contact us

 

We would love to hear from you.

Contact us using the form on the right, or give us a call!

(419) 561-0378 


Columbus, OH

(419) 561-0378

Revival Woodworks is dedicated to reviving wood to its true beauty. Through our sustainable designs from re-purposed materials like pallets, barn wood, and reclaimed materials often thrown out, we are able to create beautiful home designs that can be enjoyed! We believe that wood has a natural beauty that should be brought out and restored, not covered or thrown away.

How to Build A Beehive - Part 1: the Plan and Prep

Blog

Ideas a free, but you'll have to pay attention. 

Woodworking takes patients and practice. Our blog is here to share ideas and pull the curtain back on how we do what we do. We understand that there are many ways to do things, and love to hear other opinions.  Feel free to comment, ask questions, or share your thoughts. Enjoy!

 

How to Build A Beehive - Part 1: the Plan and Prep

Adam Koons

This article is part of a 5 part series on building beehives. I have decided to build 8 frame hives in my workshop with common woodworking tools. I am building my hives myself to save money over buying, and to challenge myself on a fulfilling project. This is not a step by step guide for a novice woodworker, but a snapshot into my experience on how I built my own hives to use.


I am getting bees this year. I am going to make all the components of a beehive.

I am completely new to beekeeping, and by no means an expert in the field. I have read a few books, taken a beginners class/joined a club, and watched a ton of YouTube on the topic. There is loads of information out there, and many differing opinions about the best way to go. It is a bit overwhelming about how to get started.

Wherever a beginner in a new hobby starts, there is always a cost of entry. Beekeeping is no different, and it would be easy to drop $500-$1000 before even getting bees. For example, a hive costs around $200+ for a 10 frame hive starter kit. Then the cost of a bee suite, hive tools, smoker, etc will run easily another $100+. To join a club and take a class adds another $100+ to get first hand education. Finally the package of bees run around $120 but a nuc can be closer to $180. Then most people suggest you start with at least 2 hives when getting started so you can compare and have a better chance in year two, if only one hive makes it, then you can split the surviving one and keep going.

Since woodworking is my first passion/hobby, I have a good understanding of how all the pieces and parts of a hive are built. Most of the beekeeping equipment is made from standard pine boards. I am fascinated with the box joint on the boxes and the bee-spacing throughout the hive. I love that the equipment all fits together in a certain way, and some of the component are “reversible” and interchangeable. Since wanting to get into the hobby, I have thought “I can build that"!”

And that is what I intend to do - Build out complete hives: Bottom boards, Deep Brood Boxes, Medium Supers, Feeders, Inter Covers, Telescoping covers, and frames for it all.

Before I get into building the hive components I need to clear up some things:

  1. I don’t buy into the argument that you can’t build it cheaper than you can buy it.

    • I am a woodworker first, and a beekeeper second. That means I have a TON of scrap lumber laying around that I will “need” someday. This project will use up these boards.

    • I will be spending time in my woodworking hobby whether I was going to keep bees or not. When you are doing a hobby, it is for enjoyment and there isn’t a dollar value to place on time spent. If I wasn’t spending the time to build hive components, I would still be spending hobby time on something else - furniture, boats, trinkets, etc. - Most people are sitting around from 9pm to 11 pm during the week.

    • From strictly cash leaving my account, I promise less money will leave my bank account, by building my own hives.

  2. There are lots of opinions in beekeeping (and in general life I guess), and I am choosing to do things my way in my Apiary.

    • I want to learn as I go, and building my equipment is part of the learning process. I will build components and then build other needed items as I go.

    • I will be build and use an 8 Frame Langstroth Hive, because it is a hobby and not a commercial operation, and the wood components scale to an 8’ board better (less waste).

      • I have read that it will also take less effort for the bees to build out, it more resembles a natural hive in a tree, and the can over winter better. These are yet to be proven.

    • I value other opinions, but be careful how you give advice. I respect your experience, but we all need to understand the line between providing advice and shaming/disrespecting someone for how they will be doing things.

  3. There was a time when craftsmanship and creating things from the materials on hand was appreciated.

    • I like the idea of making things for myself, vs. the instant gratification of ordering everything on Amazon/the bee suppliers.

    • My equipment won’t be perfectly machined, but the bees won’t care and it will still work the same.

    • There are a lot of pieces, parts, and cuts that need to be made. I already have the equipment, but it will still be a challenge to use the tools to create everything.

Beehive Plans and How to Guides

I spent all winter learning and preparing how to build my hives. I have researched build styles, and watched plenty of YouTube videos on how others have built them. None of the plans I am following in my builds are my own, and I will share where I got the ideas from. I have no affiliation with the following, but am sharing them as great content if you also want to build your own beehives.

Books I have Read - The Backyard Beekeeper and Beekeeping For Dummies

The Bee Source - They have a great site for getting free plans on building many popular beehive boxes, frames, and more. Specifically, I am using their Dadant Type Frames plans, and if I were building 10 Frame hive boxes, I would use their plans.

Building Beehives For Dummies - I am using their plans as a guide for my bottom boards, deep brood boxes, medium supers, inter covers, and telescoping cover. The biggest change I am making to their plans is that my boxes will be 14” x 20”.

General Notes on How to build a Bee Hive - Based on the plans and the videos, I plan to heavily use my table saw and dado blade stack, my miter saw and a band saw. There will be other required tools, but this will generally be the tools used for everything.

While things are set up, I am making the hive components for 2 hives at once. Included in the 2 hives will be a solid bottom board, 2 Deep Brood Boxes, 2 Medium Honey Supers, a feeder, and inter cover, and a telescoping cover.


How to Build A Langstroth Hive

This video is a great visual of using a box joint jig on a table saw and making the hive boxes. This video has everything except the frames.

How to Build Beehive Frames


I will be sharing my techniques and build process in the new part of this series. As I go, I will share tips, tricks, and thoughts as I go along. Since I have a wood shop already set up, I will be sharing costs when I purchase materials, but will not have a completely accurate dollar total at the end.


This article is part of a 5 part series on building beehives. I have decided to build 8 frame hives in my workshop with common woodworking tools. I am building my hives myself to save money over buying, and to challenge myself on a fulfilling project. This is not a step by step guide for a novice woodworker, but a snapshot into my experience on how I built my own hives to use.

HOW TO BUILD A BEEHIVE - PART 1: THE PLAN AND PREP

HOW TO BUILD A BEEHIVE - PART 2: BUILDING BEEHIVE BOXES - DEEPS AND MEDIUMS

HOW TO BUILD A BEEHIVE - PART 3: BUILDING FRAMES

HOW TO BUILD A BEEHIVE - PART 4: BUILDING THE SOLID BOTTOM BOARD, INTERCOVER, FEEDER, TELESCOPING OUTER COVER

HOW TO BUILD A BEEHIVE - PART 5: FINAL THOUGHTS AND TOTAL COST