Complete Beehive Made From Scrap Pallet Wood | Full Picture Tutorial

in blog •  5 months ago


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Yep, you read that correctly, we made this complete beehive out of pallets. We picked them up for free from our local hardware store, and with a little time and patience made something we are really proud of. We used material that would normally end up in the landfill and turned them into a beautiful, sturdy, high quality home for our bees. These bees are not only essential for our ecosystem but will also produce a significant income for our homestead from the sell of the excess honey, all for free (minus the cost of some wood glue). Our mission is to share all we have learned here on steemit in hopes of encouraging others to make things themselves instead of buying them. This post will guide you through the process of making the complete beehive yourself!





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We actually made (5) complete hives and added some specific details to make sure these hives are the best they can be, including;


  • Higher R- Value than your typical hive - Keeping the bees warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

  • Insulated Warre Top - Helping with insulation and removing any moisture from the hive.

  • Sturdy Construction - This hive will last for years to come.

  • Custom entrance reducer - To allow us to better control the ventilation depending on weather.


    as well as a list of other things you will see as we go along


    Curious if building with pallets is safe? Check out this article for more information.






Price Comparison



We wanted to make sure we had a high quality hive, and not one we would have to replace broken parts each year... so when comparing, we looked at the hives you can purchase with the highest scored reviews and this is what we found;



Their Cost

  • Warre Hive Body w/8 frames x 2 - $178.00
  • Hivetop Feeder - $69.00
  • Warre Bottom Board - $54.00
  • Warre Hive Top - $109.00

Total = $410.00




Our Cost


Includes the following pieces;
  • Warre Style Hive Top
  • Hive Box Body w/10 frames
  • Hivetop Feeder
  • Warre Style Bottom Board
  • Set of 20 Frames

Total = $15.00 per hive


That is a savings of $395.00 per hive (so $1,975 for our five hives) and we are left with an even higher quality then we could have purchased, saving us time and money over the years.




The goal was not only to save money, but to produce a higher quality product than what is available on the market...and I think we did just that. Let us show you how!






The Process

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When making your own beehive out of pallet wood here are a few things to consider:


  • You will need access to a table saw, 12" jointer or planer and several clamps to complete this project.

  • Avoid hardwood for this project due to its low R value and for the additional weight that it adds.

  • This hive will fit standard langstroth frames, but the exterior dimensions will be larger due to increased wall thickness for insulation purposes.

  • Langstroth hives are typically made with finger joints but because of the added thickness rabbet joints work perfectly for this project and make it a bit easier.

  • We are choosing to make our hives out of pallets for many reasons. If you don't want to use pallets, you can simply skip to Step Four and use 2"x 12" material instead to build this hive.

  • Typical beehives are made of 3/4" softwood which has an R value of roughly 1 (1.4 R value per inch), this hive measures out to be 1 1/2" thick giving you an R value of 2.1



First Things First | Processing The Pallet Wood



  • The first thing we need to do is remove the long boards from the pallet itself. We did so my using a reciprocating saw and cutting through the nails, allowing each board to be removed with out breaking.

  • Once we have our boards removed, we run those through the planer and table saw until we have smooth surfaces.

  • Then we take our now smooth boards and glue and clamp them together.


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    After a few hours we can remove clamps, but make sure to let them dry overnight before working with them.


Run through the planer again to smooth everything out and cut ends to make a straight edge; We now have lumber to start our process.



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For some of the pieces we want to have a thicker width to help with insulation. To achieve that, we simply take the lumber we just made and glue/clamp it together like so...



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Leaving us with...



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Now that we know how to make our lumber from pallets, lets move on to the hive itself;



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The Beehive Top



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This is a custom design (with free plans included) pulling ideas from different styles of tops we have seen in other hives, which we combined to make something unique. This top is insulated with pine shaving to wick out moisture as well as helping to keep the bees warm in our harsh winters, as well as cool in the summer months.

We first cut down on one layered lumber from above to the following dimensions.
(2) - 19 5/8” x 2 ¾” x 1 ½”
(2) - 24” x 12” x ½”
(2) - 16 7/8” x 6 ½” x 1 ½”


Then we make a few simple cuts (found in the full tutorial) and glue the pieces together.


We also drilled holes along the edge to allow optimal ventilation.

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And finished the eaves with a router...

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The Hive Box



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For the hive boxes we used the 3 layer lumber we made and cut it to the following dimensions;

(2) - 9 9/16" x 1 1/2" x 15 3/8"

(2) - 9 9/16" x 1 1/2" x 21 1/8


Then we use a dado blade to make our joints and glue/clamp the pieces together to make our hive box. We then finish off using a brad gun along the joints to help strengthen it overall. We made two of these for each hive, adding the second to the hive later in the season.




