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Author Topic: Painting Hive Equipment  (Read 3004 times)

Offline Lesgold

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Painting Hive Equipment
« on: November 22, 2023, 03:52:54 pm »
Hi Folks,

How do you paint or finish your hive equipment? I?ve been applying paint to some hive parts recently and as per usual, tend to get frustrated, bored and even depressed when this task comes around. It?s the one part of beekeeping that I don?t enjoy. It would be interesting to hear stories and techniques as to the methods used to apply a preserving treatment to hive components. Do you use a brush, roller or spray gun? What sealers do you use and why? Water based paints, oil paints, wax dipping and oils come to mind. Are there any others? When a component has a finish applied, how do you support it while the finish dries? How do you clean brushes, rollers etc. There are so many questions?. I?m sure that many of you have developed techniques that are better and more efficient that what I?m using. Would love to hear about them.

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2023, 04:51:59 pm »
I would like to wax-dip, since I have a lot of wax, but for now I paint and stain.  As we've discussed previously, Les, I don't mind a tedious job, so there are probably more efficient ways than mine, but here's what I do.  Hopefully it will answer at least some of your questions. 

Several of my sisters are artists so between them and other random homestead projects, there is usually some leftover exterior paint or stain laying around at my house that I can use.  But if not, I go to the paint store and ask them if they have any light-colored exterior mistints, and they usually do and will sell them to me for severely discounted prices. 

For brushes I'd recommend buying something of decent quality and reusing it.  For a while we would just buy the cheapest brush they had and then throw it out and buy new for the next project, but honestly, it's difficult to paint efficiently and cleanly with a cheap brush, and you'll save money in the long run if you reuse a brush of at least medium price.  For most beekeeping things, I use either a 4 in. brush or a 2 in. brush depending on the intricacy of the piece of equipment.  I also have a small very cheap craft brush (like the kind you'd use to easel paint) that I use for getting into hard to reach areas. 

My climate is very humid, so I do 2 coats unless the paint or stain label expressly says not to (and some do).  If you pick a breezy day and paint outside, most paints/stains will dry quite quickly and you can do a second coat on the same day.  I just paint one side and then paint something else while I wait for it to dry, then rotate and paint the other side.  I don't use any sealer unless the artists in the family decide to paint something on a box purely for aesthetics, then I'll do a coat of clear Minwax or Arborcoat to protect the artwork. 

Cleaning brushes is of course the worst part, but it's important to do it right.  For water-based paints, I just use the garden hose and Dawn dish soap.  Rinse off any excess paint, then clean the brush bristles thoroughly, like you were shampooing hair (I realize if you have very short hair, you may be inexperienced at this, but I'm sure you'll figure it out :grin: ), and then rinse the brush excessively.  My sister always says to rinse it until you think you are good and then rinse some more.  For oil-based paints/stains, you'll do the same process, but FIRST you'll need to rinse the brush in mineral spirits, before you wash it to remove the mineral spirits.  All other things being equal, you'd obviously prefer something water-based so the cleanup is less involved.

Since it's a job you generally dislike, try and find a way to make it fun for yourself.  Get the kids involved and have a painting party.  Put on some music or listen to a podcast.  Whatever would make it enjoyable for you.                 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2023, 06:22:53 pm »
Hi Folks,

I get my paint for free at our municipal dump. The dump has *The Paint Shed*. They accept all sorts of cans and buckets of paints, stains, finishes, etc., between May and September, New England's summer. I'm somewhat amazed by the expensive products that are turned in. Lots of part filled containers. I only grab new, unopened containers of latex exterior paints, gallons and five-gallon buckets. I try to get only light colors, but I do have a few dark colored winter boxes.

One guy in the club paints two adjacent sides light and the other two dark. He twists them per season for solar warmth. Some people have too much time on their hands. He has other *different* ideas also, but he is one of the best beeks in the region, soooo.... He's from Slovenia or something like that. He's very interesting and has stories about Rhododendron honey. It causes hair loss.

I give paint away to anyone in the bee club that needs it and I donate it to raffles that we hold at our monthly meetings. Around here, a gallon of good paint runs around forty bucks. We painted our club interior walls this year with good quality, FREE, exterior paint, two five-gallon buckets.

I generally paint outside during good weather. I play a radio. I use a *C* clamp to clamp a four foot 2x8 to the tailgate of my trailer as it's a good height for me. I paint with bristle brushes. Lay the box one side up and paint that up-side. Rotate the box to the next side to be painted, and so on for all four sides. I don't care about drips. The bees are forgiving.

I can pick up that wet box with my wrist to move it to other 2 x 4 stringers between two *things* such as ladders.

They dry. I clean my brushes. I put things away. I let the boxes hang until very dry, even overnight if convenient. I don't use soap. Too expensive. I'm THRIFTY!

