Nuc box Plans

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New Bee
Jun 5, 2009
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Herefordshire. UK
Hive Type
Number of Hives
I really enjoyed the youtube video by hedgerow pete on how to make a nuc box.
Is there any chance of a set of dimensions/ a drawing being included in the forum, as I would like to make one and test it out this summmer.
I make the sides 460 x 320mm (for 14x12 frames), and the overall width 230mm. The recess for the lugs is 18mm high and 32mm wide. This allows 6mm metal runners or extend the end panels up 6mm and chamfer.

If you really need it I'll send you a pic, but I'll have to go and take one and the Turkish GP coverage has just started on telly.

If you don't use 14x12 just make the sides 20 mm deeper than your frames.

I think for a standard WBC brood frame the sides of a nuc should be about 245mm deep.

Perhaps Pete will perk up in a minute. JC.
Thx JCB.
My confusion is allowing for the different thicknesses of ply, which affect the overall dimensions, internally or externally.
If someone could give me all the dimensions, as well as ply thicknesses, I would be happy to do a 3d drawing to illustrate.
Thx Guys
Don't worry about ply thickness, just work to the outside dimensions, and use either 12 or 18mm ply which are about the same price anyway.

On balance, if you make it all out of 12mm and make sure the shelf that the lugs rest on is between 30 and 32mm wide you'll be fine.
I've had another idea. If you can do a 3d drawing then just get a frame and allow 6mm under the lugs, another 6mm bee-space at the side bars and 20 or 25mm underneath, then that gives you the internal dimensions of your box. If you choose what thickness of wood to make it from, then that gives you the outside dimensions of the box. It's easy-peasy when you've done one.
Is bog standard B & Q ply, the stuff to use, or does it have to be some other stuff, to prevent it from "unpeeling" in the rather damp, global warming that we are experiencing in Staffordshire today!

WBP exterior quality is normally specified, but HedgerowPete claims to use structural ply, which is more available to himself and cheaper to others. The life is reduced, but five to ten years for supers and Nucs isn't bad. Brood bodies may be more exposed to continued wet weather and so you might consider WBP quality essential there. It it's well protected then the reduced lifespan of structural ply shouldn't be a problem.

Do you really care if hive components survive you by ten or more years? :)
Thanks Hombre!

No, I don't mind if they survive me, I'm nearly 64 now, and not planning on "checking out" until I'm 108!

Let's see that's 108 minus 64, divide by the number, answer is a fair old bit, yet.

Hoping to get shot by an angry husband whilst caught "in flagrante"!

I can dream...........

Yippee, - young Jensen Button's just won another one.

Back at the drawing board, I've used B&Q 18mm construction ply but not tried it outside all winter yet, as I've only used it for collection boxes. They have been ok outside for the last 3 months though.

Probably you should ask for WBP (water and boil proof) ply, but I think the modern glues are all pretty ok theses days. Marine ply is ok but more expensive.

Pete says in his video that he uses Sadolin to water-proof his ply, and I've used that too since I had some left over from doing my garage doors.

I've been told that 2 or 3 coats of linseed oil works as well, but personally if I was trying to achieve minimal cost I would soak them in something cheap like rape seed cooking oil. I reckon it would work ok and be bee friendly as well.

A beekeeping person I know reckons he's going to use Eucalyptus wood instead of cedar as his wood-yard supplier says it's as durable and cheaper.

You'll have your apiary infested with all the Koala's from miles around!

At least with my hives being a mixture of pine and cedar, I haven't seen a Koala all week.

You'll have your apiary infested with all the Koala's from miles around!

At least with my hives being a mixture of pine and cedar, I haven't seen a Koala all week.


Well that's why you put the cooking oil on. - Koalas don't like chips !

afternoon every one are we sitting comfortable , then i will begin sizes are for a 12" by 14" nation brood box made from 1/2" ply wood you can use standard frames there will be just a gap at the bottom which is of no inportance
Roof 490 x250mm
roof sides 490 x 150mm
roof ends 225 x 150 the top roof piece is the size to go on the top and the frame is screwed through the top and can be glued if you want

Brood box sides 460 x 370mm
base 190 x 410mm
brood box ends 190mm x 330 ( i used 3/4 cause i had some spare but 1/2" will do)
then to make the ends and the returns you want two pieces of ply both 190 mm wide and one 140 long and the other 110mm the shorter on goes in the middle with the longer on finishing flush with the top of the box
as for the enterance i use either one or three 14mm drilled holes but its up to you,

now we start the long and drawn out agro of finishes , quality, roof materials etc, i am sorry if its brief but every time i open my trap it gets slapped by someone one the forum for some reason
the better the finishing sealer( paint ) the longer the life span, you can make a canoe out of cardboard and aslong as its paint properly yes you can sail the channel(yes it has been done) what i save on materials by using what is called shuttering ply which is classed as external, not water boil proof or better still marine ply, i get hold of pieces of ply make the box and then use either sadolin white opaque or dulux paint also in white .the extra cost of the paint is saved ten fold from the cost saving of ply wood. now lets talk life exspectances
ordinary shutting ply left out side untreated two year three if your lucky, painted with sadolin or dulux paint 15 years plus, my allotment shed is made from shuttering ply and coated with the cheapest b and q green wood stain going and is 5 years old with no damage anywhere, so expected life of brood boxs are ten years plus minium.
Roofing materials.
now where do i start, how about just a coat of paint?
want better or more how about a piece of 1mm thick lead sheet stuck down with evo stick, in between whats wrong with a frindge door stripped down and folded over, an old oil drum cooking oil or car oil cut the lids off and fold it again over the top. in a hurry how about a stapler and a plastic bag or poly sheet, you can buy a one millimeter sheet of ali for aroung a fiver for a nuc and nearer a tenner for a national, £15 if it full price, if you want why not try fibre glassing the roof, butly pond linner and a stapler?,as for the final bit i will redo the making a nuc video with some roofing bits
Some good ideas here. I reckon I am going to have a go. Will let you guys know about progress, and thanks for the tips.
I have to say several things here................

1) I made Hedgerow's nuc box, I followed the instructions on the Youtube video and apart from the fact that the significance of the words 14 x 12 didn't sink in, so I had to saw some off :ack2:, it has turned out exceedingly well (Thanks pete) and I will be making more.

2) I can't understand all the problems with the finish. Paint it, seal it, anything to waterproof it. Use roofing felt if needs be for the roof.

3) Cooking oil? Rape seed cooking oil.......... NO
Cooking oil is dreadful stuff and goes sticky after a while. Use something for wood.

Frisbee (ageing female brought up with no woodwork skills)
congratulations girl it good to know that someone listens to my dribble, someone cares, !!
as for the 12 by 14 i would of left it as it was and the girls dont seem to mind
i have made two more videos for you mark one on making the roof the other on making the body these will give you enough information to do want you want, if not i can always sell you a couple so far this year i have made over 25 and i only have three at the bee shed, its suprising how many friends i have !
Thank - You. I'll take a look.

I find it easy to copy something like that. Written plans are not for me.

I am planning on making some more. I have a full sized sheet of plywood left by the workmen in my field. If I ever get a surplus nuc for sale I can sell the whole lot together. It seems that selling bees is more profitable than selling honey.