Hi all, im from new hampshire usa and i installed my flow super last week. I noticed today that the wood is swelling and warping around the joints and there are cracks on all four sides. Also the swelling has caused the removable viewing and extracting panels to bind up. I sanded those a little more but im more concered about the cracks. Is this common?
Hiya Dan, I just removed my Flow super and noticed a split in the wood on the viewing side which goes through to the other side and is about 1mm wide. It wasn’t there when I put it on. After a bit of rain the back window was very tight also. I put it down to the fact that it’s wood and wood will swell and contract. I did think that cedar was less susceptible to this but I’m not a woodworker so what would I know? My question is how to fix? I know the bees will propolized the inside but the outside?
Is it common? Due to the founding box complaints seen on this forum with poor quality boxes I’d say it’s probably not uncommon.
Not so many complaints with the following boxes from what I’ve read and experienced.
The original box suppliers to Flow, Bee Thinking is now closing shop.
I reckon the cedar is a bit splitty generally. If you get the flow super off over winter you could try to fix it. What I would do would be to lay the split side down horizontally (no need to dismantle the box) and squeeze in some external cross-linking PVA glue into the crack (do it a few times, rubbing the glue in with your finger) and quickly wipe away the excess with a wet rag. If you have some clamps, you could clamp carefully (use chocks of wood against the clamp ends so you don’t bruise the timber) and that will bring the crack together whilst the glue dries. No need to bother with clamps if you don’t have them. Put some masking tape over the other side to stop the glue running right through. Not sure if you have put anything on the wood but if you search “tung oil” on the forum you will find out about that. Tung oil is microporous but would probably help stop the swelling issue. If the joints are tight and swell you are almost certainly going to get splitting. If you haven’t used tung oil, the main thing with it is to cut it 50/50 with food grade citrus solvent with at least the first coat. If you have already oiled it, and the oil has deeply penetrated the wood, the glue may not work so well.
have you painted or treated the wood with tung oil? If it’s not protected it will likely swell, warp and split.
Yes i treated it with three coats of all weather non toxic sealer.
I would be concerned that your sealer hasn’t sealed the wood if it is showing all these issues after only one week. My hives are wax dipped and have been out in the weather for 8 months now and have no real issues.
As for the windows swelling tight shut: I accidentally left the window cover off the hive one evening and by the morning it had swollen enough that it would no longer fit back in place- I left it in the sun for a few hours and it shrunk back down.
Dan old boy (or young boy),
A couple good pix’s would help us give you a better answer … I live over here in wet, damp, rainy Western Washington. My Flow-hive back door swells at times also. I used a wood rasp to reduce sticking most not not all the time. Around here atmospheric moisture going from kind of dry to soaking WET in few hours. I don’t sweat the small stuff. I just keep a small old flat blade screwdriver handy to ply when the back doors fingers swell too much. Not a big deal !
Unfortunately it is the nature of all woods to shrink, swell, twist n warp. I have a small wood shop n store my more expensive woods at a certain humidity. The bummer is our pine n cedar hives are out in the full envirment 24/7 n 365 days a year. Also our bees give off humidity inside as well. That’s a tough one for most woods. Some of the hive bodies I make personally I glue 3 or 4"
wide pieces to get the width … That often helps with the warping but not swelling n shrinkage. Each Flow-hive cedar board is cut from different section n part of the log thus some have more problems with cracking n warping. thats the nature of woods. Guess I’m lucky so far. Four of my 8 hives are cedar… It’s rot resistant n light for this old bugger to lift n move without killing my back.
“If” cracking (others have given good suggestion already). occurs or knots get loss you might try a good CA epoxy glue. I turn woods on a lathe with check, knots n few cracks as well as bad/soft spots. I’d try a CA product but apply from the inside as the outer Tung or paint is on the outer side of your hive boards. Here couple pics of the glue n bowls I have turned. This special CA hold n supports longer life to board. I’ve treated all my Flow-hive knots with this. I’m
lucky as so far I have had only minimum warping n cracking in my second season here.
Dan ! Hope my thots help a little. Ohh ! Still post us a few good pics. (Close up n full) so we can see n check !
Good luck n happy beekeeping.
Hi Gerald, being a wood man, thought you might be interested in this E Saligna (Sydney Blue Gum) baby. Had to cut it down (grew it from seed )as it was encroaching on our internet satellite path. I am going to try and mill with chainsaw first into 480mm(12") billets 3000mm long and resaw with my new bandsaw. Some facts The cut section you see is 78mm(about31") across and nearly 2400mm round. at the 9 m mark it is still 75mm After the 9m mark will go to firewood.
Oh and it was 30 m high from lea
Intend to make furniture with it in about 2-3 yrs time after air drying.
Edit: Off topic I know, please be gentle.
You must have big inches in Australia! In the US, 12" is approximately 305mm.
Dawn’s observation aside that’s going to be some nice Sweet gum planks ️ You have a log chainsaw guide or do by eyeball ??!
The bandsaw ought to get it down to more workable sizes. I’ve also got a planer that can handle wood/planks several inches thick n 13" plus wide. Wish I had a log of that. Might even build a few hives boxes out of it too (see … We’re back on subject bro) !! . As you work thru the project send me some pix’s. Love to see. But in private message n maybe open for Sawn to see. That way she knows we’re doing the inches right !! .
Thanks for that off subject inclusion !! We having fun yet ?!
Cheers bro !
P.S. Here’s some pix’s of some native wild cherry wood I need to get ready to turn in my small wood lathe:
Oh you are so right.
Good stuff Wilfred and Gerald. Here in Tassie we have a couple of very rare timbers. Certainly in the past used for bee stuff. King Billy Pine is excellent for frames and Huon Pine for boxes would be hard to beat. Huon Pine trees are the world’s oldest clonal tree. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/the-oldest-tree/news-story/16e5f9dd65ded005122d725ef2c12b00?nk=0ce799314817
Thanks ! That was an interesting READ !
Buy yourself a ripping chain, it will greatly speed up the task. I just squared up a couple of eastern white pine logs and the ripping chain cuts much faster than the standard chain. Locally I was able to get it for roughly double the price of a standard chain.
Yes I’m tossing up with buying a rip chain or just filing the teeth pretty square.
Weight is my problem where a 3m butt by my calculations weighs in at about 10,000 Kg or 10 ton (I’ll do the maths again cause that is heavy) so all chain saw ripping probably will be done where the tree lies.
That is a very big “butt”!!!