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Author Topic: Hive Construction ?'s  (Read 3218 times)

Offline ME0505

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Hive Construction ?'s
« on: February 13, 2016, 09:52:46 am »
For the guys that make their own hive boxes:

- do you finger/box joint the ends?  If not, has anyone had "separation" issues?  I have a Kreg jig and could use that for added support.
- Any particular wood species?  I know the standard is pine, but just looking for insight here.
- Any advice?
- I can just use runners for handles so I don't have to route out slots.

Thanks for any help/advice!


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Offline beehappy1950

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2016, 12:05:14 pm »
I use a 3/4 in box joint. Its somewhere around 3/4 in, what ever it takes to make the fingers a full thickness so they wont break off and I can get a nail in the bottom one. I have some hives that I used a full 3 inch finger and they seem to hold up well. You can make them any size you want. I always try to nail a cleat across the front and back for the handles. Harold

Offline cao

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2016, 12:58:15 pm »
I just use a butt joint.  Titebond III and a few deck screws.  I use screws because some of the cheap pine boards I used are warped.  The screws pull the boards together better than just using nails.  A cleat across the front also helps hold boxes together.  Although the 5 frame nucs I built, I just used nails.  I think just about any wood will do but, pine is cheap and relatively lightweight. 

Offline gww

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2016, 01:36:08 pm »
I only make mediums and use whatever wood I have handy.  Mostly oak (heavy and drill to nail or screw).  I have used rabbit joint, butt joint and have just got my first cheap dado blade and did some finger joints.  If I am in a hurry I use butt joints.  I like the finger joint cause if my wood is thicker then 3/4 inch but I make the fingers 3/4 inch deep, the inside dimensions always still come out correct with out haveing to use math and make measurement adjustments.  I use nails some times and screws sometimes and a mix sometimes.  For handles I sometimes use cleats across the front (expesially on the butt joint boxes) to help hold them together.  I got a plan for a jig off of the bee scource webb site to use my circular saw to cutt handles.  I make the boxes the full board depth and cut down to size after built using the table saw.  I don't use glue anymore.  I don't paint.

I have not done this long enough to tell you what works and what doesn't for long term.  I have enough stuff to start bees with lots of excess equiptment which is my goal.  I can't say how long each way I have built will last or what type of shape they will bee in after how much use.

If your goal is to have stuff that will last forever and looks really artsy and super nice, I would not be the one to imulate.  If you just want to be ready for bees had have enough stuff to hive a swarm or two and not have lots of money invested, I figure if the bee spaceing is correct that the bees won't care.  I do believe really well built and maintained stuff is probly less work in the long run but at a cost of money rather then time.
Good luck
gww

Offline little john

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2016, 03:56:51 pm »
I use butt joints, 100% waterproof glue and screws. Using screws saves tying-up cramps. I prefer to paint 'em both inside and out - with whatever colour happens to be on the brush. Edges waxed to stop sticking.

I used to make boxes using pallet wood - which is mostly pine - but I've just finished a batch of nuc boxes which started-off as Mann-Lake glued cedar brood boxes, which were then cut in half:



New sides were then added using Oregon Pine Studding recovered from pallets, with glued and screwed butt joints, and grooves cut into the inner sides for feeder-dividers so that they can be used either as 5-frame nucs or as dual half-size-frame mating nucs.



Polyester filler was applied, sanded down and the boxes finally painted with industrial floor paint.



I'm pleased with the results and will be making a lot more in the same way. Starting-off with commercially-made flat-pack boxes ensures that the boxes are totally square and without any twist. When taking construction time into account, including that for the recovery of timber from pallets, this method is a far more economical route to adopt (for me) than making boxes completely from scratch using reclaimed wood.

But I'll continue to make bases, roofs, feeder shells etc from pallet wood.

