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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I found an inner cover that I wanted to build:
http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/store/all-season-inner-cover-frame-p-232.html
The plans were available online, but not from the link at the bottom of the page. The link was broken when I tried to use it. Ahhh, found a different link that works :) This page has plans for the whole hive! http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/beekeeping_plans.phtml

The plans were pretty straightforward. 4 pieces of 3/4 inch wood, a plywood base, and some screen. You'll also probably want some staples for the screen, some wood glue, and some type of fastener to join the wood corners together. Tools needed were pretty basic. Tape measure, saw, drill, square, glue, staple gun. I had some other tools on hand which made the job easier, but they weren't necessary.


First things first I decided what kind of joint I wanted to use. The plans don't call for any specific type of joint. After a bit of hemming and hawing I settled on a rabbet joint. I did this for simplicity's sake. It's a simple joint, and for this box should server me well. I was also able to set up my router table's fence once, and use that setting for all of my cuts. I just had to change bits and set the depth.

I chose 4 inch stock. No real big reason other than the plans call for at least 3.5 and I didn't feel like ripping the 4" down to size. I used a chop saw to make my cuts; quick and painless.
the basic pieces.jpg

Once I had the pieces cut to size I had to cut a channel for the plywood to set in. I have a small router table and set it up to cut a 3/8 inch deep dado cut.

groove for plywood.jpg

From there I needed to cut the rabbet on the front and back piece. I switched out the 1/4 inch bit for 3/4 and placed a backer board on my router table fence that gave me the proper cut width. Two passes on each board and I was done.



The vent holes presented the greatest challenge of the whole build. The plans call for the holes to be sloped so that if water gets in the hole the water will get channeled out instead of setting in the hole. I made a very, very basic jig on my drill press. By pulling the piece into the jig board the dado would act as a stop and keep the hole placement the same. It also raised the board so that I got some degree of slant to the hole being drilled.

drill jig.jpg

The screen for the vent holes came from the package crates that the bees came in. I had them still, so why waste the material, right? The staple gun did a fine job of securing the screen in place.

package container.jpg screened holes.jpg

Here's a picture of the whole thing put together. There's still one thing missing that I wanted to add; an upper entrance. I measured out a 2 inch opening and then set my hand held circular saw for 3/8ths cut depth and made multiple passes on the front piece. After a half dozen passes I simply used my thumb to break out all of the bits and then cleaned up the slot with a wood chisel.

first one mocked up.jpg

I glued up the joints and used brads to hold them while the glue sets. I'm not sure that the brads will be enough. If not I can always add some bigger nails or screws.

Here are assembled and almost finished covers. I still need to cut an hole in the center of the plywood, and paint them up before putting them into service.

two glued and nailed.jpg

My first bits of wooden ware completed. A great project for a rainy day.
 

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They look good, I use something similar during the TX summer. But I place my vent shims above the inner cover. I don't see a hole in the center for the inner cover on these?
 

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Nothing beats the satisfaction of building something yourself, no matter how basic or complicated it is. Well done. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good eye. :) I haven't cut the holes in the plywood yet. Still thinking on what kind of hole I want to put. I'll probably just go with the Oblong hole like my current cover has.
 

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I went with the round hole to accept a mason jar of syrup. Although I've never used it for that. They all get fed on top of the inner cover.
 

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Looking good! I use and love these covers.
Tip: when not feeding, staple a square of screen over the middle hole to keep bees out of the upper compartment, but still allowing hot air to rise up and out. The 2" foam board goes in for the winter to stop condensation.
 

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Very nice job, Papakeith. :thumbsup:
How about using the router for the inner hole? It should give you flexibility for any shaped hole you want.
I enjoyed seeing your shop equipment. You probably make bigger projects too.
The pictures were great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Very nice job, Papakeith. :thumbsup:
How about using the router for the inner hole? It should give you flexibility for any shaped hole you want.
I enjoyed seeing your shop equipment. You probably make bigger projects too.
The pictures were great.
I'd have to make a jig to use the router. Depending on how many I plan on making in the future I may make one. I've certainly used the router for holes in other projects. For now I'll probably use a drill to get the bulk of the material out and clean it up with a chisel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Looking good! I use and love these covers.
Tip: when not feeding, staple a square of screen over the middle hole to keep bees out of the upper compartment, but still allowing hot air to rise up and out. The 2" foam board goes in for the winter to stop condensation.
Omie, A few questions for you. Why would you want to keep the bees from accessing the area inside the top cover?
To keep them from building in the cover area?

