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Brood box defects

I have one of those $50 Flow laser cut pine brood boxes I was assembling. Most of the finger joints have gaps on them, of 1mm or so. There is also a crack on the side of the timber.

Is this normal? Should I fill with caulk before I paint or shall I leave it to the bees to propolise? For a $50 pine box I was expecting better, to be honest.

I don’t want to replace it, I want to fix it otherwise it will go to waste.


Take some inspiration from @JeffH

But given it’s not in service, best to fix it before you do. The bees will do the rest…

I reckon it’s reasonable to account for some splitting, as wood naturally has a grain, and once a crack starts, it will propagate… but it’s usually more so because of a tighter/incorrect fit (opposite of your case)…

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Oh wow. Thanks Fred for that thread. You must have an encyclopaedic index of this forum!!!

The fit was not very tight and the crack was pre existing, I just made it a bit worse when I tapped the sides in.

Yeah, I’ll fill those gaps in then. Is there a particular product which is suitable for this task, or any exterior grade filler will do? I do have Weatherboard No More Gaps.

You should sent photos to Flow regardless of what you decide.
Those gaps are way out and not good enough for Laser cut joints. I know there should be a little wiggle room to take into account moisture absorption by the wood but that is very poor.
If you are worried about the crack get some wood glue and force it into the crack with a metal spatula or back of a chisel and let it dry overnight.

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That brood box is probably the best Flow box I have. I have a two original (not laser cut) Flow hives and they were a nightmare. One box was twisted no matter how I assembled it - I eventually placed 50kg of weight on it, and after about 4 months it came rightish. I had one bottom board with one side higher than the others. I had another brood box with one side shorter. And one roof that didn’t fit properly.

The irony is that I bought a couple of brood boxes for just $22, made in Vietnam, and are excellent. They have dove tail joints, not loose finger joints.

I would definitely send those pics to Flow Hive, that is simply not good enough quality for the price.
What I would do is fill the gaps with Aquadhere and along the split as well. Give it 24 hours to dry or a bit more if needed then paint it. When I am assembling boxes I use Aquadhere as well as nailing to reduce warping and seal the joints from water seeping into the joints and promoting the timber to rot.
Cheers

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Yes I already glued those gaps Pete, but they are quite wide and Aquadhere or similar glues won’t fill large gaps. I think I have to use builder’s bog or No More Gaps.

I’ll fix her up this weekend.

@Freebee2 can have a look at the photos and pass them on to Flow. Below is the batch number, so they can have a word with the quality control guy for that shift. haha.

To be honest I can’t be bothered with replacements. It is just too much hassle, and worst of all, waste of resources and time.

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No more gaps is a good option, anything that doesn’t have silicone in it as paint won’t stick to it.

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I use simple exterior grade wood filler (the stuff that dries hard and can be sanded). I have used it to fill knots and splits. It works well and hardly shows even with just Tung Oil sealing. Seems to last nicely too.

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Great Dawn. I have some of that in the man cave. That’s easier to use and less messy.

Hi @Numbatino

I looked up that batch number and that box is from quite an old batch. Would you mind sending me your email address and/or order number via PM so I can investigate for you?

Apologies for any inconvenience. However, we would be very happy to replace that component if it arrived with a crack in it.

We are as keen as you are to minimise the environmental impact, but if it splits further (which is likely once you have a split like that) it will be very difficult to change it once the brood box is occupied by a load of busy bees.

This forum is of course really for sharing bee knowledge rather than addressing the issue of a damaged component. However, I’ll be very happy to pass the info on for you and follow through on your query once you PM me with a little more information.

You could also contact our lovely customer support team directly via info@honeyflow.com for assistance.

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Thanks Freebee. That was sent to me not too long ago. I’ll PM you.

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I know it’s a disappointment that it’s cracked but it’s mother natures wood. The other I’m sure FH will deal with. Frankly, all the manufactures need improvement. FH is still putting out higher grade bee hives. I purchased a premium grade brood box from a reputable company and it was rough, very rough.

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@Numbatino Correction on my post yesterday, I meant to say do not use any filler that has silicone in it as it will repel paint.
I hope Flow Hive do the right thing by you as their boxes are laser cut so should be a perfect fit and should be a premium product.
Cheers

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Ditto on the silicone. I find Plastibond to be pretty good.

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Yes Pete, I hate silicone. The No More Gaps stuff is acrylic, stays flexible if there is joint movement, and paintable. It doesn’t sand well though.

I used that Plastibond bog before @JeffH and it is indeed very good. Very expensive and maybe overkill for this particular application?

Yesterday I painted the boxes with undercoat so I can see properly where needs to be filled - and pretty much 90% of all finger joints need filling on this box. It’s quite a workout, and with the screw head protruding it is a pain to sand. I might have to take the screws out, fill and sand, put the screws back in, then paint. Phew…

If I don’t fill these gaps properly, water will penetrate and the box will rot. (I’m not a copper naphthenate fan)

I don’t know why it is that bad… maybe the timber wasn’t dry enough and shrunk by the time I put it together?

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I don’t see Plastibond as overkill. I’ve used it to fill many big gaps in bee boxes. The cost of it has never bothered me. The gaps in your new box can’t be all that bad, surely.

If you’re going to lash out & buy flow hives, the cost of a tin of Plastibond shouldn’t be a problem. Having said that, you shouldn’t need to go out & buy a tin of anything after purchasing a flow hive.

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There seems to be a gap on one side of the finger joints. Not all as bad as the photos but just wide enough for moisture to get in. I might as well fix them right?

When I used the Plasibond I found it better suited for larger holes and did an excellent durable repair.

If you had a 2" broad knife (paint scraper), you can use that to apply the bog to the small gaps. I forget that I used to be a Gyprock plasterer in a previous life, obviously I use those skills to a certain degree. You can use a piece of flat wood with one straight edge as a hawk.

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our first cedar flow hives (not laser cut- made inthe USA) had some gaps here and there and needed to be coaxed together- but they are still going strong. I put together a new flow hive a month ago- and it was really pretty much 100% perfect. It all went together swimmingly.

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