diy wooden ware ?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Mama Beek, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    I've been perusing plans and have occasionally talked about building our own wooden ware, but thought that I would ask here since y'all are pretty smart folks. Is there any benefit to building your own in terms of cost or quality?

    I spent quite a bit of time yesterday with a friend who is new to beekeeping looking at catalogs and prices and the internal argument started.

    I've heard the "time investment" argument...which in busy times I can agree with. Most of the people who would make that argument though do not have 2 teenage boys who could use a "wood shop" class anyway. I do, and they need that skill later on in life so I'm thinking 2 birds 2 stone.

    I've heard that the wood is nearly as expensive as the boxes are to order, but I can go to the lumber yard and buy wood...or for that matter to the mill not so far away from home. Can it really be that expensive that by the time you consider shipping (or gas to the pick up site), and the cost of lumber that it's not of benefit?

    Anyway...thought I would ask here for the much appreciated opinions of my beekeeping brethren. TIA :D
     
  2. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    If you have the equipment already and can get cheap lumber , then it can make sense. If you just want to fun , education part then go for it, if cash is real tight and you have time , again it makes sense

    I have everything , but buying lumber costs me almost as much as buying from Triad Bee Supply. I made 2 full hives just to prove I could , but now I just buy them.

    As for small items , I made my own stands, my own bottom boards , ventilations screens , robber screens etc.

    Outer lids were cheaper but a lot of work, until I figured out the how to's.

    I do enjoy the work, so will probably make some more in winter when I have more time.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    mama beek writes:
    Most of the people who would make that argument though do not have 2 teenage boys who could use a "wood shop" class anyway. I do, and they need that skill later on in life so I'm thinking 2 birds 2 stone.

    tecumseh:
    sounds like 'know how' here might be a difficult thing to place a $ value on.

    you can save a lot of time and money in the smaller item category of bee keeping and 'skill set' is essential to build these in a time and money effective manner.

    I do like to build bee stuff and at one time I primarily purchased only frames. over time I have begun to add bee boxes to the list of purchased items and build more of the other items (primarily tops and bottoms).
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I build my tops and bottoms and some of the boxes.

    It is a good way to use spare time or just a relaxing thing to do for myself.

    I try to scavenge 1 x boards and 1/2" plywood at all of the job sites I go to. Some packing crates are still made with nice pine 1 x boards.

    A table saw sure makes the job go good, and some can be found on craigslist for cheap. One of the older cast iron top craftsman saws are good and used parts are fairly cheap on ebay.

    Nothing better than learning how to do something else with your mind and hands, just watch the fingers!!
     
  5. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    I've built all my hives just this year and did a pretty good job,and I'm terrible with wood,but couldn't have done it right without a table saw.I went by the standard 10 frame Langstroth plans,and used rabbet joints instead of finger joints because it's much easier for the novice starting out,and if your sons go to woodshop,then the shop should have all the tools(and guidance)to do finger joints.I did find that if using rabbet joints you need to change the plans slightly mainly the length of the supers from 19 7/8" to 19 5/16",and cut the rabbets on the short end pieces,if you don't it will be too long for the frame rests causing them to fall out.
     
  6. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    I cut about 200 hives a year in just 4 or 5 days. The labor and overhead is minimal with runs of 60 board feet or more.
     
  7. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Thanks y'all! We fit into at least one of the categories that Zulu mentioned and which ones those are change during different times of the year. Tecumseh, you said it....how do I exchange the value of "know-how" with $? Maybe I was raised funny, and maybe I am old fashioned, but I believe there are some things that are worth knowing.

    I have a hubby who can come across free wood more often than not like G3 is saying, but I wasn't sure what kind of wood was necessary. We don't have the tools right now, but our neighbor who just adores my kids does and he would love to spend the time with the kids teaching them how to use them. Hubby is also pretty good at getting amazing deals on tools from time to time so if the kids enjoy it I suppose it wouldn't be impossible to support another hobby...especially one that layers into what we are already doing.