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The Frames



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These are the standard frame (brood frame) size of the Langstroth Hive. So if you order a Bee Nuc the frames will be identical to what we are creating here, therefore fitting perfectly. In reality, when making the frames you will want to do an assembly line style, doing all of one size before moving on to another...making your work quick and easy.

We will start by cutting our single layer lumber that we made into the following dimensions;
(1) 19" x 1" x 1/2"

(1) 17 3/4" x 3/4" x 1/2"
(2) 9 1/8" x 1 3/8" x 1/2"




We then simply join the pieces together using glue and clamps to secure until dry.


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The Bottom Board



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This is the base of your hive or the hive bottom board. It might seem like a pretty easy concept, but there are some important details to consider; stability of the hive, ventilation, easy accessibility for bees etc. This is a design that my husband came up with is for a 10 frame style hive.

We start with the 3 layer lumber we made for the base and and cut the lumber to the following dimensions;

Base x 2 (24” x 8 7/16” x 1 ½”)

Spline x 1 (24” x 1 ½” x 1/2”)

Perimeter Side x 2 (19 ¾” x 1 ½” x ¾”)

Perimeter Back x 1 (16 7/8” x 1 ½” x ¾”)

Entrance Reducer x 1 (13 7/8” X ¾” x ¾”)




Then we simply glue and clamp the perimeter pieces to the base and its ready for the hive box.




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The Hivetop Feeder



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Sometimes Bees just need a little help getting through the winter until they have access to nectar and pollen. To help them, we add this hivetop feeder or in hive feeder until all the vegetation around the homestead is in bloom. We designed this one to be used with sugar or sugar water, depending on the climate.

We start with single layer lumber cut into the following dimensions;

19 5/8" x 2

16 7/8" x 2

15" x 2 1/4" x 1/2" x 2

We then secure the pieces using wood glue and a brad nailer, then add in some recycled screen material to allow the bees to access the food without getting trapped in the liquid. Allowing you to give your bees access to the necessary food and water without them having to leave the hive.


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The Complete Hive

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We couldn't be more satisfied with the end result and are so glad we took on the challenge of making a complete hive from scrap pallet wood. We hope that we have encouraged you to Make it, don't buy it, as well.





Thank you so much for reading,


Happy Homesteading!



All photos and content are our own. Please do not use any part of this post without our expressed permission. Thank you.

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Loved the post LL. It was nice to learn something new about the R factor and how boxes are designed keeping the bees alive and safe during harsh weather. I need to say that @normok is a rockstar when it comes to woodwork, clean and good looking boxes for bees.

P.S-I loved the astronaut dress you are wearing there :P

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Im still sort of rookie when handling the bees. It doesnt take too many mistakes before they let you know theyre not happy. But there are pros out there who handle them like they are ladybugs.

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Isn't astronaut suit protective enough? I mean I don't think it could let the sting pass through its layer :D .

Are these your photos too? You did very well on them. I love your bee hives - and I've seen a lot of bee hives - these are very neat and tidy and functional and FREE (except for the building part of the job).

Have you ever visited Funky Junk Interiors on the web? You might like her projects. Most is building from old things and pallets.

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Thank you! Yes they are my photos too ❤️.

I haven’t heard of her but will have to check her out thank you! Pallets are such a great free resource

@llfarms Wow!!! this is amazing work from start to finish the principal, the design, the execution the photos and the write-up. this is really inspiring and great content i truly wish my 0.01c upvote was worth more as you deserve it way more than that! upvoted, resteemed and followed so glad i found you

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Thank you so much!! This is a project we have been working on for awhile and are so glad to be sharing it here. Thank you so much for your kind words and the resteem, very much appreciated!

Beautiful work! This is so inspiring. They really do look like they are built to stand the test of time!

I have been following your posts. Very nice work!

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Thank you so much, we really appreciate your constant support... it really means a lot!

Damn! Now I see why your standards for those homesteading posts are so high. Promise I'll think twice before asking your opinion of any of them in the future; though I'm sure if we held all of them to this standard we won't find any quite worthy. This is too dope! Way too dope. You make me want to have myself some bees.

Cheers,
Ras.

What a fabulous post! So informative and thorough. Craftsmanship is beautiful, you should be proud. @llfarms Nothing is better than recycle, reuse. I am a firm believer in this. The hive are so beautiful. I can't amazing the honey you will have. Love, Love, Love it!

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Oh man, I’m dreaming of all the honey we are gonna have this year, So exciting! Thank you!! Yeah we really try to focus on not only making things ourselves but using scrap or free material that would normally be thrown away and transforming it into something new.

What an incredible post! So detailed and specific. Not to mention the great photos! I am resteeming!

You have been scouted by @promo-mentors. We are a community of new and veteran Steemians and we are always on the look out for promising authors.

I would like to invite you to our discord group https://discord.gg/vDPAFqb.

