Saturday, July 28, 2012

Work in Progress...

I read in a beekeeping book for new beekeepers that it is best to purchase a fully assembled hive. Siting that the construction of a hive is intricate, the author stated that it may take weeks to finish the frames, boards, and boxes for the novice. It really did take me until Thursday to take out the pieces an begin putting all the pieces together. Taking the information read in the book to heart, I figured I would work on the frames and work my way to the boxes over the next couple weeks. Armed with wood glue, nails, hammer, and a square(few others) I started on the first frame. Because I did most of my direction research via YouTube, I felt confident in what I was about to embark upon. I started with one frame just to test the waters, then employed an idea I saw a beekeeper utilize: gluing and assembling frames in rapid succession. By lining up the top bars parallel to one another, the side bars can be glued and the tightened in place. Quickly, the bottom bars can be glued in place. I begin doing 5 and more at a time until 20 had been glued and assembled. Then came the nailing. Each corner took two nails totaling 8 nailed per frame. I had purchased a precision hammer for the endeavor and it worked well. I was hesitant at first to order unassembled frames, since most seem to use a compressor and staple gun. I knew I was at a distinct disadvantage. Regardless, it took me about an hour or so to finish 20 deep size frames. By my calculations, the rest of the assembly project would only take several more hours. I had little experience growing up with tools and I may have hammered my first nail when I was 25. Neither was the mentorship there nor the opportunity. Unfortunately this has led to an extremely embarrassing hammer ability. It is a precise skill to be able to nail with precision, which I am slow to attain. There were plenty of bent nails in the building of the frames. I thought I was getting it down at times, but still made quite a few mistakes. Later that night, I took out the 20 medium sized frames and started again. I finished those within less than an hour. So I picked up the boxes and grabbed my 24" bar clamps. I had ordered 8 off eBay for around $40 for the project. The boxes were difficult to maintain square and it was increasingly frustrating that the boxes' seemed a bit bowed in places. I used a rubber mallet to pressure the finger joints together. With one blow I actually cracked the top of on. That this point, with a cracker side of the box and the joints not coming together flush I began to regret ordering an unassembled hive. I remedied the situation both glue and small frame nails. Looks like crap, but it isn't visible from the front. The clamps also came in handy with pulling in the bowed sides. By the nights end I had nailed and glued everything. The foundation for the frames was difficult to push into the grooves on the frames, but made a technique for both the deeps and mediums. The entire hive is completely assembled in my dining room awaiting sanding and painting. Overall, it was difficult, but it was an enjoyable experience. If you think you can hammer and glue, then I would suggest giving it a try. It totaled about 4 1/2 hours. It is almost time to start keeping some bees!

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