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Author Topic: Finding suitable wood from salvage yards  (Read 1697 times)

Offline omnimirage

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Finding suitable wood from salvage yards
« on: July 12, 2016, 06:59:44 am »
Due to wholesalers having large minimum orders, I'm struggling to find a cheap source of timber. I'm considering driving to all the local salvage yards, to see what scrap wood I can find to make supers out of.

I however struggle to identify which woods are suitable to build hives out of. Are there some things to look out for that would determine if some wood is suitable or not? If a wood is "treated", does that mean it's unsuitable? I'm receiving conflicting information on a type of wood that's around locally called "marine plywood"; would this be suitable to build out of? Has anyone have any experience with seeking wood from salvage yards, or building hives out of pallets?

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Finding suitable wood from salvage yards
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2016, 01:38:34 pm »
You are looking for wood that is light weight. You do not want marine treated wood. It is saturated in poison.
Woods with natural inhibitors are good for hives. They last a lot longer. Cedars and Cypress come to mind.
Jim

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Finding suitable wood from salvage yards
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2016, 10:42:42 pm »
Coincidentally I believe I have some cedar wood in the shed.

Is that what makes it waterproof? The glue is poison to the bees?

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Finding suitable wood from salvage yards
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2016, 11:58:59 pm »
Most marine grade lumber is treated to protect the wood from insects and fungus. They used to use arsenic. Environmentalists hate treated wood because it is so toxic.
Jim

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Finding suitable wood from salvage yards
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2016, 12:11:32 am »
Good to know, thanks!

Offline little john

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Re: Finding suitable wood from salvage yards
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2016, 04:33:13 am »
Wooden pallets intended for international use are treated, either by heat or by gassing with Methyl Bromide, to kill any insects which may be hidden in cracks or other imperfections within the wood.

Methyl Bromide is an extremely reactive chemical, which means that even after a few days of the pallet's exposure to the atmosphere, it will no longer pose any risk to honey bees housed within a hive made from that material.  In practice, pallets will not become available for beehive construction for many months - sometimes years - as they are often recycled or held in storage for long periods.


Plywood comes in many grades, which are determined both by the type of glue used during manufacture, and the quality of the wood laminates used - however, the manufacturing process itself is the same, with glued wooden laminates being subjected to high clamping pressure and heat which results in a dense, heavy material.

Interior grades are made with interior-quality glue and, like cheap forms of chipboard, will deteriorate quickly when wet.
Exterior grades of plywood range from those with a small number of thick plies - intended for uses such as cement forms and emergency shop window repairs - to those with many thin, uniform plies, such as high quality marine plywood. The glue used in exterior plywoods is usually thermal-setting urea-formaldehyde, which will off-gas slightly when the plywood is freshly cut, but soon stops.  A layer of paint on the surfaces exposed to the bees can always be used to reduce this to a minimum, but any off-gassing will cease with age.

The difference between high quality marine plywood and exterior plywood is both the number, thickness and wood-species of the laminates used, and also the absence of 'voids' (spaces, gaps) in certified marine plywood.


It is true that timber treated with the insecticide 'copper arsenate' may sometimes be found amongst used timber - it can easily be spotted by it's green or greeny-blue colour. Copper arsenate is a poison which kills wood-boring insects.  As honey-bees do not - in the normal course of events - eat the wood from which their hives are made, I consider it safe to use for beehives, especially for areas of transient contact such as feeder shells, roofs, stands etc., and perfectly safe when that wood is painted.  I would not normally use it to make the bee boxes themselves however if alternative material was available.


Whe dealing with second-hand timber such as used floor boards, scaffold boards etc., there is absolutely no way of knowing what the provenance of that timber has been - whether it has been subjected to intentional or accidental chemical treatment at some point in it's life, such as wood-worm killer or other noxious substances. That is one of several reasons why I always paint the inside of my bee boxes.

LJ
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Finding suitable wood from salvage yards
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2016, 01:10:36 am »
Thank you for the informative post little john!

Is timber flooring suitable for use? I've read that it's recycled timber.

Offline little john

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Re: Finding suitable wood from salvage yards
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2016, 09:09:26 am »

You're welcome.  If the floor boarding hasn't ever been treated for woodworm, then an unqualified 'yes' to it being safe to use.

If the floor boarding has been treated for woodworm at some time in it's life, then providing (say) six months has elapsed since that treatment was last applied, then it should be ok.  This elapsed period is based on the active ingredient being Permethrin, which has a half-life of around 30-38 days.
(Had to look that one up - it's been a very long time since I last set foot in a chemmy lab). :smile:

LJ
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com

Offline Jim 134

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Re: Finding suitable wood from salvage yards
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2016, 05:35:00 pm »
Due to wholesalers having large minimum orders, I'm struggling to find a cheap source of timber. I'm considering driving to all the local salvage yards, to see what scrap wood I can find to make supers out of.

I however struggle to identify which woods are suitable to build hives out of. Are there some things to look out for that would determine if some wood is suitable or not? If a wood is "treated", does that mean it's unsuitable? I'm receiving conflicting information on a type of wood that's around locally called "marine plywood"; would this be suitable to build out of? Has anyone have any experience with seeking wood from salvage yards, or building hives out of pallets?

 If you would like to read the markings on a pallets. You could tell what they were preserved with the wood. Here's a chart. Hope this helps you out in your quest for wood. If you read the very end of the chart. Australia and New Zealand can use both Heat and fumigated on the same pallet. It looks like Australia and New Zealand add Methyl Bromide upon arrival .
It appears that the pallets are not restamp for this chemical. All I can say buyer beware.
http://www.1001pallets.com/pallet-safety/

           BEE HAPPY Jim 134 :)
« Last Edit: July 26, 2016, 07:13:41 pm by Jim 134 »
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