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Author Topic: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?  (Read 3758 times)

Offline jmblakeney

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How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« on: March 17, 2013, 12:55:59 AM »
I have several of the DCoates nuc boxes that have the plywood tops.  Some painted some bare.  I always have problems with the tops warping.  Even some of my 10 frame Langs has 3/4" ply tops and they warp as well.  I have to keep some heavy blocks/bricks on each corner to keep them manageable.  The nucs I have screwed down on each corner to keep them straight but this is not convenient at all. 
What are some of your practices to keep them from warping?

Thanks,
James
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Offline Joe D

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 11:55:42 AM »
Mine are treated telescope covers, about forgot, my bee yard is covered so probably no help.  The hives I bought a few years ago had the top nailed down, not nearly as easy to get into though.  Good luck




Joe

Offline Rex "Hawk" Smith

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 12:33:45 PM »
James - On the lids - do you have a rim that hangs down all around the lid?  I do on my hives as well as on my nucs and that (helps) to prevent warping.  If the lip is only on the front/back, then yes it will definitely warp.  I basically added 1" all the way around to my hive tops and used a piecce of 1" (3/4" - or close) stock/scrap for the lips that offer structural support to the lid.

Delaminating - the only thing I know of to prevent delaminating would be to use an exterior paint on all the edges of the ply.  I (obviously) have not made time to paint mine as yet...

Rex's Lids

Offline hardwood

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 12:55:14 PM »
I use 3/4" form plywood (faces are covered with plastic) and don't have a problem with warping. Don't run edging on all 4 sides if you're not using inner covers. You'll have a hard time prying them off the propolis.

Scott
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Offline Rex "Hawk" Smith

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 01:09:43 PM »
Good point, Scott!

My hives in East Tx are in the piney-woods area - and get HEAVILY propolized.  However, my hives in N Texas (North of Dallas) generally have comparatively little propolis that is gathered.

Offline bailey

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2013, 02:48:56 PM »
I paint both sides of my d coats nucs tops.  It doesn't bother the bees if the are cured well and if it warps I just flip it over.
I also make a few extra tops to replace those that aren't manageable.
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Offline Moots

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2013, 03:09:37 PM »
I'm afraid the short answer may be, you don't!  :-D

Although I'm thinking certain things will help postpone it.  My first two Nucs I used either 1/4" or 3/8" plywood and put a support board in both the front and back.  Primed the top and all edges and followed with two coats of exterior latex....and they warped in a matter of weeks.  :(

The ones I've built since then, I've avoided plywood.  However, I'm thinking using a thicker sheet of plywood would certainly help...More layers, less prone to warping.  Along with Bailey's suggestion of painting the inside of the cover, I definitely think that would make a difference.

Lastly, I assume you could run some board supports on the two sides, placing them on top instead of the bottom to avoid not being able to remove the cover.  However, it may look a little strange and you have to ask yourself, how much extra effort is it worth to be able to use plywood?
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Offline jmblakeney

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2013, 08:42:13 PM »
Thanks all.  I do have a rim on the front and back but not on the sides.  Mainly because I like to overwinter nucs with their sides touching and a rail on the sides would allow a space in between them.  I suppose I could put them on the top for a trial run. 
I have not tried painting them on the underside in addition to the top side.  May give that a try as well.

James
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Offline AllenF

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2013, 09:06:29 PM »
My tops I made for dcoats nucs are made out of scrap 3/4 plywood.   I salvaged a bit of it out of it out of an office one day.   It was painted up thick on both sides already.   I put front and rears on the tops out of the scrap 3/4 also.   Not much warping out of these.   

Offline specialkayme

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2013, 08:42:45 AM »
I must be lucky, as I don't have issues with warping on plywood (much, at least).