Sal


Offline Lesgold

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2023, 07:40:15 pm »
Well, I?ve learnt something new. I need to play music when painting?? Hopefully that will ease the pain. I agree about using a good brush. Cheap brushes are inefficient and don?t spread paint well. Many of my early hives were painted with oil based paints. The paint protects the boxes better than water based paints but the cleanup is a horrid job. Slow drying times also make these paints a pain to use. If using oil based paints, I leave the boxes to dry and off gas for three weeks before putting them to use.

Offline animal

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2023, 08:10:14 pm »
Everything I read when I went to build my first hive said wax dipping was best, but I had no way of doing that nor any beeswax but I did have a lot of paraffin.. So I bought 1 brick of beeswax to do the frames and inside surfaces and used paraffin on the exterior of the boxes.
At first I baked the equipment under heat lamps for awhile to dry it out as much as possible and have it nice and warm so it wouldn't flash harden the wax and load the head of the brush too much. At first I was heating the wax in a double boiler on a nasty old hotplate that lives in the garage and brushing it on. After awhile, I was irritated with it and just grabbed a block of wax and rubbed it like a giant crayon across the wood while using a heat gun to melt it (mostly directed at the wood rather than the crayon). Back under the heat lamps for awhile ... repeat until the wax wouldn't soak in anymore under the lamps.This seemed to work extremely well on our version of Cypress, and would probably work even better with Western Cedar. It worked good on Southern Yellow Pine and Poplar .. and would probably do the same on red cedar. Seemed to do ok on Ponderosa pine, but I hate the stuff, so probably biased toward toward the negative on it. As you can probably tell by the different woods, I was using scrap and leftover lumber.

The bottom board assembly on the hive is made of Ponderosa and I wanted it to match the rest, so I wiped a stain on it, swabbed with a couple of coats of thinned oil base polyurethane and followed with a regular coat of the poly after it dried and before it cured.

All of the above is experimental and still looks good but only dates from May of this year.
My first hive cover was plywood covered with vinyl coated aluminum coil stock. Nice cover, but a pain to make. The second one is just plywood with several heavy coats of a latex rubber compound intended for coating EPDM rubber roofs. So far, it looks good too.

Building the boxes, I was lazy and didn't see the need for finger joints or dovetails. So I put the boxes together butt jointed with #9 exterior Torx deck screws and polyurethane glue(like gorilla glue). Sealant? The poly glue expands as it sets up, and you trim off any excess that foams out.

Support drying: One of my benches has holes to accept pins so the top can be used as a clamp jig, among other things. Drilling a hole in a dowel (sized to the hole) to accept a finish nail point up supports the piece above the table.(and cover the table with contractor paper)  Also have just put a nails through the center of squares of scrap plywood to do the same thing on a floor, but careful, you just made a caltrop for clumsy guys like me. I didn't bother with either on the bee stuff, though.

A note on brushes  .. Most mid-quality brushes are nylon, polyester or blends of the two (especially ones for latex and other water based paints) , and 15thmember's brush washing method is ok(though it will make a purist with a good brush cringe ) but I doubt many beekeepers are using special order $50 and up brushes.
Even mid-range brushes for oil paints are sometimes made of china bristle (natural bristle). Water will swell the bristles and ruin the brush. I actually condition my bristle brushes with a light coat of mineral oil on the bristles while they?re in storage. With some oil paints, I'll suspend the brush in a container of mineral spirits in between coats rather than a full cleaning. Wrapping a latex brush in plastic and tossing it in the freezer works to put off cleaning it for a few days, or until your wife notices it .. whichever comes first.
Avatar pic by my oldest daughter (ink and watercolor)

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2023, 08:53:01 pm »
Quote
All of the above is experimental and still looks good but only dates from May of this year.

I see nothing but good things for the longevity of your equipment by your unique experimental process Animal . Hats off to you Sir! Thanks for sharing. My equipment is 5 years old with no sign of problems so far. Your should do even better in my opinion!

Phillip 







« Last Edit: November 22, 2023, 10:30:08 pm by Ben Framed »
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2023, 09:57:01 pm »
I would love to wax dip all equipment but the initial outlay was the reason I stayed away from it. I see so many advantages in wax dipping if you have a large number of hives.

Online The15thMember

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2023, 10:16:05 pm »
Well, I?ve learnt something new. I need to play music when painting?? Hopefully that will ease the pain.
I listen to music or a podcast while doing everything.  It's the secret to making every job fun.  Thanks to podcasts, today I learned that kaolin clay is a powerful hemostatic agent, and that yellow jackets and ants are primarily responsible for the dispersal of trillium seeds.  :rolleyes: 

A note on brushes  .. Most mid-quality brushes are nylon, polyester or blends of the two (especially ones for latex and other water based paints) , and 15thmember's brush washing method is ok(though it will make a purist with a good brush cringe ) but I doubt many beekeepers are using special order $50 and up brushes.
Heck no, all my brushes are under $20.  But hey, I'm willing to learn a better method of caring for them!  :grin:

Wrapping a latex brush in plastic and tossing it in the freezer works to put off cleaning it for a few days, or until your wife notices it .. whichever comes first.