LJ
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2016, 10:09:09 am »
So far I've always done either butt joints (screwed) or rabbet joints.  But recently I bought this and plan to use it next time:
http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KZM25QA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
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Offline Dabbler

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2016, 08:16:18 am »
Mine are waterproof glue and butt joints with a spline.
Some long staples hold it together while the glue dries.
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the tests first, the lessons afterwards .
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Offline Sundog

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2016, 07:06:56 pm »
I do butt joints, blind dowels and clamp them.  IMO, finger joints create more places for water and microscopic bugs the enter as all the joints swell and shrink.

Offline Colobee

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2016, 12:40:07 am »
I've built both. Butt joints may last a few years. 5-10 at best. One good drop when they are full of honey and they are done. Finger or box joints hold up for decades. Paint the fingers with Titebond & screw or nail. The butt joint boxes can be cut up into shims, handles, tops & bottom boards when they give out. :smile:
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 11:30:30 am by Colobee »
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Offline OldMech

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2016, 08:58:00 pm »
So far I've always done either butt joints (screwed) or rabbet joints.  But recently I bought this and plan to use it next time:
http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KZM25QA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

  Interesting!!  Let us know how well that works!!!   How expensive was that bit?

   I have about 250 boxes in service, with about 30 of them being butt joints, the rest are rabbited corners. I have inherited boxes with finger/box joints, and have tossed most of them into the trash by now. Even being well painted they seem to like to split from each and every corner in this climate, and with finger/box joints, thats a LOT of corners.   I will be adding another 450 boxes as the summer progresses, all rabbit joint corners.  They are easier to make and suitably strong. Stronger than butt joints, but not as strong as finger joints.
    I would ask, how strong do you need the corner of the box to be?
   If you intend to toss them around a lot, then maybe the finger joint is the way to go. If you NEVER intend to even drop a box, then the butt joints will work well for you. Mine get roughly treated on occasion when I am careless, at which time I usually pay the price heavily by volunteering myself for bee venom sting therapy on a grand scale......

   Seriously..  If you only have equipment to make butt joints then thats what you make!  If you have the equipment to make anything you want, then you decide to make the style corners YOU want to make.  I believe that wooden ware is disposable. You paint it and fix it up the best you can for a decent service life, when it is no longer viable to fix/repair you throw it away and make another box, frame, lid, bottom board etc...
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline Sundog

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2016, 12:36:36 am »
+1

Consider how many linear inches of seam, horizontal as well as vertical, using a box joint versus a butt joint.

 :cool:

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2016, 09:50:25 am »
> How expensive was that bit?

The price is on the page.  Looks like $25 and free shipping.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
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Offline OldMech

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2016, 10:56:28 pm »
Not bad then...   I would think that would make a sturdy corner, but making sure the cuts were square would be more important yes?
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2016, 12:56:15 pm »
>making sure the cuts were square would be more important yes?

I haven't tried it yet, but the length would be the critical thing I think.  Straight, of course, but I'm not sure how the router affects the length.
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2016, 01:27:48 pm »
It is important to make sure that your boards are cut square with any type of joint. If they are not you will find that your boxes do not sit properly on one another.
As for the length, the biggest problem is if the board is cupped or warped. If it is cupped put the cupped (concave sides) together and clamp real well with ratchet straps and straight boards under the straps to pull them together while the glue dries. Your best bet is to avoid warped boards.
Jim
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Offline OldMech

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2016, 11:23:33 pm »
It is important to make sure that your boards are cut square with any type of joint. If they are not you will find that your boxes do not sit properly on one another.
As for the length, the biggest problem is if the board is cupped or warped. If it is cupped put the cupped (concave sides) together and clamp real well with ratchet straps and straight boards under the straps to pull them together while the glue dries. Your best bet is to avoid warped boards.
Jim

   Is that even possible now that all the local lumber yards are closed and I only have the BIG BOX store to buy lumber from?   :shocked:
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2016, 01:03:49 am »
I get my wood rough cut by local sawyers and plane it to 3/4". A lot cheaper that way.
Jim
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Offline little john

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2016, 04:36:39 am »
Just want to comment that warping is a real bltch when making either home-made or commercial (flat-pack) boxes.  The use of a glass-top table or similar dead-flat surface to rest the box on certainly helps when gluing-up - but won't prevent the subsequent box twist which comes from having used warped boards.