    Thanks for the tips Crackerbee, I will have to try to remember. Americasbeekeeper....200 is way more than we have in mind right now, but WOW! That is encouraging to know that it's not as time consuming as I thought :)

    So do y'all have any other recommendations or suggestions? None of the kids have done much with wood, but they are quick learners and already own kevlar gloves to help protect the fingers. I'm liking the idea of this more and more :D
     
  8. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Let me know when coming up to GSO and I will happily do a lesson and pass on any tips I have. can even plan a trip if you want.

    Love teaching others.

    Iddee Knows how to get hold of me.
     
  9. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Mama beek, :hi:
    Nothing can beat the pride you feel when you build your own.----Think of how good you'll feel about the equipment you built 20 years from now. Think of how your boys will feel. :)
    And that's in addition to the other encouraging words you've already read.
    If you can do it (and it's not that hard) GO FOR IT. :thumbsup:
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    mama bee writes:
    Maybe I was raised funny, and maybe I am old fashioned, but I believe there are some things that are worth knowing.

    tecumseh:
    absolutely..

    my dad was through most of his working life a pipe fitter and sometimes plumber. the plumber thing was pretty much a fall back position and very early on he obtained a plumber's licenses in Hillsborough County Florida (way back when folks did even know such stuff should be required). I spent a good deal of my young life crawling under cheaply made Florida houses helping him repair water and waste water pipes. I can still recall the time he showed me how to 'sweat' copper pipe and I can recall exactly what he said... 'son you likely will never need to know how to do this, but you never know when you may find it useful' (needless to say my father idea of where life might lead me was not to be a plumber or pipe fitter).

    fast forward a couple of decades and I cannot tell you how many remodel and construction jobs I obtained over the years simply because long ago my dad taught me a simple skill.

    ps... and how you might even calculate the $ value of that particular set of skills I could not even fashion an answer.
     
  11. rast

    rast New Member

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    I cherish the skills that my father and stepfather and grandfather taught me.
    It depends on the aptitude of the individual being taught more than anything else I think. Some enjoy woodworking and some don't. I didn't when my father was teaching me, but I loved the welding and torches he taught me. Today, almost 40 years later his old table saw has cut out many a box and frame. The torches and welder are seldom used today. But I can! If they will learn teach em.
    Interesting Tec. My paternal grandfather was a licensed plumber in St. Lucie Co.
     
  12. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Yes you fellas are correct about skills learned when you are young, and if nothing else they are exposed to how things are done.

    My Dad taught me many things and exposed me to many more. If I showed an interest he would nurture me along a little more. Tools and the knowledge of how to use them is something of much value. A good set of basic skills will open many doors and can be a huge savings in itself. Most times it will take the edge of hesitancy off of the "I can't do it" attitude.
     
  13. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I cut out the pieces for 10 or so honey supers using 7/8 cedar just as sawn. Material cost $4 each so say $5. with glue and screws. I will have a few small knot holes to plug and they will not be as "purty" as the ones that cost me $14. When all was done and the mess cleaned up two days were ruined but if you organized to do a run of them they could go fairly quickly.

    That said, the value of knowing how to make for yourself is likely to get more important to a young person in the days ahead: take advantage of the teaching opportunity.

    Here is a few pics. So far I really like this two finger corner design which gets glued and screwed both directions.
     

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  14. 100 TD

    100 TD New Member

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    Nice job, especially with the design for strength each way.
    Some nice "woodwork" on the skiff in the background too!
     
  15. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Those look great Frank! Thanks for sharing the pictures, and the cost break down.

    Zulu, that is a wonderful and amazing offer! Thanks so much....we will definitely be getting in touch as soon as our summer crazies pass. I know the kids will look forward to seeing you again.

    Thanks for the encouraging words efmesch! I know the skills will be handy for the kids whether they continue to use them for bee gear or not.

    Tec, G3, and Rast, thanks for the words of wisdom! We appreciate y'all being willing to share your opinions with us. Baby Beek gets excited just thinking about learning something new, and the boys will just as soon as the farmer they are working for is finished for the season and they aren't wore slap out from loading melons all day.

    Thanks again y'all!
     
