trouble is it is hard to find and expensive to set up.
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« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2011, 10:41:52 PM »

Most of your cupping is going to be visible on the wood before you make the hives. A Bowed piece of lumber will make finger joints a pain and those joints will not straighten a bad piece of lumber. You can prevent a lot of joint problems by simply using good lumber. Nails, Screws, Glue, and Good Paint will help prevent cupping from the weather!
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2011, 12:30:51 PM »

As I recently commented on the "Cedar board" thread, I use butt joints reinforced with #10 or #20 Cabinet Biscuits.  I use Titebond II or III.
I am now in my 5th year using biscuits and have had no box failure. 

The advantages of using biscuits are fast and adjustable make-up. They allow some marginal low cost board to be used.  In the cedar thread, I noted I have successful medium supers made from Incense Cedar Fence Board, which is 5/8" actual thickness, and often extremely low cost on the west coast.

The advantage of using butt joints is you save 3" of run length a box.  This allows a 6 foot board to make a box.  Otherwise with finger joints you overrun a 6 foot length by 1/2 inch + 4 kerf widths, or about an inch of missing material. 
If you are making dozens of boxes this wouldn't matter, as your cuts would come out of many boards, but in making just a few having the langstroth dimensions overrun current lumber length is frustrating.

Purchased in bulk,  biscuits are a trivial expense.  I use 2 on mediums and 3 on full depth brood.
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Haddon
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2011, 02:26:00 PM »

I use rabbit joint easy to make and I get a box for every 6 foot lumber. I make my shelf 3/4 inch deep so all three cut on the end boards are the same for the frame rest and sides makes it faster no resetting the saw. I was buying 12 foot 1x12 for 10 a piece last year so 5 bucks a box mediums would cost you 2.50 a box.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2011, 08:36:07 PM »

I use rabbit joint easy to make and I get a box for every 6 foot lumber. I make my shelf 3/4 inch deep so all three cut on the end boards are the same for the frame rest and sides makes it faster no resetting the saw. I was buying 12 foot 1x12 for 10 a piece last year so 5 bucks a box mediums would cost you 2.50 a box.
My heads starting to hurt...  I'm trying to figure out how this affects bee space.  It's only 1/8" deeper than 5/8" but...   huh
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2011, 10:33:48 PM »

If Haddon makes all his own boxes, then he’s going to end up with the proper bee space between each box if he’s consistent with the depth of the frame rests.  He’ll just have to compensate on the top cover and bottom board if he’s concerned about an extra/missing 1/8” there.

Clearly some of these posts show a lot of thought going into what type of joint is best.  That is great info for DIYs to take in. 
 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2011, 11:05:04 PM »

If you make all your own boxes then 3/4" rabbets work fine.  They also work fine with a flat cover and leave 3/8" top beespace.  If you mix them then you have a beesapce problem, but worst case is some burr between the boxes.  You'll get that just using plastic frames...
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Michael Bush
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2011, 01:34:41 AM »

If you make all your own boxes then 3/4" rabbets work fine.  They also work fine with a flat cover and leave 3/8" top beespace.  If you mix them then you have a beesapce problem, but worst case is some burr between the boxes.  You'll get that just using plastic frames...
Are the lugs/ears on the frames normally 3/8" thick?

I can see (with 3/8") lugs/ears how the bee space can be maintained just beneath the inner cover.  It seems that there would need to be a thin spacer/shim between the bottom super and the bottom board or either the bottom board build with the extra 1/8" height built it.  It seems that to keep problems from coming up down the road it'd be better to standardize with the 5/8" in case you give away or receive some boxes in the future.  Not having to switch the saw back and forth sounds interesting, though!

Ed
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American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2011, 01:49:42 AM »

The lugs/ears on my frames are normally 11mm thick.  The Mann Lake PF plastic frames have flat ears whereas most wood frames have tapered ears.  However in most cases the thickness of the ears where they contact the frame rest is 11mm.  3/8” = 9.5mm; so we’re talking ears that are 1.5mm thicker.

Lots of people use a bottom board that is more than 3/8” below the bottom box hence no shim is needed on the bottom.

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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2011, 06:38:02 AM »

I make most of my hives and I use Butt Joints. I nail and glue all the joints and the bees normally use their fair share of propolis. I do not have a problem. It is definitely easier to make them this way and it takes less sophisticated tools!

I do the same, just be sure to use waterproof glue [Titebond is what I use].
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