Any hive building tips?

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harveyzone 

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Hi there,

I am looking to try building some hives with the aim of starting to populating them next spring/summer. I've downloaded a few sets of plans for various components of Nationals, all of which seem to be a little different but think I am coming to grips with it.

The one thing that I do notice is that a lot of the measurements seem very precise (bee space needs to be Xmm etc) but other comments I have read seem to imply that bees will adapt fairly easily to their surroundings. So will using 18mm board rather than 19mm make any difference at all?

Otherwise the parts seem pretty straight forward for a vaguely competent woodworker. Any hints or tips for simplifying the process for someone who has never done this before?

Cheers,
Tom.
 

admin 

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18mm Is not a problem.
Most members that build from ply use 18mm 8x4 sheets.

My main tip would be to buy a hive (flat pack from Thornes) and use it as a guide.
You dont have to use finger/box joints,butt joints are fine for diy.

Be aware that there are some national plans around that need another 3mm taken off the top sidebar for the frames to sit flush.
If you post up what plans you are going to build from then members can check them for you.
 
T

Tom Bick 

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18mm should be ok you will have to adjust the dimensions to compensate for the slightly thiner boards.

The beespace is more important and it will be better to end up with a hive a couple of mm smaller than have a larger beespace.

If it is plywood you are thinking about then its best to check the thickness first I have noticed of late plywood thicknesses less than 18mm.
 

Mike a 

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Welcome Harvey

I'm sure most forum members would agree the standard National brood chamber is to small for some of the modern prolific queens. If you are intent on the National size go for building Deep National brood chambers or 14" x 12" and save yourself the hassle to modify later.

If my memory serves me right I think its only an extra 90mm in depth.

Good luck and post us some pictures.
 

harveyzone 

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Thanks for all the quick and helpful replies.

It is fairly early in my investigations, but I was thinking of using planned timber rather than ply. I understand that Ceder is preferred, but pine, deal or ply (amongst others) can all be used. Getting larger than 9"x3/4"(ish) planned planks may be a problem and that would make producing 14x12 boxes more difficult without joining. The 9" depth is ideal for 225mm deep boxes. I was thinking of visiting a couple of timber merchants at the weekend to see what they have available.

The plans that I have been looking at are a combination of those on Dave Cushman's web site, the ones that you can download from the Scottish Beekeepers Association website, and also a series of JPGs that I think I found a link to here. they are all (obviously) very similar, but all slightly different (one being imperial 3/4, one using 18mm and one using 19mm measurements).

On a separate note, what type of floor is most suitable? A simple solid floor looks easy to make, but should I be considering an open mesh floor, or a more complicated mesh/solid floor design?

Cheers,
Tom.
 
T

Tom Bick 

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In an ideal world a more complicated mesh/solid floor.

Basically a mesh floor with a removable tray and when the tray is in position you have minimum gaps this helps with varroa treatments later although it is possible to cover gaps with tape at that time.
 

Adam 

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In an ideal world a more complicated mesh/solid floor.

Basically a mesh floor with a removable tray and when the tray is in position you have minimum gaps this helps with varroa treatments later although it is possible to cover gaps with tape at that time.
Make a simple mesh floor. All it needs is a few timber battons and a sheet of mesh nailed under it. It really doesn't not have to be very complex.

If you nail battons above and below, you can still use a slide - it rests on the hive stand rather than a rebate in the floor but still works fine.


Adam
 

hedgerow pete 

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now comes an answer from the master of the flying bodge,

The biggest single mistake anyone makes when they decide to "get plans" and to "have a go" is that what ever they make or have made is slightly differant from the ones they have started with. so before you start cutting up timber please run the tape measure around the INSIDE OF YOUR HIVE,

the next thing that completly confused me is that most bee hive designs are measured from the inside and are not the outsides, as we are only interested in the insides and how they work with our frames.

simply put get one of your brood frames and add 8mm on the two down sides 10mm across the floor area and either 6mm on top or not and these dims should be close to your hive inside dimentions.