If a small amount of twist (say a box rock of 1-2mm) remains, then ignore it - the weight of box contents and/or the boxes above it will flatten that out.  With more substantial twist resulting in serious rock (I have one such to be 'cured' at the moment - thanks, Mann-Lake), the only method I've found reliable is to build an adjustable height tower above a dead-flat surface, place the box on that (suitably held in position with micro-wedges and hot-glue) and then router the edges flat (using a sledge-mounted router) - then turn the box upside-down, and router the other edges.  To maintain the correct box height, glue thin battens to the edges, preferably before routering.

Now that's a lot of work - so warped boards are best avoided like the plague in the first place ...

LJ
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Offline capt44

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2016, 09:53:50 am »
I use to buy my 1x12 boards in the 12 ft length but found when I cut the boards to length (19 7/8 and 16 1/4 inches the boards would cup as much as a 3/8 inch.
I finally went to 8 ft boards and they would stay straight and flat when cut to length.
I had some boards that I had a hard time ripping even with a riving blade adapter.
The grain when cut would draw the board in a C shape length ways with ripped.
I kept a couple of the C shaped boards to show folks what Knots can do to the grain of lumber.
I mean the board would look straight but when ripped it would curl up immediately.
Richard Vardaman (capt44)

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2016, 06:28:56 pm »
Capt
I had a stack of 2"x12"x16' yellow pine that I ripped to 2"x6" boards. On some on them, by the time I was half way through the boards, the cut ends were as much as 8 to 12" apart. Usually one would end up very straight and the other one would be crooked as can be.
Jim
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Offline derekm

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2016, 08:50:51 am »
make a former that fits the inside. Use this to build the boxes around. Make the former true and square out of good straight wood and  brace it heavily  so it doesnt move out of square.
If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?

Offline tycrnp

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2017, 01:16:20 am »
So no one really commented that they have used Kreg (or similar) system for joints. We are new to hive making and thinking about using them. Any thoughts from those of you who are much more experienced?

Offline little john

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2017, 03:16:50 am »
Kreg ?  Had to look that up ... 
And - for anyone not familiar with 'Kreg' - it's a system based around a pocket-hole jig which looks ideal for domestic joinery work - but for the construction of beehives there's a problem with the pocket-hole remaining after each screw has been driven home.  These holes will need to be filled: either with a short length of suitable diameter dowel rod which will then require trimming flush; or by the use of some type of wood filler.  Either of these methods would complicate and extend the otherwise simple and fast assembly time of the Kreg system.
LJ
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Offline cao

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2017, 07:05:09 pm »
If you put the pockets on the inside of the box, you wouldn't have to fill them.  The bees would eventually fill them with propolis.  I have a set of the Kreg jigs for making the pocket holes.  I don't use the much in my woodworking.  My thoughts is that it would work but the screws aren't cheap.  I've found that butt joints with cheap deck screws work just fine.  If you don't mind the extra cost they would leave the outside looking better if you wanted a fancier hive.  When you are making enough boxes for 30-40 hives every little bit of saving goes a long way.

Offline Bush_84

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2017, 01:52:16 am »
If you have a table saw that can take a dado blade things aren't difficult from there.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Box-finger-joint-jig/

I started with butt joints six years ago and my boxes are starting to fall apart. Building box joints from here on out.
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline little john

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2017, 06:42:10 am »
If you put the pockets on the inside of the box, you wouldn't have to fill them.  The bees would eventually fill them with propolis. 

The claim that bees will propolise the walls of their hives is one of the most enduring myths in beekeeping, as for all intents and purposes they will only propolise those gaps which are causing draughts, and structures towards the tops of their combs.  I have several hives which have serious wall imperfections, and for years the bees have ignored them. 

