I generally don’t have much time during the week to work. I don’t want to run the table saw or other power tools at night and bother my neighbors. After coming home from work, eating dinner, and spending some time with my girls, I have at most an hour (usually less). I have been only doing a bit here and there and haven’t felt like posting it. I’m a little behind now, and have to catch up.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I still needed to finish the top-bars for the brood nest. I had finished 30 top-bars for honey storage (1 1/2″ wide), but the thinner brood bars needed to be cut down. They should be 1 1/4″ wide and are cut from the 1×2’s like the other bars. They therefor have to be ripped down before the comb guide is cut. I used a single feather board to hold the stock down to the table while I ran them through. Once they were cut to 1 1/4″, I then ran them through in the same way described earlier to form the comb guide.
At this point, I had to remove the legs. They would get in the way for inserting the brace at the ends, and I wanted to paint the hives without them (so I could paint even under where they attach). A couple of times, I have caught myself just in time before doing something dumb. This was another of those. Since I just drilled the bolt holes by eye, they are all slightly different. That means that each leg may only fit in one position. To save myself some hassle when I have to reassemble, I made sure to label each leg and the position it want on which hive.
With the legs off, I measured and cut braces to fit in each end. The edges are cut at 20 degrees, and they are glued and screwed in place. I made sure that had a little clearance above the removable bottom so any junk that falls through can slide out with the bottom. These braces also have a purpose besides just adding strength to the hive. They also provide a place where I can attach the #8 hardware cloth that will form the screened bottom. The hardware cloth comes in 36″ wide, and my hive is 41 1/2″ long on the inside. To save on how much I will need, I made the braces 3 1/2″ wide. That means that the hardware cloth will only have to cover a length of 34 1/2″. This way I can buy just 2 or 3 linear feet of the cloth for both hives.
I took a holiday yesterday, and so I had time to paint the hives. I picked up some paint from the “oops” pile at my local Lowes (the paint that was tinted incorrectly and such). They had some strange colors, but I found some nice exterior paint that was a light tan color. I figured it would work just fine and as able to get a gallon of Lowes top end paint for about 40% of the normal cost. It ended up that I didn’t need anywhere near a gallon (I put on two coats, and still didn’t even use a quarter of it).
I stood the hives on end to paint them, giving them two coats with a light sanding in between. As is normal for hives, the interior is left unpainted. I did take some extra time though to make sure that the edges of the plywood were painted well. I think the exposed edges are the most likely place to take in water and damage the plywood if unpainted. I was able to finish all the painting yesterday.
Today, I finished some additional work and reassembled the hives. Everything on the outside is now completely done, with only a couple simple finishing touched for the inside. I forgot to take pictures though, so you will have to wait for tomorrow at least to see. I’ll also explain the things I finished today.