When you are there send me a message if you get lost! (My Discord name is the same as here on Steemit)



I love the sloped top. I've actually been putting off buying a couple of needed brood boxes and a super, hoping to find some simple plans. 👍👍

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Thank you ❤️. Yes they seem to make so much more sense then the simple flat box tips, especially for our winters. Let me know if you have any questions regarding the plans, I hope they work out for you!

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My husband looked the plans over. He thinks he can put it together. 👍

Would you be willing to assemble all this into a pdf tutorial and release it as public domain? Or at least creative commons.

Wow! These hives are incredible. Beautiful work. Matt came across some weathered cedar at his work and he was able to incorporate it into the tiny house using a planer. It's amazing what you can find and repurpose. -Aimee

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Thank you so much Aimee!! Cedar is so stunning and oh my goodness the smell, it could be one of my favorite things. We have also been setting away some of that beautiful hardwood to be used for a future product. It really is so amazing! Thanks so much for the support ❤️

congrats on the curie and lovely job on the bee hives!! here i thought you were done after the last one. amazing!

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Hey thank you!! Yeah we made sure each individual piece had their own tutorial... lots of beehive action 😂

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makes for many blog posts! lol
great work.

Really fabulous post! Nice job @llfarms and congrats on the Curie!

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Awe thank you so much! Nothing feels better than getting a little reward for your hard work... ❤️

Much respect and admiration here... The love and care you take with building all this, and making this detailed post complete with beautiful pictures... I'm impressed and love what you do! Thanks, @llfarms, for sharing the wisdom and love :-) <3

P.s.
I remember from a couple years ago this worldwide panick in the news about bees dying or disappearing everywhere... Did you notice any of that? Just curious...

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Thank you so much!!! Yes, there is definitely a decline and with that comes concern of what happens if bees are no longer able to pollinate and therefore how that would effect the food supply. They help our personal crops as well as the surrounding forest areas, so they will always have a home on our homestead... plus I have an unhealthy obsession with honey 🙊

what a fantastic empowering post!!! this is great stuff. i love love love that you took a "waste" resource and made an incredible product we need more of .... ah! so good <3

Incredibly detailed build log, and major props to you for making the plans available.

I'm also impressed you addressed the pallet safety issue, which was going to be my initial question. I'm not 100% sure it's safe, based on your post, but you're absolutely forthcoming with the fact that it's not a definitive test and you approached it with a good level of rigor.

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Heres a good cheat sheet for you:
The treatment code : [HT] = Heat treatment / [DB] = Debarked / [KD] = Kiln Dried.
If it has any of these markings, no toxic materials were used in the construction of the pallet. This doesnt guarantee there couldnt be spills after the fact which was the point of the pallet safety post.

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I was unaware of the treatment codes, that's useful.

My main concern was the spills - I've seen enough stuff spilled in my lab that I'm a little wary. Still, you did a pretty good analysis in that post and the 100% sure thing is just me being nitpicky.

this cool post, take the waste resources to make the extraordinary product we need more, good jobs

This is amazing. Purely amazing. What you can do with a pallet is endless! Going to store this idea in my brain for later in life!

Wow, just wow.

The bees look happy!

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Thank you so much!! 🙏 Aren’t pallets amazing?! Such a great resource for free material that can be turned into pretty much anything you can imagine.

Very nice work and function. Looks good.

That looks awesome. Those pallets look like they are pretty decent wood to start with. I appreciate the hard work you've put into these, let alone steeming about it. Bravo. I still haven't ventured into making my own bee hives - though I really want to. One day, when I have more time. For now, we 'rent' a beehive which is really our mates box on our property - he checks it, and we get a percentage of the honey. We're yet to get any though - they haven't produced much yet, it's been a bit dry here.

Top notch @llfarms and @normok! Love love love it! I wish u guys were closer. My uncle could use a beehive. They didn't have success with it

Wow, these look sweet like honey. If you guys are saving that much, you should consider selling these maybe. Awesome post with cool info and nice pics. This might bee the best thing i've seen today.

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Lol! Thanks so much Sound! We actually have been doing so with great success. It’s funny, in our area people have had a hard time keeping bees alive through the harsh winters, but with this design we had no problem doing so. People are pretty shocked and surprised by that, it’s something we will probably persue more in the future as well.

That's a quality piece of furniture you made! I'm impressed by the finishes and the attention to detail. Great work! I made a hive last winter. I should post about it. Thanks for the idea.

One word: wow

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Hi @llfarms ,

The new Curie Author Showcase which features this post is now posted and ready for viewing.

Thanks for being a part of it.
Gene (@curie Curator)


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Ohhhh.. Wooow.. I like it

The beehives looks amazing! The level of craftsmanship and finish you got is just outstanding. The whole documentation is so well done too. Bee keeping is still a long way off on the list of many things I want to do, but I'll definitely come back to this series for inspiration. Really well done, and I'm sure the honey you get from those hives will be as sweet as the hives themselves.