Here's a shot of an experimental Long Hive I took before making major alterations to it - you may notice a few lines of propolis where the sides of the Thermal Curtain (Follower Board) were located, but there's absolutely no coating of propolis on the box walls themselves - and that's after 6 years of use.



At times, the inside of a beehive is one of the wettest environments imaginable, which is why I now paint the insides of boxes with a lot more care than I do the outside.
So I disagree regarding the leaving of holes. I'd be very concerned that leaving holes in the interior walls would cause water to constantly be held there, and possibly start rotting - that is, if soft wood was used (which is what I use) for box construction.
LJ
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Offline Captain776

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2017, 09:58:52 am »
I use butt joints, 100% waterproof glue and screws. Using screws saves tying-up cramps. I prefer to paint 'em both inside and out - with whatever colour happens to be on the brush. Edges waxed to stop sticking.

I used to make boxes using pallet wood - which is mostly pine - but I've just finished a batch of nuc boxes which started-off as Mann-Lake glued cedar brood boxes, which were then cut in half:



New sides were then added using Oregon Pine Studding recovered from pallets, with glued and screwed butt joints, and grooves cut into the inner sides for feeder-dividers so that they can be used either as 5-frame nucs or as dual half-size-frame mating nucs.



Polyester filler was applied, sanded down and the boxes finally painted with industrial floor paint.



I'm pleased with the results and will be making a lot more in the same way. Starting-off with commercially-made flat-pack boxes ensures that the boxes are totally square and without any twist. When taking construction time into account, including that for the recovery of timber from pallets, this method is a far more economical route to adopt (for me) than making boxes completely from scratch using reclaimed wood.

But I'll continue to make bases, roofs, feeder shells etc from pallet wood.

LJ


Nice job.
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Like all you when you first started, I am fascinated with beginning Beekeeping and trying to learn all I can.
I retired May 2015 and have added this to my short list of hobbies.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2017, 03:38:44 pm »
So far I've always done either butt joints (screwed) or rabbet joints.  But recently I bought this and plan to use it next time:
http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KZM25QA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

Because the lock joint will be end grain I would expect it to be weak.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2017, 01:14:02 pm »
So far I've always done either butt joints (screwed) or rabbet joints.  But recently I bought this and plan to use it next time:
http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KZM25QA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

Because the lock joint will be end grain I would expect it to be weak.
They make good joints because it cuts enough of an angle to allow good mating services. It ends up with almost face grain to face grain.

I used to make Navy retirement boxes, the type with the folded flag in the top. They were all cut with a 45 degree angle and glued, no fasteners. The joints were very strong, never had one fail. I did strength tests when I started to make sure they would not break once sold. This bit is much better at increasing the strength of the glue joint over a straight 45 degree cut.
Jim
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Offline Peter McDowell

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2017, 05:08:27 pm »
Little John, different bees in different locations do different things. Our bees propolise everything inside our hives. walls, ceiling, floor. Also all surfaces on the frames along with all joints and the holes in the frames where wires were meant to go. So here it is not a myth but a fact.

Offline paus

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2017, 05:48:44 pm »
I have boxes that I made with finger joint, both compound and double compound, pocket hole, and butt joint. All are screwed except finger joint,  and most are pocket hole screwed.  I am going to make the next boxes using drawer joint with a router or shaper.  I

Offline paus

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2017, 06:25:59 pm »
continued from last OH OH post , I use pocket hole screws on most of these boxes.  To make my compound and double compound  dado  joints I use 3/8" dado blade set 3/8' high. 
for dado blades I buy  71/4" on sale and make sure they are the same make and style. The teeth have to be alternately spaced, I use paper shims to get the correct width.  These dado joints are not furniture quality but the Ladies in the hives don't care

Offline Acebird

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2017, 08:15:27 pm »
This bit is much better at increasing the strength of the glue joint over a straight 45 degree cut.
I can see where the geometry makes it easier to clamp but if a proper clamping fixture was made I don't think the joint would test out like you think.  Keep in mind this bit was made for furniture (hardwood) not bee boxes (soft wood).
Brian Cardinal
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Offline little john

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2017, 06:22:49 am »
Little John, different bees in different locations do different things. Our bees propolise everything inside our hives. walls, ceiling, floor. Also all surfaces on the frames along with all joints and the holes in the frames where wires were meant to go. So here it is not a myth but a fact.

