I have checked the larger stores from North Little Rock to Searcy for decent wood and get it for a decent price. What I see on the shelves is warped or twisted for the most part. When I do find a decent peice it is in the high priced area (cherry, walnut...ect). I see contractors with straight nice wood all the time and when I finally catch them to ask where they get it they tell me either the large chains or a local mill that only supplies contractors (verified the local mill).
I know a few of these contractors and have considered backdooring the stores for decent wood. My only other option seems to be to use plywood. Has anyone else run into a problem like this? With the hassles I'm running into I'm almost tempted to chuck the build my own and call Browning or Shastina or Mann Lake or... or...or...
If you live near a town you would be surprised and pleased at what folks throw away. As you ramble around notice piles of debris in front of houses that may be going through a renovation; Often times there is some useful lumber for making hives that is free for the picking.
If you live near or go to a large city or town there will be for sure some construction projects going on and there is usually treasures untold waiting for you there. Free for the picking.
Now if you are into trips come down to New Orleans and pickup enough good cypress lumber in the trailer truck loads. Katrina and Rita have made more lumber available than you, and, your decendents from here to eternity could ever use. Katrina and Rita have been generous in that way.
Actually a few beekeepers around here in the storm areas have had their hives flooded and claim that they are contaminated and will burn them. A few of the folks are found at www.labeekeepers.org
If the found lumber 3/4" thick is not to width size there is some wonderful glue available to make wide boards.
I bought my first boxes. two, from Rossman and the precut cypress is 3/4" thick which makes for a good fit for the frames. I now make the boxes from salvaged lumber. I use plywood for the covers and cover it with thin aluminum sheeting, also salvaged.
Cypress is a good, durable, exterior wood for damp places but pine will last for a long time if kept dry or allowed to dry properly after being wet.
Probably longer than the desire to keep bees.
Actually if you are into fiddling around making/building things using found materiel you are only limited by your imagination.