Also the foam insulation. If I place the foam in does that make the only vent the front vent? Or, do you drill some holes in the insulation to keep the other vents functional?
 

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I would think that if you don't cover the center hole the bees would quickly decide to build comb up there, especially in a flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
sounds like an experiment in the making! :).

I'm not sure of the exact size hole that is the norm, but I'm going to cut a 1" wide slot 3" long in my covers. For now I'll leave it open with no screen. If they decide to build up there I'll adjust their access.

Now the biggest choice. . . color! I've painted everything else white so far. A splash of color would look nice I think.
 

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I screen the center hole because there is no need for bees to be up in that chamber.
1) They probably wouldn't build comb up there anyway, but a screen makes sure they won't.
2) the upper entrance in the insulated cover is below the plywood, so they don't need to go through the chamber to get in and out of the hive. In fact, their going in to that chamber is a 'dead end' area with no exit, so what's the point?
3) the chamber is merely for ventilation (in the summer) and insulation (in the winter)...it's not a 'bee place'. Keeping bees out of it will also keep it nice and clean and free of gunky propolis- which is good when placing and removing the winter foam board each season.
4) If you have bees running around in that top chamber, there two real disadvantages to that: the bees will want to propolize the telescoping cover to it. Also you will be crushing more bees every time you put the tel. cover back on after an inspection. Remember that this thing is actually an inner cover, replacing the traditional inner cover. One purpose of an inner cover is to keep the bees from being able to access and propolize the telescoping cover shut, so letting the bees go on top of this 'tall inner cover' and have free access to the telescoping cover is defeating that purpose.

So, I see no benefits in allowing the bees to roam around in and propolize the top cavity that basically goes nowhere. I do see several reasons to not let the bees go there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you Omie for taking the time to write up the point by point explanation.
 

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For three years now I am using these inner covers without any screen, have fourty of them, and never had one of them propolised. However, in the spring, when removing 2" foam insulation I always find duct tape (I'm using it to close the opening before insulating) heavily propolised.:???:
With no screen these covers could be used as top feeders (syrup in freezer bags)
 

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For three years now I am using these inner covers without any screen, have fourty of them, and never had one of them propolised. However, in the spring, when removing 2" foam insulation I always find duct tape (I'm using it to close the opening before insulating) heavily propolised.
Marbees, do you have top or bottom entrances, or both? With the center hole of the inner cover sealed with duct tape in the winter, that upper box offers no ventilation. What are your thoughts on winter-time ventilation of the hive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The upper board still has ventilation even with the upper chamber closed off. there is a 2 inch slot cut in the front for just that purpose.
 

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So, even with the oblong center hole covered with duct tape, air can still circulate up into that upper box (or inner cover, or whatever it is called) and exit through vent holes in winter time?
How wide is the 2 inch slot? too small for bees to pass through?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If I read Marbees post correctly, the duct tape only came into play when using the insulation in the cover for the winter. The duct tape covers the center hole and the insulation covers the tape. When the insulation is in place there is no ventilation through the perimeter holes in the cover. There is ventilation via the 2" slot cut into the bottom of the front edge of the cover. The two inch slot is 3/8 tall.

two glued and nailed.jpg you can see the slot on the bottom edge of the covers here.
 

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The upper chjamber gets filled with a 2" piece of foam board during the winter. It is not intended to have air circulating through it. It is intended to insulate, and thus prevent the warmth from the cluster hitting the frozen cover and forming dripping condensation. The air circulation comes into play from the top entrance, through which air can circulate from the hive, but that's below the upper foamboard chamber.
 
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