Easy Steps for Building Any Beehive
Specific plans for beehives may differ, but you typically follow the same basic steps during the building process. Here are the fundamental stages of building a beehive:
Read and reread the plans.
Become familiar with the plans and procedures before you purchase or cut any wood. Make sure the project is up to your skill level and applicable to the type of beekeeping you’re involved with.
Check the materials list and make a shopping list.
The plans for building a beehive include a materials list. This is your shopping list, which will be helpful when you head to the store or lumberyard to purchase your lumber, hardware, and fasteners.
Plan your cut list.
Go through all your lumber stock and lay out where each cut will go. Plan so you wind up with the least amount of scrap wood. Also plan cuts so you minimize your saw adjustments (do all the crosscuts first and then all the rip cuts).
Cut and mark the pieces you need.
The pieces are the various parts to the puzzle you’re assembling. The cut list and illustrations in the plans for a hive label these parts and what they’re used for. Use a pencil to mark the parts in an inconspicuous place (indicate hand rail, short side, and so on). That makes assembly much easier.
Cut the joints and other details.
Some parts you cut have some additional detailed cuts to make (finger joints, dados, rabbets, and so on). Make these cuts as you’re cutting out the various parts of the hive.
Drill guide holes.
Wherever you’re placing a nail or screw, pre-drill a guide hole (in most cases using a 7/64 inch drill bit). This makes it easier to get nails and screws to go in and helps prevent the wood from splitting.
Dry fit the assemblies to make sure everything fits properly.
Make sure your assemblies fit together before you apply any glue or fasteners. Make adjustments as needed to get a perfect fit. Also, you can use this procedure to practice the assembly process. Repeat until you can do it smoothly and efficiently. Practice makes perfect.
Square the parts.
Most beehive builds require the assemblies to be perfectly square (otherwise, you’ll have some seriously wobbly hives). Use a carpenter’s square to ensure squareness before putting all the fasteners into place.
Nail or screw parts together.
Consider using an all-weather wood glue in addition to the fasteners. It helps make the assemblies as strong as possible. Apply a thin coat of glue wherever wooden parts are joined together.
Paint or polyurethane.
Protective coats of a good quality exterior house paint, exterior polyurethane, or marine varnish greatly extend the life of your woodenware. For the hives you build, never paint, polyurethane, or varnish interior parts. Treat only those surfaces that are directly exposed to rain and sun.
Clean shop and take a break.
Clean up your shop before calling it quits for the day, and take a well-deserved break.