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Drone Bee
Beekeeping Sponsor
May 12, 2009
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North Wilts
Hive Type
Number of Hives
Lots and lots
Hi Guys

All plywood I have used in the past (not for bees) have been WBP plywood, which I believe is a hardwood plywood.

Is the cheaper spruce (softwood?) plywood suitable and does it have better heat retention properties than WBP??

If it IS suitable, I may do some thermal tests beetween Spruce ply, WBP ply and plained softwood...

WBP refers to the glue, not the wood.

Very approximately, the heavier the wood is the lower the insulation value.

Dry wood insulates better than damp wood.

I reckon the simplest, cheapest, best insulated, but still durable hives, could be made from cheap 18mm ply, with suitable waterproofing stuff, and 25mm soft cheap polystyrene sheets stapled or glued on the outside flat areas.

hard wood ply is far better than soft wood ply and as jcbrum has said its only the glue that matters realy, if you want i can give a very boring lecture on ply wood and viods and the differances between the differant types but there are better things to do in life like messing around with bees
I use 18 mm WBC ply. It cost about £25 per sheet and a timber merchant in Hanwell cuts it accurately to size. I have developed a number of cutting sheets for 14 x 12 brood boxes and national supers. I just fax or e-mail the one I want. He charges me 50p per cut and guarantess to be within 1 mm. Last week he cut two sheets to make 6 14 x 12 brood boxes and 12 supers. total cost £105. I set up band saw to cut all the cutouts and it takes about 1 hr to do these two sheets worth. I then chisel out the cut outs. I buy softwood for rails from Wickes and use router table to cut out ledge for frame bars.

I glue, (evostick exterior) and screw (60 to 70 mm screws) the boxes together. Attach the rails. I then am nice to the wife and she will undercoat the boxes for me and topcoat with a breathable paint (a bit like ranch paint) from Wickes. Now I am into a routine I tend to do things in batches of 5. Putting together 5 boxes, after initial preparation and cutting is less than a 1 hr job.

I have only been using the ply for a couple of years. You need to make sure edges are well sealed. You can also always run a little frame sealant down the butt joints if you cannot get a good seal.

I talked to the timber merchant about using the cheaper shuttering ply but he says the important thing for long life is the glue strength.

I make my own varroa floor using wood battens that use use for dry lining. these are about £2.50 each. Two lengths gives you 5 floors.

Cut 2 grooves with the router to take the mesh floor and the inspection board (plastic corex). The other wood for the cross bars and entrance block I get from a friendly local white goods supplier. It appears all fridges etc have a couple of bits of 1 x1 or 1 x 11/2 in the packaging
Brian what do you use regards mesh for the floor's ?
Hi Admin

I buy the mesh for the floors from C Wynne Jones in Wales. I think it is £3 per sheet. I have however spied some in my local agricultural engineers shop. I had not got a tape measure with me. I think I could get 6 floors from a £6 sheet. Must go back an check it out regarding mesh size and dimensions. It was stainless steel mesh!!!
Would anyone like me to add my cutting sheet(s) to the site? I have the sizes for 14 X :12 worked out using Dave Cushmans national drawings. Dave does not have 14 X 12 on his site as yet

Yes please Brian. JC.
Yes please

Go on give it a go .I use 14x12s :).

John Wilkinson

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