so after lots of tape measure work lets just go through what we can make them from and all this depends on two ideas,

one, are you a proficient carpenter, i personal describe my work as wood butchery

two, tools avalible?, when i build my hives i have to polythene sheet the whole back garden and set what little i have up and end up working off the floor to construct gear

so lets say we know which end of a saw to hold and some where to do it, the next biggie is what to make it from, i am sure that if you search through the old posts there are hundreds of arguements/discussions on the choices of timber and ply.

personaly my list would go
poly hives
solid timber
ply marine
ply , wpb
ply cheap and scabby

unfortunatly money and time makes the list run up side down and all my hives are made from cheap ply from a building site but i then paint the day lights out of them to protect them from falling apart and also i only ever exspect my hives to last 4 years max after which i pick up some more scabby ply to start again

as a slight odd point is your time best spent building hives or would you be better off buying or getting someone to help you with them??
 

harveyzone 

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Thanks again.

So a mesh floor it is :)

Tools - I have all I require.
Carpentry skills - Adequate, but not averse to the odd bodge.

The tip on measuring from the inside is great and explains some of the differences I have seen in various plans.

Cheers,
Tom.
 

hedgerow pete 

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for an idea of what is involved with a bodge job try watchong the videos on me making a nuc box and then you will see some of the basic's there.

personal i am not a joint man as i dont have the time or equipment to make them but I rely on BIG wood screws and castimite wood glue or some other very good quality wood glue thats good for outside use
 

Jimmy 

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Internal dimension is the key. I found it useful to have some frames to hand as I assembled to make sure there was space.

I'd recommend Hedgerow Pete's videos - made up a couple of plywood nucleus' over the summer after watching using just a hand saw and screws.
 

harveyzone 

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Just been watching some of the videos - excellent work! Full of the kind of tips I was looking for. I will be watching them all over the next few weeks!

Thanks,
Tom.
 

wojciech 

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"Build It" Book

As a beginner, I would commend this book by Joe Jacobs published by the Good Life Press, which contains a chapter on building a BS Nat, a Nat Nuc and a TBH, using 18mm ply. The design is very much simplified so that you use butt joints nailed and I found that getting a timber merchant to saw a sheet of WBH ext 18 mm ply plus pieces of planed softwood for the bars resulted in hives coming in at less than 20 pounds each. I've since bought some more ply in a special promotion by Jacksons at half the price and this winter I'll be sawing the ply myself using a circular saw. The result from my first attempt iwas not pretty but quite functional.

Good luck with your endeavours.
 

Russel 

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Picked up 20 metres of sawn 6 x 1 cedar from local (3 miles) sawmill, ordered last friday ready for collection yesterday(weds). 7 off 2.4 mtr and 2 off 2.8 mtr £25.86 inc vat collected!
 

Black Comb 

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That is extremely good value.
Wish I lived close.
 

harveyzone 

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Bargain! I will be looking for some this weekend if time allows. Hope I can find as good a deal.

As a side note, I have been looking for planned timber. I assume buying sawn timber would need planning first. I cannot recall seeing a finished hive with a sawn wood finish. Is this correct?
 

Russel 

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PS & HP, it certainly will as it's fairly straight grained, virtually knot free and a good finish for saw timber - handle without gloves.
This is much cheaper than I pay Travis Perkins for crappy tannalised knot bound 6 x 1 pine in my day job. BTW TP wanted £6+ pm collected for small quatities of cedar, one hell of a mark up.
Are there no saw mills near or not so near to you that can offer good qual timber at reasonable prices.
Just to add insult to injury it's cheaper for larger quantities and I also rescued some 145 x 45mm european red/whitewood in the form of several PMJ's from an newish extension some lads were knocking down a few doors up from where I was working. When asked if they any plans for it " It'll get chopped and burnt!" I'll get rid of that for you lads, oh thanks we'll help you load it up.
The mrs has got the hump though.
 
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Russel 

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Bargain! I will be looking for some this weekend if time allows. Hope I can find as good a deal.

As a side note, I have been looking for planned timber. I assume buying sawn timber would need planning first. I cannot recall seeing a finished hive with a sawn wood finish. Is this correct?
Due to H & S a lot of "sawn" timber is sanded/planed - no splinters - so could be used as is.
 
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