  16. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    As the guys have said, it is your dad usually who teaches you these things, my dad was an engineer, and he tackled anything and everything. I rebuilt my first car engine at around 14 with dad. We made soap box racers much earlier than that with his help too.

    Welding was about 16, we had a sail boat race to go to and the trailer was knackered , so we welded it up..... and then I was lucky enough to join a company that believed even with a Varsity education, you needed basic skills and all engineers had to go through 6 months of skills, essentially a month of each: hand tools and sheet metal, welding (gas and stick), Lathe work (turning) , basic electronics and basic 3 phase heavy current wiring - motor starters etc. I have never looked back from those 6 months. Some guys sucked at it, others soaked it up like I did.

    But it is my younger brother who is the master carpenter, and while he lived with me in his 20's that I really learned more about wood. He has the patience of Job, his kitchen was built out of two walnut logs he bought on auction, resawed himself and made the boards and then the cabinetry.

    Once I had some money I equipped myself with the right tools , while not top shelf, it is all functional and I am able to produce most things myself, metal or wood.
     
  17. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Me and my hubby missed out on a lot of the things that are traditionally taught by the dad. My father in law worked long hard hours and then drank (presumably to numb himself from the effects of my MIL) until bedtime....he and MIL divorced when hubby was 13 and as a result he learned alot about playing bluegrass, outrunning his older brother and sisters, and watching tv, but not much else until he left home to join the Air Force. The Air Force taught him to repair sheet metal and somehow the skills don't translate too well to wood.....he knows the barest basics, but the majority of the time when something needs fixed at home I had best be prepared to see it done very nicely .... in metal. ;)

    My dad taught all of us kids lots of good things when he was actually home, but that was pretty rare. He was Army, deployed a lot, and always working on someone else's cars and houses in his spare time to make ends meet. Then he drove trucks and was rarely home. Then he went to work as a civilian medic....still not home. Then mom left him and took us with her. No matter how many times I ran away to Daddy's house I missed the days that he was doing any of his wood work. I do still have the lamp and shelves that he made though. He died when I was 17 so I ran out of chances.

    My kids have never lived close by to their grandpa, but they love to visit and when we do they constantly pepper him with questions about how to do things. My hubby teaches them the things that he knows and as a result my kids worked right beside us when our business was rehabilitating run down rental properties. He is gathering the equipment he needs to teach them welding also. We've always felt very blessed that other folks were willing to teach our kids those things that we can't.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a mama beek snip..
    The Air Force taught him to repair sheet metal and somehow the skills don't translate too well to wood.

    tecumseh:
    sound like deja vu from my father's life. my father was something of an artist in taking a round piece of metal and winding and twisting it down thru a very long production plant but he couldn't cut a board square if his life dependent on it.
     
  19. Bee n There

    Bee n There New Member

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    Couple big factors are what you pay for the wood and what shipping costs are to get finnished products.

    With shipping costs it costs us as much to get wood parts like boxes shipped as they are worth. Basically shipping turns a $12 brood box into a $20 plus box.

    On the other hand if you buy wood off the shelf at a box store there is little or nothing to save over buying unassembled boxes. Getting lumber dirrect from a saw mill or if you can find reclaimed stuff then you come out ahead. I made up a couple bottom boards last night out of a wooden shipping box, most expensive part would be the screen.

    Things like frames on the other hand I would never entertain making from scratch when they can be bought unassembled for a buck a piece.
     
  20. M88A1

    M88A1 New Member

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    Mama Beek,

    When I was in your shoes I did was the same way minus the 2 teenage boys. I went into bee hives head first. I wanted to get set up and going fast. BUT after shopping for Warre hives I rethought my plans. I do have a shop full of tools, I'm not Norm Abrams but I can cut and nail boards together. It was ALOT cheaper to purchase 1x10 and 2x2 lumber from Lowes. If you build one on your own and the corners dont seal perfect use some wood putty or chaulk. The bees wont care at all if its not store bought. My second hive I build a TBH out of 80 yr old pine flooring off my dads porch, I used the cedar siding off the out side of the porch for my hive roof. My time was the only expense and it only took a day but paid off as a father son project...I'm 43 and hes 69