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Author Topic: Beehive thickness?  (Read 2493 times)
BAH
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« on: May 19, 2013, 10:32:54 AM »

Hello and good morning; I am new to the forum and new to beekeeping. I have just started 2 new hives this year but have been researching the topic of bees for over 2 years, but never researched details on building one. I purchased my beehives locally and am not very happy with the craftsmanship. I never thought I would be trying to make my own hives, even though I have read many times that it is a chore of the beekeeper. Well with that said my questions is can I use rough cut lumber from a saw mill, and how thick can the walls of the hive be? Asking these questions I feel a little "duh" coming on... but I want to make sure I do not harm my bees nor waste my time. I also thought... well in the wild they can be found in tree hollows, that must be pretty thick. My bees are Carnies and not wild ones would this change their behaviour as well as their aggressiveness? I read some bees prefer the rough inside over the smooth. Will this leave more crevices for Small Hive Beetles to hide? I have only found a couple, one in each hive so far. I have my own design in mind, that uses a mixture of many ideas from others. Thank you for your time and knowledge.
-BAH-
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tefer2
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2013, 10:44:00 AM »

They will coat the inside of the box rough or smooth. You'll want to use a standard thickness so that any equipment you purchase will fit properly.
Welcome to the bee forum and enjoy.
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don2
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2013, 10:48:59 AM »

I would not use rough cut unless I sanded it. Even the band sawed lumber is rougher than planed wood. I buy #2 or culled un assembled hive bodies. Knot holes mean nothing to me. could be I need another entrance somewhere else. I do build a few from scratch. Smiley d2
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BlueBee
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2013, 11:05:14 AM »

I have built hives from wood ranging from thickness of ½” up to 1.5” thick.  From plywood, to OSB, to planed pine.  Bees don’t care.  I have built hives from polystyrene board from ¾” to 2” thick.  Again, bees don’t care.  If you’re going to build all your own stuff, then dimensions really don’t matter much (except for bee space).  If you’re going to inter mix feeders, QEs, and commercial woodenware, it would be wise to do as tefer says.

I have a log sitting the backyard with feral bees in it.  It’s walls are about 2” to 5” thick BUT it weighs a half ton, literally. grin
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BAH
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2013, 11:18:19 AM »

Great input guys thank you a bunch! So roughness may be an issue. But thickness is definitely not. I will start soon on a test hive and will be posting more info on this endeavor. Thinking a 2in. thickness will also raise my r-value. I will also try to make all needed except for frames seems like that could be a pain Lips Sealed. I knew this would be better than my bee guy, who is never in shop!
-BAH-
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2013, 12:53:45 PM »

Thickness doesn't matter  in the least. I'm not in a hive beetle zone so I cannot speak to roughness as a design consideration regards the beetle.

 I build medium supers out of rough sawn fenceboards that are under thickness (5/8" - 11/16"). The roughness just gives the bees something to do when they want to polish and coat their hive.  That extra propolis filling the rough means the boxes really, really attract wild swarms when used as traps.  So I argue that you gaining a really efficient trap system by using rough.

I use the fence boards because they are dirt cheap on sale. If you have access to a gypo sawmill, you might be able to get even cheaper material.   The standard depth of deep brood is 9 5/8 -- and modern milled 1x10 are 9 1/2 or less.  I used to buy 1 x12 and rip it down, but now I use 1 x10 -- and only use deeps on the bottom where the undersize doesn't matter because the space added by the bottom board.

I cheat the length of the mediums a bit less (about 1/8) to 19 3/4", so the inner hive length dimensions are same.  I use 16 1/4 as the outside width, as the extra width doesn't matter, and the bees work the outside of the 1st and 10th frame better. 

I run some 8 frame deeps, and I have 4/4 board scrap added on the long sides-- this means the 8's can sit on 10-frame bottomboards, and I don't have to have special bottoms.  I can also add a 8 box to the top of a 10 stack and not leave an escape gap on the sides.

As I have mentioned before, my boxes are not finger jointed, but I use #20 cabinet biscuits for the corners. Cabinet biscuits are engineered ovals that glue into special slots cut with a tool called a biscuit cutter.  This has worked extremely well, and makes the construction quick.  The fenceboards are redwood or incense cedar.  These species don't seem to cup.  Eastern cheap wood will cup, so the finger joints might be necessary.

