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PeteN 

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As a new bee it has been impressed on me countless times that Western Red Cedar (WSC) is the way to go when constructing your own Hives etc. However there does see to be a lot of videos and posts where people are using other types of timber.
Understand fully the reasons why WRC would be the preference but is there any reason (apart from longevity) for not using other timbers.

Pete
 

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Western Red Cedar has a marked weight advantage.
 
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Cost is the main problem with good quality WRC. There is UK-grown WRC but from what I have read on this forum it is not the best quality - more knots.

Other woods people use for hives include:

Plywood - stable, cheap but heavy and the edges need well sealed. There is marine ply but it probably costs more than good WRC.

"Builders Wood" this is what I call the stuff you buy from builders merchants for making window frames, floors etc. It is fairly cheap but liable to warp and you will not readily get it in the widths you want so you will have to edge joint it which is great if you like doing woodwork and have the sash cramps etc.

Of course I prefer hives made from stable, light-weight materials which means they don't have any wood in them at all.*

*Not quite true as the frames are still wooden but that will be recitfied this season.
 

SixFooter 

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I'm a newbee as well and mad diyer, but it seems to me that there isnt much point in an amateur making a hive out of cedar unless they can find a cheaper source of the timber than I could. However, it's possible to make hives out of pine fairly cheaply and ply very cheaply. These obviously wont last as long as cedar, but you can get what you need from B & Q , Wickes, Jewsons etc..

I wanted to make my own hives, but in the end I bought 3 second quality hives from Thornes. Over the winter, I've made a few supers from 18mm ply and a few nucs as per Hedgerow Pete's video (except I used WBC ply).
 

PeteN 

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I seem to be in the same place that sixfooter is. have been impressed with Hedgerow Pete's videos and approach. Might just keep my urge for DIY restricted to supers and feeders etc. have been playing with one following HRP's video. Bit worried about making brood boxes out of pine type softwood. Although am tempted with the 18mm ply option.
 

johna 

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The problem with most builders merchants softwood is its stability.Its difficult to get flat boards and often the quality is fifths grade - alright for joinery work but makes difficulties in getting accuracy in your work.If you are going to spend time making hives then you need good stable materials.Plywood is acceptable and is stable ,also available in the right thicknesses but you MUST use WBP exterior grades otherwise the weather will cause delamination of the veneers.MUCH better to use Western Red Cedar which is readily available,stable AND has the advantage of natural rot resistance.Cedar is also lighter and works very easily - for example cutting rebates in ply is much more difficult and also exposes the veneers where you cant seal them without hazarding the bees with nasty preservatives.With Cedar you can if you wish treat the outsides of the hive parts with Cuprinol CLEAR which is not toxic to bees.If you dont treat Cedar hives it doesnt really matter too much they will weather to a nice grey colour.Ply and deal/fir hives are better painted to protect the wood _ they definately wont last as long as Cedar.The cost of Cedar is comparable to better grade softwood -- firsts and seconds grade which is usually only available in specialist woodyards and not builders merchants.
 

sherwood 

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"The problem with most builders merchants softwood is its stability.Its difficult to get flat boards and often the quality is fifths grade - alright for joinery work but makes difficulties in getting accuracy in your work.If you are going to spend time making hives then you need good stable materials.Plywood is acceptable and is stable ,also available in the right thicknesses but you MUST use WBP exterior grades otherwise the weather will cause delamination of the veneers.MUCH better to use Western Red Cedar which is readily available,stable AND has the advantage of natural rot resistance.Cedar is also lighter and works very easily - for example cutting rebates in ply is much more difficult and also exposes the veneers where you cant seal them without hazarding the bees with nasty preservatives.With Cedar you can if you wish treat the outsides of the hive parts with Cuprinol CLEAR which is not toxic to bees.If you dont treat Cedar hives it doesnt really matter too much they will weather to a nice grey colour.Ply and deal/fir hives are better painted to protect the wood _ they definately wont last as long as Cedar.The cost of Cedar is comparable to better grade softwood -- firsts and seconds grade which is usually only available in specialist woodyards and not builders merchants."


John the trick to sealing the edges of ply is to smear PVA accross all the exposed edges this helps seal the wood I am not saying its pefect but I know of WBP plywood hives personall that are 12 or more years old. That is to I have seeen and worked them not just heard of them and I have heard of others that are older but cannot attest to these. My oldest is 6 years and is still gong strong
 
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ENZO 

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Hi Pete, I've made most of my hives and have used several types of timber but I must say that Cedar is hard to beat, it's light, easy to machine so less wear on tools, lasts outside without constant maintenance and best of all, for me is it's stable. A good ply is probably next but much heavier and as for pine, never again, a few damp winters and they warp and twist and start to rock when the weather warms up and on top of that you have to maintain them. the cedar hives stay the same, year in year out, yes, a little more expensive but well worth it in the long run.

Enzo
 

admin 

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as for pine, never again
Enzo
Thanks for that tip Enzo,I run cedar hives with a few ply boxes added as needed.

I am happy to use both but was thinking of trying Pine,will give it a miss now :cheers2:
 

paulgeoffrey 

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Thanks for that tip Enzo,I run cedar hives with a few ply boxes added as needed.

I am happy to use both but was thinking of trying Pine,will give it a miss now :cheers2:
Don't write off pine completly as many people can't afford the expense of Cedar. If well made and maintained Pine hives will last many years, are from a sustainable source, cheap to produce and I bet there are a few people on here that use them.
Maisemore Apairies claim they have some over 30 years old! and that most hives on the continent and America are produced from softwood.
However I may be slightly biased on this topic :) as I make them. See: Ebay link removed by admin as we dont allow advertising.
Paul
 
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learner 

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wrc is durable ie it does not rot easily my workshop is made of the stuff it does split easily so you may need to predrill, like I said my workshop is built of this fantastic wood it is light and fairly strong, please try not to breathe the dust as I am not sure of the consequences, but bear in mind high end furniture drawer bottoms were made of this stuff to deter woodworm and other boring bugs.Yeah and it smells wonderfull when worked.

Pine is very good for any project like this but would not have the cost or durability of cedar 5/6 years if looked after, cedar well my workshop was 25 years old when the wind blew it down on its original site and I rebuilt it 20 years ago no rot yet only on the 4x2 pine frame work.
 

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