So, I had the time a few nights ago to cut out the rest of the major parts and start some assembly. I still haven’t worked on assembling the main hive body, but focused instead on the roof structure. I wanted to have a roof ready to go, since when I assemble the hive bodies, they will have to be stored outside. I can fit the unassembled part inside, but once assembled that will be to big.
The part that I still had to cut out were the short side pieces for the roof frame and the panel board for the roof (which will be covered with aluminum flashing (more on that later). The panel board for the roof was easy, it just had to be ripped down to 15″ x 4′. Like I had done with the plywood, I had the panel board cut when I bought it. I had it cut into three pieces, two 30″ and one 36″ wide. I ripped the 15″ ones in half for the 4 roof panels. The remaining piece will be used for the removable bottom boards. I had originally planned to also use this for making some divider or follower boards (for restricting the size of the hive if needed). I decided however to use some 1/4″ plywood I had sitting around.
The short sides pieces of the roof frame were a little more complicated, but still were not bad at all to make. All the pieces are identical and they fit together when one is rotated 180 degrees. I started by cutting a rabbet the same way I had for the long side pieces. This will be the end that connects with those long side pieces. The other end needs to form a rabbeted joint at the ridge of the roof. For this I did two miter cuts on the end, followed by cutting a rabbet at 20 degrees. I was quite happy at how everything fit together. I assembled it with screws, and it felt very sturdy. I then attached the panel board with screws (sorry, I forgot to take a picture with the panel board attached). So far, everything went together quite well. Planning it in 3D seemed to work nicely, and it was easy to refer back to the model on my laptop to get measurements while working.
I showed my wife the roof and she said it was huge. She hadn’t pictured it being as big as it was. She decided that I wasn’t building beehives, but bee mansions. I had earlier tasked her with helping come up with names for my hives and maybe the queens. I figured that I would need some way to refer to them here and “hive 1” and “hive 2″ seemed too boring. She has decided I should name them after famous mansions/castles, and name the queen bees after corresponding queens. I’ll have to think about it a bit. One thing is for sure, my 4 year old daughter would love the idea. She is obsessed with all things related to princesses. Queens and castles are right up her alley. 🙂 My wife says I already have her brainwashed into liking bees, this will just add to it. I suppose you could call the worker bees princesses, right? 😛
Last night I was able to start on covering the roof with the aluminum flashing. This was part of the construction I had the most worries about. I felt pretty confident with all the wood working, but didn’t have a good feel for how the aluminum work would go. My primary worry was about a seam that was required. This was due to the size of flashing I could find. I got 10′ x 20″ rolls. Cut into 4′ 6” pieces, each would cover a little more than half the roof (including wrapping around and under each end. What this meant was that there would need to be a seam a couple of inches down from the ridge of the roof on one side. The two pieces of aluminum would still be well overlapped with the seam on the downhill meaning that water getting through shouldn’t be a problem. I was just worried about how the seam would lay down. I was hoping that some adhesive and the fact that the sides were wrapped around the ends would help the seam lay flat.
Turns out I had reason to worry. 😦 Notice the two slight bulges in the seam in the second picture. Its not too bad, and I don’t think it will leak, but I still don’t like it. Its kind of hard to fold a completely straight line while your wrapping the edges, and this caused a little bit of a problem. The adhesive didn’t help as much a I had hoped either. Other than the seam, all the other wrapping went very nicely, and I am happy with it. I haven’t given up though. I will still try to get the seam flat, and I have some ideas for the second roof too. I will try starting the wrapping at the ridge of the roof, instead of ending there. Wish me luck!