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Author Topic: 2" lumber for hive boxes?  (Read 964 times)

Offline Dora

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2" lumber for hive boxes?
« on: January 23, 2024, 10:16:24 pm »
We need to build some 8-frame medium hive boxes, and I priced out the lumber at my local HomeDepot, and 2"(1 1/2") pine is actually cheaper than 1" (3/4") pine. I just saw that picking out straight boards might take some effort, and it might take several trips to get the usable lumber we need. Maybe pine isn't such a great idea?

I figure 2" boxes ought to be more protection against thermal loss or gain than 1". So what do you think? Am I sane or not? 😉(Yeah, I know it puts some weight back on after reducing from 10 frames.)
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Offline Bill Murray

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2024, 10:52:39 pm »
Well, just my opinion, but I try to make everything as light as possible. Also they will need to match up if you buy. Try one, two. Buy one or two, and see what you think. Honestly YOUR the one that has to work the hives. Anything someone says here including me, unless they have done it and worked through it dosnt matter. If you build them let us know what you think of them, and how they work for you.

Offline Jim134

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2024, 11:13:59 pm »
  The biggest problem with 8 frame boxes.. In my opinion.. I know about five years ago There were about 3 or 4 different widths on the box. Is it actually dependent on a manufacturer.. If the same as you today I have no idea. I don't believe it's a good idea..  To go with a non standard width.. Of lumber also.


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Offline Lesgold

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2024, 01:02:27 am »
From the bees perspective, they don?t care at all. If the space is right and there are no gaps, the girls will do what they need to do. The biggest issues relate to the beekeeper themselves. Is weight an issue? I would suggest not with 8 frame mediums. If you were running a large number of hives and needed consistency between boxes for movement, strapping down hives etc, there may be some concerns. Some bee keepers like the aesthetics of neatly made hives with lovely painted works of art attached to the faces of boxes. If you are that type of person, unusual and irregular external box sizes may grind away at your mental status until you make change. It really comes down to what you are after. If you can purchase the timber for about half the price of buying a box, it could be worth your while. Otherwise, you would only do it for the satisfaction of making a box from scratch. The insulation properties of timber would be improved by using thicker material. This could be a consideration if you live in cold areas. I would assume that tops and bottom boards would also be given careful consideration if that was the case. Non standard box sizes may reduce the value of hives if you go to sell them in the future. This point may be worth considering.

Offline cao

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2024, 03:02:51 am »
Anyone going with 8 frame equipment needs to be prepared to build everything themselves or chose one company to buy from and match their dimensions on width.  Mann lake 8 frame boxes are 14" wide.  Miller bee supply boxes are 13 3/4 inches wide.  I made mine 13 1/2" wide.  I didn't like all the extra room in the store-bought boxes.  As far as 2x boards being used, that is another variable.  If you are building bottom boards, top boards and inner covers than you could match them with your boxes.  If you purchase those, will your 2x boxes fit on them.  Then there is the weight issue.  You lose some of the advantage of 8 frame boxes by adding the extra weight.

Online animal

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2024, 08:14:33 am »
the R value would be negligible between  the  3/4 thickness and 1.5 when it comes to most wood. sure, it's twice the R value but you'd end up with R value of a little over 1 versus a little less than 1. If I wanted to go to a thicker box for insulation, I would think more along the lines of cladding it with foam board. 1" of foam board is R-5 or so and weighs a lot less than wood. (Actually been toying with the idea of making boxes out of 1" or 1.5" foam board lined with 1/4" plywood, but I don't have any need for that in the south, other than weight.)
Making sure the wind can't blast a draft through the hive would be much more important. Recently, the brown western cedar has gotten cheaper in my area for some reason. I absolutely hate the wood for it's appearance, tendency to split and softness, but it could make a better bee box than yellow pine, imo. It's r value is also a tad bit higher than yellow pine. ... Assuming you're pricing Yellow pine 2Xs. They are almost always cheaper than spruce. For that matter, are you pricing  white pine 1Xs against yellow pine 2Xs ? 

Dimensionally speaking, all else is forgivable as long as the interior dimensions are the same. You'll also find that working with the thicker wood is harder. It requires much more force to "pull out" an imperfection due to warping or cupping.So.. a planer might be needed ... Likewise, choosing wood with the right grain structure to resist warping becomes more important.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2024, 08:31:15 am by animal »
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2024, 08:40:17 am »
The only downside of using 2 bys is the weight.
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Offline Dora

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2024, 05:46:55 pm »
the R value would be negligible between  the  3/4 thickness and 1.5 when it comes to most wood. sure, it's twice the R value but you'd end up with R value of a little over 1 versus a little less than 1. If I wanted to go to a thicker box for insulation, I would think more along the lines of cladding it with foam board. 1" of foam board is R-5 or so and weighs a lot less than wood. (Actually been toying with the idea of making boxes out of 1" or 1.5" foam board lined with 1/4" plywood, but I don't have any need for that in the south, other than weight.)

Otoh, doubling any R value should help, shouldn't it? I did read somewhere that bees in the 2" boxes (not Langstroth) did better. Will have to figure out how much more they would weigh.

I'm in the South too - Central Texas. My chief concern is keeping the boxes cool enough in summer. Maybe putting reflective foil on the west-southwest surface would help. Would mean orienting hives a little off east-west direction.

Quote
Likewise, choosing wood with the right grain structure to resist warping becomes more important.
LOL! You can say that again! I looked through a couple of store racks of lumber and could find only 3 or 4 suitable boards, judging by the little I could tell. Pulling them out might have narrowed the number to 2. 😊
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Online animal

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2024, 07:00:35 pm »
Sorry, for some reason I was thinking you were Canadian.
In theory, and after it's made, a thicker box would be superior in every way but weight and compatibility with commercially produced accessories. Lids and bases made for the poly hives may even fit them well enough. I've never seen, much less measured a "poly" hive, though..