I use plywood for inner covers, telescoping covers, migratory covers, solid bottom boards, and D coates nucs. I make sure to cover all of the edges (when possible) with pine wood, securing it with a liberal amount of Tightbond III glue. Then I make sure I cover all exterior edges (and usually a little bit on the inside edges) with two coats of very nice, exterior, durable latex paint. I prefer Sherwin Williams' Duration. It's significantly more expensive than "oops" paint, but you can find it on sale for 50% off or more. At that price, it still isn't cheap, but it's worth every penny in my opinion. I can get 2x or 3x the life out of a piece of equipment with that paint as opposed to the cheapo stuff. Considering that cheap paint will run you about $15 a gallon, if this stuff is $50 a gallon, and I can coat about 24 bottom boards with a gallon, and each bottom board costs me about $8, and with cheapo paint I can get 5 years out of it, and with good paint I can get 10 years out of it, by spending the extra $35 on paint I save $192.

Sorry for the rambling.

But I had a DCoates nuc that I left outside year round in a damp area with extra shade for 14 months now, and it hasnt shown any signs of warping yet.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2013, 11:31:51 AM »
I boil mine in beeswax and rosin.  But dipping in paint would help... or painting on both sides to equalize the absorption so the top isn't absorbing more water than the bottom and in dry weather, vice a versa.
 
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Offline JPBEEGETTER

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2013, 04:39:33 PM »
I use inner covers banded with cypress, slotted 1/4" groove 1/2" deep 3/4 x 1 1/2" with 1/4" plywood in center.. Telescoping cover -cypress rim 3/4 X 2" ,top is 1/4" plywood covered with alumn. flashing cover.. no warping,  no moisture.. little more trouble but worth it to me... JPP

Offline Moots

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2013, 04:56:17 PM »
I use inner covers banded with cypress, slotted 1/4" groove 1/2" deep 3/4 x 1 1/2" with 1/4" plywood in center.. Telescoping cover -cypress rim 3/4 X 2" ,top is 1/4" plywood covered with alumn. flashing cover.. no warping,  no moisture.. little more trouble but worth it to me... JPP

I'm pretty sure you must be talking about your hives and not Nuc boxes here???  :?
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Offline JPBEEGETTER

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2013, 04:59:45 PM »
 ;)On nucs  I use 1 piece 3/4" pine, or cypress. no plywood, now on swarm traps plywood is ok because don't stay out long on a tree..

Offline capt44

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2013, 12:20:25 PM »
Building my tops I use frame boards 3/4x3inches then put 3/8 plywood on top of that.
I glue and nail all pieces.
I then use aluminum flashing for a cover with 1/2 inch overlap on each side.
When I paint the top I turn it upside down and use a good exterior latex paint letting it run under the flanges on each side.
So far mine are not warping, some have been out there 4 years now.
Richard Vardaman (capt44)

Offline Moots

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2013, 12:33:02 PM »
Building my tops I use frame boards 3/4x3inches then put 3/8 plywood on top of that.
I glue and nail all pieces.
I then use aluminum flashing for a cover with 1/2 inch overlap on each side.
When I paint the top I turn it upside down and use a good exterior latex paint letting it run under the flanges on each side.
So far mine are not warping, some have been out there 4 years now.

Capt.
Sounds like you're describing a telescoping top for a regular hive, I think the OP was specifically asking about Nuc tops.
"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Offline gov1623

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2013, 11:36:05 PM »
on my plywood nucs i glue and nail a 2 x 3/4'' strip of pine in the middle from front to back on the top of the lid. This stops them from curling up.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2013, 10:54:36 AM »
Lots of bricks helps... Pile them up on any corner that is curling up, or in the middle if it is bulging...
Michael Bush
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Offline gefdef

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2013, 09:32:09 AM »
I don't have plywood. I use polystyrene sandwich ( as used in cool rooms) for lids.  would also help you with winter insulation.  I make a ventilation frame to go under the lid.


Offline JPBEEGETTER

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Re: How do you keep plywood tops from warping?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2013, 12:11:58 PM »
How do you keep your tops from warping ?  Don't use plywood...