Point taken.  I speak only from my own experience, as it would appear you also do yourself.  But - read on ...

On reflection, it may be relevant that the hive I referred to was made from two layers of 'commercial-grade' plywood sandwiched together. (not a method I ever repeated, or would particularly recommend) This plywood would have been formed using smooth moulds and under considerable pressure using urea-formaldehyde glue which resulted in the formation of a glassy-smooth and fully water-resistant surface.  It's not particularly attractive stuff - such as plywood made with a high quality veneer on one side.

During construction of the hive, the two layers of plywood were held together with a generous number of alternating wood screws set-out 'domino-style', with their exposed tips duly abraded away, and together with their recessed screw heads, treated to a dab of molten wax. (these being the days before I discovered 100% waterproof glue ...)

As beekeepers, we tend to regard the application of propolis as being a bit of a nuisance, and something to be avoided if at all possible.  But - from the bees' point-of-view it represents an enormous amount of energy invested, both in the collection of the various tree gums and other materials used, and the time and effort taken in identifying those places where it is to be applied.

Thus - what purpose would have been served by bees propolising any part of this surface - which was already glassy-smooth and waterproof ?

Taking this a step further, you may just be able to see from my earlier post re: nuc-construction which Captain776 has just quoted from (BTW, thanks for the kind words, Captain779), that I paint the insides of my bee boxes as well as the outsides.  Indeed, I've gradually formed the opinion that painting the inside of bee boxes is considerably more important than the outside.

I initially started painting the insides as a means of preventing the pallet-wood I used for hive construction [imported wood of any quality being an expensive commodity here in Britain] from splitting and rotting - and it was only at a much later date that I came across: Constructive Beekeeping (1918), by Ed. Clarke - a copy of which can be downloaded from https://archive.org/download/cu31924003100306

Clark writes:
Quote
The bees collect propolis (despised by the beekeeper) and with infinite work and a knowledge of the laws of condensation of moisture, have varnished the inside, sealed all openings that would give upper ventilation, making out of their home a perfect condenser for the water vapor that has filled the hive air by evaporation from the nectar. This moisture they collect from the inside surface of the hive, works right in with their idea of economy, saving the carrying of water from the stream or spring.
When building his own hives:
Quote
All joints and cracks are filled with hot rosin or pitch and the inside of the hive-body and cover is given three coats of varnish.
Clark concludes:
Quote
All other Conditions, by the aid of condensation, can be controled by the beekeeper. Ventilation and shade each make more room in the hive, but not with uniformity under all conditions; So we must add to the treatments we give the bees, a well varnished inner surface to the hive, and a cover that, at no time, permits of upward ventilation.

And so it would seem that very little is new in the world of beekeeping - with my own (successful) devised method of hive construction and management being identified and described a hundred years ago, and several thousand miles away !

It would seem that both Ed.Clark and I prevent any need for the bees to propolise the walls of their hives - by simply 'getting in there first' with the copious application of paint or varnish. 
LJ
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Hive Construction ?'s
« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2017, 08:46:30 am »
This plywood would have been formed using smooth moulds and under considerable pressure using urea-formaldehyde glue which resulted in the formation of a glassy-smooth and fully water-resistant surface.  It's not particularly attractive stuff - such as plywood made with a high quality veneer on one side.
Also doesn't glue well.  Contact cement might work but you would have to devise a press to squeeze the two layers together or drive your car on it.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it