It's a question of how much of an advantage they give versus the trouble of building and the other negatives. Also, imo, all of the advantages of a thick box could be had without the weight and less hassle.... but what is easier for me, might not be for you and vice-versa. Personally, I don't see enough of an advantage to be worth it, but you may.

Southern yellow pine is about 3.27 pounds per rough board foot (144 cubic inches) .... or 2.45  pounds per square foot for planed 1X lumber, 4.9 pounds for 2X lumber. I don't know the dimensions of an 8 frame, but it's simple math from there. The heavy box will end up about twice the weight plus a half pound or so. 

Bald cypress, western cedar, and the white pines range between 2.65 to 2.8 per rough board foot. Generally speaking, the lighter the wood, the higher the r value, but imo, it's still negligible for most practical purposes.

Personally I built 1 deep 10 frame out of cypress and one out of white pine, but that was mostly because I already had it. I built shallows out of yellow pine for the same reason, Frames mostly out of spruce, same reason. 

A little off subject for this thread, but do you have a table saw? Wondering how you planned to cut the rabbet to support the frames ... if you do have one, you have a way to shave down the too-tall box you mentioned on another thread. If you have a router, you can clamp a board to the side of the box to serve as a fence to trim off however much or little you want, one side at a time.

edited to change router suggestion to an easier method than building an attachment.

« Last Edit: January 24, 2024, 08:30:18 pm by animal »
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2024, 06:17:53 am »
One big advantage to the 2 bys is cost, but if that's not so big of an issue, one could do the WBC concept and have two boxes for each story.  An inner and an outer with an air space.  This would be warmer and cooler.  One could even glue some styrofoam on the inside of the outer box for more R value while still having wood where it's exposed to the bees and the weather.  This means more equipment to move around but not move weight on the boxes.
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Online animal

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2024, 08:22:03 am »
Mr Bush .. The box within a box concept .. Does that tend to have more problems with insects and the like ?
it seems like it could tend to have places for hive beetles and ants to stage/gather.


The WBC hive is interesting. I'd never heard of it before today and looks cool. I can see where the concept could be simplified, but that thing would be a bear for a beginning woodworker to make. Thanks for the mention of it.

this is the one I found when looking it up 
https://www.scottishbeekeepers.org.uk/images/education/techdatasheets/TDS%20number%207%20wbc%20hive.pdf
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2024, 07:38:35 am »
I haven't ever had a WBC hive nor a Langstroth sized WBC style hive, so I can't say, but from my other experience I would say there are some small ants that would get in but they do no harm.  If they are resonably tight the SHB won't get in.  Besides they want to be in the hive, not outside.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2024, 07:59:28 am »
Theres a guy in Florida which makes bee videos that builds boxes out of 2X stuff. He calls them "Beefy Bee Boxes"
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Online animal

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2024, 11:47:09 am »
  If they are resonably tight the SHB won't get in.  Besides they want to be in the hive, not outside.
True. The idea of them "staging" came from when I transferred bees from a nuc box to a regular sized box. I had left the nuc box sitting on a wooden bench on my porch for awhile. After doing the transfer, I moved it and there were 10 or 15 SHB under it. At the time, I didn't know what they were, none were in the nuc, and assumed they were just odd little beetles that liked the small space. A week or so later, the war of the beetles began, lol. ... not suggesting that they are using any type of collective strategy, btw. .. just in appearance of, ... by coincidence .. from each of them responding to the same biological cues.

Also with ants: I began using a telescoping lid without an inner lid and had no ants at all except on the legs of the stand and occasional crawlers on the box. After adding the inner cover, it gave them a space that harbored thousands. They were little black ants, so no problem but annoying. (changing the legs of the stand a little stopped them from going further for the most part).
 
The design of the WBC is a bit complex from a joinery standpoint, especially for a small structure expected to be in the weather. Chalk my apprehensions there up to a personal problem ... I'm a carpenter that doesn't trust wood in the weather, maybe ironic ? or familiarity breeding contempt.

Certainly no offense here intended, but to me the most important detail you mentioned is that you've never had a WBC hive. I have a tendency to believe that the reason might be that on balance; they're not worth bothering with the extra trouble, in your estimation. This from it being obvious from your website and advice here, that your experience and expertise is wide ranging and the fact that you live in an area which reaches -40 degrees. Please forgive me if I assume too much here, I have nothing but compliments regarding your work with bees. Anyway, that detail tipped the balance for me to resist the temptation to build one.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2024, 07:40:28 pm by animal »
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2024, 07:30:00 am »
>Certainly no offense here intended, but to me the most important detail you mentioned is that you've never had a WBC hive. I have a tendency to believe that the reason might be that on balance; they're not worth bothering with the extra trouble, in your estimation.

Every spring I contemplate doing something for better insulation without sealing in moister.  The double wall seems to meet that need but then you're juggling twice as many boxes.  You are correct, I keep deciding it's not worth it.  Plus I put all my hives up against each other so there's not so much exposed area anyway.
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Offline Dora

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Re: 2" lumber for hive boxes?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2024, 04:59:36 pm »
Appreciated all your contributions! Thanks!

Theres a guy in Florida which makes bee videos that builds boxes out of 2X stuff. He calls them "Beefy Bee Boxes"

Thanks, Ben. I thought there should be some others who had the same idea. 😊"Beefy Bee Boxes" Ha!
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