That reminds me, if I'm in the middle of painting and need to step away for some reason, but I don't want to clean everything yet, I'll load the brush and then wrap it in foil to keep the paint from drying on the brush and ruining it.  If I have a brush I'm not using for a few minutes, I'll just wrap it in a piece of damp paper towel (for water-based products only, of course). 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline animal

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2023, 10:31:57 pm »
wrapping a brush suggestion ... like you said but wal mart plastic bags ... bristles down in the corner, squish out the air, roll it around the brush. Then use the handles of the bag to tie it tightly around the handle ... toss it in the truck and clean it at home ... :cool:

or get it home and toss in the freezer until wife sees it, as the case may be :cheesy:
Avatar pic by my oldest daughter (ink and watercolor)

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2023, 10:39:47 pm »
Quote
animal on Today at 08:10:14 pm
Wrapping a latex brush in plastic and tossing it in the freezer works to put off cleaning it for a few days, or until your wife notices it .. whichever comes first.

Quote
The15thMember
That reminds me, if I'm in the middle of painting and need to step away for some reason, but I don't want to clean everything yet, I'll load the brush and then wrap it in foil to keep the paint from drying on the brush and ruining it.  If I have a brush I'm not using for a few minutes, I'll just wrap it in a piece of damp paper towel (for water-based products only, of course).

I have done similar by wrapping a wet paint roller in a plastic bag, (such as a walmart bag), and placing the roller along with the attached handle in the spare refrigerator for a few days with no problem..
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2023, 12:36:37 am »
I always wrap paint brushes and rollers in cling wrap (food wrap). It keeps them in excellent condition for a few days as it removes all air pockets. Reagan, painting to me is a bit like going to the dentist. Thinking about it is actually worse than the process.

Offline animal

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2023, 01:05:56 am »
What is the correct process of dipping ? Is it simply soaked in melted wax for an extended period or brought to a much higher temp than melted to a watery liquid ? I would think to do it well, it would need to be well above the boiling point of water to out-gas as much steam as possible, but don't know. ... A little afraid of flammable vapor with wax, but am I just being silly, here ?
I've always deep fried wooden utensils in mineral oil before first use and have some in the kitchen that are still fine, that I made over 30 years ago... and repeatedly swabbed new-wood cutting boards with extremely hot oil in a similar way.

I hate painting too, but more so, waiting for it to dry. Have thought of soaking them down in West Systems  Epoxy with a slow hardener, but not going to try it unless I have some left over from a job. Last I bought was $220 for 5 quarts including hardener and plastic pump, kinda pricey.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2023, 01:20:25 am by animal »
Avatar pic by my oldest daughter (ink and watercolor)

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2023, 03:33:09 am »
Animal here is a little more on the subject of wax dipping which we chatted about a few years ago.

https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=52689.msg472365#msg472365
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline animal

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2023, 09:11:23 am »
cool thanks. between the thread and Michael Bush's link in the thread, it answered my questions.
Avatar pic by my oldest daughter (ink and watercolor)

Offline jimineycricket

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2023, 10:10:31 am »
I will stack 3 or 4 boxes upside down, because of the hand holds, on top of each other then paint as a unit. Then have my wife come out and paint them.
jimmy

salvo

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2023, 11:56:22 am »
Hi Folks, JC,



Sal

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2023, 08:52:32 pm »
If and when I have to paint (already feeling sad at the thought of it), this is my weapon of choice. It?s a 4? roller that utilises cheap, throw away woollen rollers. They are amazing to use (if that sort of thing excites you) and cut painting time down by more than half. Due to the wool on the end of the roller, right angle internal corners, hand grips etc are a breeze to paint. Replacements are about $1 if you buy a pack of ten. They clean up much faster than a brush and last quite well. The one in the picture has painted quite a few boxes, lids and bottom boards.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2023, 06:32:35 am »
I haven't painted a hive in two decades.  I cook mine in beeswax and rosin.
https://bushfarms.com/beesdipping.htm
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Lesgold

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2023, 03:54:16 pm »
Hi Michael,

Is there a reason why you use beeswax and rosin rather than paraffin and microcrystalline wax? I would have thought that a mixture like that would tend to be tacky for quite a while and not handle the heat of summer overly well. It obviously does work well as you have been using it for quite a while. It sounds like a good, natural choice that the bees would like but it would be an expensive option considering the value of the beeswax. I would be interested in your thoughts.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Painting Hive Equipment
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2023, 06:46:23 am »
I actually bought paraffin to dip them, but I had beeswax around and the paraffin.  I looked at both and decided to do beeswax.  I think I made the right choice.  The bees come and gather it for propolis while I'm dipping boxes.

Here's a bee pulling it off my gloves when I was dipping: https://bushfarms.com/images/RosinWaxAsPropolis.jpg
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

 

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