Using a $1.69 fenceboard, and 8 biscuits (at 2.5 cents each) + 8 drywall screws to tighten, means I build a medium for well under $2.
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BAH
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2013, 01:20:39 PM »

Thank you much JW. Reading about your process has answered some other concerns of mine and has even given me an extra idea for my supers. So I will ask you another question rolleyes, lol. Since I will be using the rough cut lumber should I just use water seal as my outside protectant or paint? I have read using water seal on rough cut would require more than paint. I can do either it will not matter. Just asking to get an idea for a budget on this project. Thx again I like to get feedback on my ideas, since some are far fetched, and love to learn from others that have already walked down the road.
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2013, 02:06:57 PM »

Sun is the enemy of wood.  You want the paint to protect it.  The sun will dry the outside, and the hive moisture on the inside will cause the wood to cup.  The moisture seals I am familiar with have high volatiles to get the oil to penetrate, I don't think a lot of volatile vapor is good for the bees.   Think boats, unless you have an unlimited budget, varnished brightwork is a maintenance nightmare, and a good coat of paint is preferred.

 Go to the hardware and get a 5 gal of their Mis-Matched special. They all but give away the mis-matched, and you can pick out a premium exterior latex. In my experienced the mis-matched are sold at the same low price regardless of the grade of the original.

Anyone laying deckboards is familiar with laying the heart side out, to resist cupping.

I know there are proponents of wax dipping supers, but seems like a lot of equipment to invest in. 

BAH, in general, I believe you are "overthinking" the process.  Copy what is tried and true, get familiar and established with your colonies, and then begin experimenting.  Just get out there and get the bees established.
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beeman2009
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2013, 02:58:50 PM »

BAH, being a fellow TN beek I think you might want to re-think that 2" thickness. If your building 10 frame hives, that's going to be mighty heavy when it's full of bees/honey. Hope you have a good strong back!  rolleyes  Also consider that you will have to modify everything you might purchase because of the wood thickness. This is my 7th year beekeeping & I build all my own stuff out of 3/4 lumber. We don't, as a rule, have winters that merit wood that thick. Just something to maybe consider. It's your call & your back.  grin
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Beeman2009
BAH
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2013, 03:57:12 PM »

JW you are 100% correct about where I need to be concentrating on. I do not plan to waste a lot of time yet on building a hive, for now I am just digging in to the info and just readying myself to make quite a few more during any down time. I am a student and still have 2 years of clinicals left. So I do not have a full time job and just enjoy staying busy. But will definitely look into just painting hives, thank you for all your advice.
Hello Beeman; I was thinking of making just the brood boxes out of the roughcut. Since the supers will not be needed during the overwinter, I was thinking of using JW idea on the fencing boards which are so much lighter to deal with. Also could even just make a transfer box to hold heavy frames for transport. But do totally agree that it will weigh on my back if I intend to keep moving for inspection th_thumbsupup.
The cost, where I live at least for me, will be at 35 cents a foot. That's for 1" (plus) by 10'' (plus) by 12' and up, but some boards can be almost 2".  Don't think I will be able to get a better deal. Lowes would run me $4+ Ace hardwood $3-4+.
As far as all the other wood components still have to check designs and stuff this is still an idea in the make. I am hopeful to make beehives that I may be able to give away, at a small cost to me, so that I can do my part in saving the bees  bee. Not really worried about a huge profit. I was told if I was into beekeeping for a job... I should get a new job, lol. Too many variables to factor and a lot of factors that only lead to more hard work. In the medical field honey is a wonder that has many benefits, with that said just trying to do my part. Note: not saying bees are not profitable just trying to keep my head screwed on right and focusing on other things. Thanks again guys one of the better bee convos I have had all year  beemaster
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capt44
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2013, 05:55:38 AM »

I buy a lot of lumber from a bandsaw mill not far from here.
They usually cut it 7/8 - 1 inch thick and I then plane it down to 3/4 inch thickness.
The reason I started buying from the mill is a lot of the lumber yards don't carry a 10 inch wide board anymore.
So if I make a deep box or a medium it would cost just as much to build either one.
Another reason is the planed thickness of a milled board can be from 3/4 - 13/16 inch which can throw off Box Joint measurements.
So far this season I have built over 450 boxes of various depths.
84 hives consisting of a screened bottom board, 2 deeps, 1 medium, inner cover and telescoping top.
I'm suppose to be retired.  yeah right.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
Joe D
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2013, 09:29:53 AM »

I have been considering building some brood chambers out of rough cut lumber.  The ouside does't really matter, except for the weight.  You would want to use at least 3/4" I think.  It is the inside that needs to be standard size.  I am thinking about building a long hive, 20 deep frames, with supers on top in the middle.



Joe
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