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Homemade comb guide

Found an old 2mm sheet of timber (plywood?). It has 3 layers and some parts are coming apart. Got my friend to cut me strips to use as comb guides. Before I put it into the brood and honey boxes, thought I get some opinion if it’s ok to use old wood.

Should be fine. I might glue it back together with some PVA glue first, clamping it tightly for up to 24 hours. It would last longer then. :blush:

As @Dawn_SD says and I agree, you can use PVA glue to rejoin it back together if you really want to go foundationless, but a better option would be to glue in, or wax in, strips of foundation wax. But you can still have issues with wonky comb even if you use a spirit level to make sure the hive is dead flat.
Yes, I have been there and tried that, but for me the best way of having comb made with no hassles is by using a full sheet of foundation and wiring it in.

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Next spring I will be using foundation. Right now trying out foundationless plus hoping to get excess honeycomb. Next year will be flow super for both my hives. :smile:

Bees always prefer old wood. But it’s ok to use new wood if you don’t have old wood. :slight_smile:

I googled plywood and apparently the glue has formaldehyde. I am guessing since the layers are coming apart, the glue must have disintegrated (not sure it’s the right word) and less toxic now?

Nice upcycling.


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I think wood comb guides make great garden markers, frame spacers before transporting nucs, smoker fuel or fire kindling. Like @Peter48, I prefer properly fitted full sheets of wax foundation.

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Formaldehyde was used in the glue for ply wood but I think that is now obsolete. Maybe a year ago I emailed a plywood manufacturer in Australia and asked and explained what I wanted to use the plywood for but of course, no reply received.

I do like real wood, but my covers and bottoms are mostly plywood. They don’t make boards wide enough… I don’t think they use formaldehyde anymore in the glue. There was a lot of flack back 20 or so years ago about all the chemicals in new buildings.

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Thank you everyone for your replies. I will use it for a few frames. I will be trying out foundation as well. Being a newbee, I thought I get a feel on the different frames. Maximising honey is not my main objective at the moment. Learning and experimenting. Early next year going to do a vertical split to raise a new queen. Current one is almost 3yo and slowing down. That should be exciting. :smile:

I don’t know if you can buy it in the US but Weathertex is great from a replacement for ply wood for base board and roofs. I have been using it for well over 10 years with no issues in any way and the price is good. I changed to that as a replacement for ply wood, even when painted the glue would break down and de-laminate.