Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ever wanted to have your own source of honey? Honey and beeswax have so many uses around the homestead and this is something my wife has wanted for quite some time. So, with our anniversary just around the corner, I thought what better to make than a top-bar bee hive!

We chose to go with a top bar because they are easy to build, maintain, and are great for beginners (or so I have heard). The trick is, we have a budget of next to nothing for this project and the wife and I vowed to get each other something homemade for each other this year. I immediately started thinking of where I could get some free wood for this project. Ah yes! That old kitchen table/picnic table that has been sitting outside in the rain for three years, perfect! I grabbed the table top and benches and made my way to the garage. 

The first step for me was to get all of the wood cleaned up and cut away all of the edges and unusable wood. Once this was done I stacked it all up and started planning out some measurements. I have read that the hive should be able 12" deep, about 10 inches wide at the bottom, 120 degree angle coming up and as long as 48 inches. After some careful planning I thought I could get pretty close to these measurements with the wood that I had. 

I started by cutting the end pieces to size ( ended up with about 8.5" bottom, 120 degrees up on each side. The length that worked for the wood I had was about 42 inches with sides that were about 15" wide. In order to make the sides I needed to glue a few pieces of wood together using a make shift clamping system on my workbench. For some of the longer pieces (bottom) I glued two boards together end to end using dowels to strengthen the glue joints. 

The next step was a lot, I mean a lot, of sanding. I had to grind off years of weathering and stains ( I used the benches as saw horse for awhile so they were pretty beat up). The wood from this table looks like it is birch or maybe poplar and it really is a nice looking wood once it is cleaned up. I also used a glue and sawdust mix to fill in any holes, cracks, or other damaged areas and then sanded them flat. 

While the glue was all drying I started in on the legs. I am using 2X4's for the legs and wanted to be a little different than the other hives I have seen out there. I aligned the legs to match the angle of the end pieces of the hive and marked them where they crossed. I then used a circular saw to mill out the area where they crossed down 3/4" on each leg. I then chiseled out the area smooth so that the legs will fit nicely together and make a crossed leg similar to a baby manger (think Jesus in Bethlehem). I then secured these together with glue and clamps and let them set up. 

That takes care of all of the prep work and all I could fit into one video. Next up will be assembly and finishing touches on the main part of the hive. 

Getting started with beekeeping? Check out these items on Amazon - 

Protective suit - http://amzn.to/1dZ4frl
Smoker - http://amzn.to/1MjT3Qu
Starter tool kit - http://amzn.to/1T8hmpR
Starter feeder - http://amzn.to/1MjTaLY

General Store - http://astore.amazon.com/simpsubulivi-20 

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