Bee boxes warping and checking already?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Eddy Honey, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I have two types of hive bodies/supers. My deeps are pine boxes and my mediums are all cypress. They are all stained with the same product. I've noticed that the cypress isn't holding up as well as the pine. These boxes are all purchased this spring and summer. The cypress boxes are nailed and the pine boxes are stapled. Seems like the nailed boxes are splitting.
     

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  2. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Eddy:
    From the pics, it don't look like the corners are box joints. What is the method of corner joining?
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I don't know who you bought the boxes from, but they aren't made properly. Kelley or Dadant boxes are predrilled for the nails, and use a lot more of them than you have in those boxes.
     
  4. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    :goodpost:
    My thoughts exactly, Iddee. They look like simple butt joints.
     
  5. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Stain does not seal the wood. Swelling wood warps and splits. Better joints and more fasteners will hold them together longer. Sealing out moisture will reduce the forces pulling them apart. They look like rabbet joints with the least grain exposed but you still need to seal them better.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    all wood is not the same and cypress may be called the wood everlasting but generally is not (quit being so when the last old growth trees were harvested). I guess this might go to show that good marketing cannot make up for poor quality products.

    some types of wood will invariable warp and check worst than others. this is why a lot of factory made bee stuff is made from white pine. how the boards are cut initially on a saw and how they are dried afterwards also contributes to the end products quality. you pay for this lack of quality later which your pictures readily demonstrates.

    many of my home made boxes look about like those in your pictures. although not so pretty they, still function perfectly well as a house for my girls.

    years ago (while working for a large commercial outfit with lot of bee furniture) I came to the unscientific conclusion that often time staples worked better than most nails. nails have a tendency to 'pop' as wood takes on and gives up it's water content.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Did you use wood glue on the meeting surfaces of the wood before nailing them together?
    It looks like you were a bit too stingy on the nails.
    Wood glue applied to the cut ends of the slats helps to seal the grain and reduce alternate absorption and loss of moisture and thus tends to help them keep their shape.
     
  8. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I could accept that if it wasn't for the old pine wood lawn furniture I have sitting out here for 11+ years stained with the same stuff and still in good condition. (I wanted the hives to match lol). This material is designed for exterior use.

    I didn't build the boxes. They were shipped here pre-assembled. The pine boxes I picked up after I realized there was a Mann Lake supplier not more than 10 miles from the house. This supplier makes all their own boxes, tops, bottoms, etc..right on site. I'm thinking I'll doctor up these cypress boxes the best I can and just replace them with pine when the time comes. Maybe I should protect the inside of the boxes as well but I was worried about the bees.

    I think I paid a few dollars more for cypress when I should have stuck with pine.
    I was looking at Cedar bee hives but now this has me wondering if it's really worth the extra cost.
     
  9. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Eddy:
    You don't need to do anything to the inside of the boxes. How many boxes are you talking about? If it's just a couple, I'd say just replace them.
    I buy all my woodenware directly from Mann Lake unassembled. Free shipping on orders over $100.00, and cheaper in lots of 5 or more. I glue and nail them, then 2 coats of primer, and 2 coats of exterior grade latex.
     
  10. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Looks like just 4 boxes. I have 4 more in the barn that haven't been used and they are ok along with 2 more on another hive that are ok. So 4 out of 10 warped and checked. Like I say I can drive to the Mann Lake supplier (10 miles).

    Has anybody heard of copper dipping? This place near me sells optional copper dipped wooden ware. The boxes are green when they're done. Is it a protectant? Do I still paint them?
     
  11. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Copper dipping is a new one on me. My local supplier does a hot parrafin dip that seals the wood but leaves a natural finish.
    Does your supplier have a web site? I'm interested in learning about the copper thing. Thanks.
     
  12. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    No website. It's Harvey Honey in Elmer, NJ. I always bought honey there but never knew there was a huge wood working shop that made bee supplies until I went there to pick up my nucs this year.
     
  13. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    You do not have a choice in assembly of presawn pieces but there are clear examples of the wrong orientation of heartwood. Flat sawn planks cup toward the bark or away from the heart. Dont put your heart inside the box. That makes the plank edges curl out away from the sides. If you are making your own, check the growth rings before you decide which to rabbet or place handholds.

    I predrill even for nails and if you use deck or drywall screws it is even necessary to countersink as well as predrill to prevent cracking.
     
  14. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Frank, Thanks for that important info.
    As to copper dipping, I wonder if that isn't the secret magic of Omie's bear-proof green hive (see her "My bee year 2011" thread). :|
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Eddy ask:
    Has anybody heard of copper dipping?

    tecumseh:
    there is a copper concentrate compound sold in almost all the bee supply catalogues. I think it is pretty much like the green stuff you see in deck material. from what I have read (seen casually once or twice) you mix the concentrate in something like mineral spirits and then dip and allow to soak. I think the copper compound in contact with the bees (ie anywhere in the interior surface of the hive) pretty much is consider a no no and still call your honey 'organic'. I myself would not use this compound on any bee type furniture. Don't get me wrong I have no concern about being classified as organic, but I do think the compound "can" have undesirable yet almost undetectable side effects relative to a bee hive's health. I don't want the stuff inside my house and I don't want the stuff in my honey either, no matter how low the concentration.
     
  16. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Copper is commonly used by organic farms as a fungicide. I used to spray it on tomatoes at my former gig. It's OMRI listed, but is nothing I'd want in contact with my girls.
     
  17. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    An update:

    Brushy mountain has offered to replace all of my damaged cypress hives. I was told that they had a batch last year where the moisture content of the wood was higher than it should have been.

    I have 6 damaged mediums total with 5 more still in the barn that are ok because they haven't been exposed.

    I think this is very good customer service. When I emailed them they got back to me within the next business day. I will continue to do business with them based on this great customer service.

    Hats off to Brushy Mountain!
     
  18. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    If people feel free to express their gripes, they should also know how to express their thanks.
    I like a man who knows how to give credit where credit is due. :clapping:

    Hats off to Eddy Honey :hi:
     
  19. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    I buy from Brushy Mountain as well and have always gotten great service from them too, they are a very customer oriented group. At least in my dealings with them they have been but I am East of the Mississippi!:thumbsup:
     
  20. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Im going to say theres is several things that could have resulted in this. Most have mentioned in the above posts. Another I would say is the wood was not dried to the proper moisture percentage before being milled.