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Brood Box Panels Not Flush Together


I have to agree. The use of clamps really helps making beeboxes. Jigs are the best of course, but clamps are the way to go for the hobby beekeeper.

If you are using clamps what works well for me is to alternate sides. One or two finger joints on one corner and then one or two finger joints on the other corner. It helps draw everything down.


All you need is one pipe sash clamp. Clamp it together, nail/screw one end, move the clamp to the other end, nail/screw. Repeat the process for the opposite side. The remaining 2 sides don’t require clamping because of the nails/screws holding it tight.


I have some unmade boxes if anyone wants to see it done.


Video, please!!! :sunglasses:


I think Jeff deserves a gold star for all the videos he’s posted here.
I think the one where he is making a split as pre-emptive swarm control is excellent.
All beginners should bookmark it so that they can see how strong a colony should be before you split it. You shouldn’t be able to see the frames for bees :slightly_smiling:


Many thanks @Dee & @Dawn_SD, no problems. It’s all ready to go first thing in the morning. take care, bye


That is more or less what I said in another thread (on glove colour), so I agree with you!



Hi Dawn, thanks again for requesting my bee box assembling video, although I’m not assembling a dovetailed box, I think I’ve addressed the issues associated with dovetail boxes.cheers.


Hi Jeff, another fantastic video, thank you!

You and Wilma are superstars, and very good at sharing your knowledge. I love your pipe clamp, did you make it? I haven’t seen anything like that in the US - it looks VERY sturdy. I am interested that you don’t need to check the squareness of the corners - I have found that finger (dovetail) joint will “parallelogram” quite easily, so I have to check before I nail or screw the corners together. Maybe your pipe clamp overcomes that issue if it has very long “jaws”. I like the plywood strip/sheet idea too - nice to prevent floor scrapes and clamp marks on the boxes.

Two more things I wanted to ask about. First your patching looks like a work of art. You need a prize for sustainability! How long does it take you to patch a box in bad shape? We live in such a throw-away society, I love to see that craftsmanship in rescuing things.

Second, the copper naphthanate. I have read that boxes treated with this chemical have high levels of copper in the honey. http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf1984/kalni84a.pdf No convincing direct evidence of harm to the bees, but copper can be toxic to many organisms (including wood rot, as intended!) in high enough doses. Do you paint the inside of your boxes to seal it in? If so, what kind of paint do you use?

I really hope that you and Wilma keep bees and post about your experience for another 30 years, as you mention in this video. Very nicely done, thank you for taking the time to share with us.



Hi Dawn, I guess it’s all relative but in that study, the levels of copper were not that much above levels in untreated hives. Here’s a relevant quote from the conclusion… “Protection of wooden beehive parts without detrimental effects on bees, honey, and wax should result from treatment with copper naphthenate, ACC, and copper 8-quinolinolate.”

Copper is one of the more common elements in nature, averaging around 60 parts per million in the Earth’s crust. Even when it was at its highest concentration according to that linked study, the copper in the beeswax was still around 200 time less than its natural abundance.

I have temporarily stopped using copper naphthenate as a treatment but only because I’m not organised enough to set up somewhere to store the treated timber for a couple of months while the very smelly oil dries out.


Well, we are all stardust, I suppose! :wink: (Obscure reference to that concept that certain atoms require the generation and destruction of a star to form. The smaller the star, the lower atomic mass elements it can form, so some of our planet probably came from the dust of very big stars indeed! ).

I am thinking of prepping some nucleus boxes after watching Jeff’s swarm capture videos, and the only ones I can get here are pine. We have a lot of termites, so dipping in copper naphthanate would be very useful. I might do it this year, and let them dry out for next year. I could let them dry at the back of the house - might even get the roach numbers down!!! :sunglasses:



It looks like the fingers of the joint are just a touch too tight. Get some sand paper and gently sand the area inside the fingers until they snugly slip together. You don’t want to over do it. The panel does not look warped, so it seems to me that it is just a bit too tight.


Hi Dawn, thank you:) It takes me on the average of about 3 hours per hive to fix them up. I know it’s not good economics. I can’t help myself. I’m only making $8.00 an hour for my effort. I think it’s part of my self (& Wilma’s) diagnosed OCD.
Yes I paint the inside of the boxes with 2 coats of water based paint.
I say that 30 year bit jokingly, knowing that in 30 years I’ll be 98:)


One year older than Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey - maybe learning from bees helps us live longer!

I truly hope that you have a healthy and active life for the next 30 years. We could all benefit from continuing to learn from you.




PS, the pipe sash clamp is one of the types of sash clamps you can buy. One end fits over standard water pipe thread for that size pipe. Any other type of sash clamp would do as long as it has long enough jaws to over ride the possibility of the dovetails sticking out past the hive body which appears to be the case on some of the photos I’ve seen.



Because you have used screws there is a good chance the screws will track back into the same holes. So that being said if you are in a warm area right now and the bees are working hard i wouldn’t be too concerned, they will likely plug all the holes with propolis. Just remember for next time the get it nice and snug before using the nails or screws. No biggie though.


Many thanks Dawn, I hope the same thing for you:) I recall hearing of that bloke over the years. I heard something I thought was funny a while back. We got a new honey customer. Apparently the previous beekeeper had to give it up because he went into a nursing home. If you rule out any sudden illness & rule in normal ageing, with normal ageing, that means you can keep bees until such time you have to go into care.


Hi Dawn, PS again, the bees have kind of kept me pretty busy of late, however within the next 30 years I might try & fit a bit more of this in between working the bees. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb9Y8VAps0Y, when the weather cools down a bit.


Nice looking catch! I never could get into that - I have horrendous motion sickness. :cold_sweat:



Thanks Dawn, I had to walk away, I was getting a bit like that myself with my new glasses that have graduated lenses with typing & watching my video a couple of times. I’m slowly getting used to the glasses. When I first get them, the keyboard used to rock around like a boat. I have to watch it as I’m typing. I should have learned typing when I was younger, so I can look at the screen & not the keyboard.
There’s some nice rain today & all last night, just what the doctor ordered. cheers