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Some thoughts on Poor Joints


On the subject of “poor joints”. Yesterday I saw the worst example of poor joints I would ever wish to see. A lady bought an original flow hive, still in box. She had a lot of trouble getting the joints together. After a lot of gouging & apparently swearing, the lady got the hive assembled. However you can see large gaps where the joints didn’t come together, also the ends & sides don’t line up properly.

@Faroe, would it be any use in me phoning the lady to suggest she disassemble the box so she can send it back to flow to get it fixed or replaced? She lives near Gympie. cheers


Hi Jeff,

Sorry to hear that. Doesn’t sound like to much fun.

The best thing for this lady would be to take some photos and send them to customer service with her email address or order number so that we can look into the issue for her.

It could indeed be a manufacturing fault. Or it could be a case of swelling timber over the last 3 years, which required some sanding to get the pieces to fit.

For any manufacturing issues etc, it is best to email customer service straight away so we can look into the problem and organise replacements etc if necessary.

Please get her to email us info@honeyflow.com or through our contact page:


Thanks Faroe, we’ll phone this morning to let her know. cheers.


for what it’s worth- there were some issues on the original hives from BeeThinking in the USA. We had one of theirs and it was quite good- a few gaps- but it went together OK and has held up fine. But not perfect. the Flow Made Australian hives are absolutely 100% perfect- laser cut to exact tolerances. Assembly is a breeze.


I bought a few monterey pine “ideal” boxes to go above the Flow super but was disappointed to find they had slightly shorter end pieces - at the bottom of the ends. Necessitated a tape up on each end to keep the cold winds out. I didn’t realise the gap was so big until recently…the bees hadn’t propolised it fully and I could see them wandering around in the hive through the gap. I need a jack plane I guess to plane them off but tricky with the sides glued and screwed on.


I have huge issues with the pine and cedar versions of the flow hives. You can’t put a cedar roof on a pine inner cover, and even if you shave that down, the cedar roof still doesn’t fit on the pine super.
Nothing is interchangeable.
I run 12 flow hives, prefer cedar, but had to get pine occasionally because cedar wasn’t available.
I heard my new flow hive 2 isn’t compatible with the other pine and cedar hives. Just had it delivered, so can’t confirm yet.
That’s just really upsetting and bugged me for months.
Wonder why they weren’t built to fit each other from the outset.


Is the timber thickness different?


Yes, the cedar is a bit thinner.


Hi Dan, The sizing standard can differ from company to company, mainly due to differences in timber thickness, the Australian Langstroth is generally a few mm smaller as well. Once the bees have propolised there shouldn’t be an issue. It is best to centre the box so that the overhang is evened out around the perimeter. With the propolis being in place, separation of the boxes will disturb the seal, however it will provide some stick when placed back in position.


I think the cedar is 3/4 inch (19mm)- and the hoop 21mm. And yes- the hoop pine roof won’t fit over the cedar inner cover. But for what it’s worth- I really, really like the hoop pine- 2mm may no seem like much but the whole hive is that much more solid- and the build quality is really great. The cedar hives do look lovely though and are very light to lift. In the future if I buy more flow hives I think they will all be hoop pine.


Hi Kieran
Sorry somehow there has been a misunderstanding on my issue. The Flow box is perfect in relation to the height of the sides, it is the “ideal” box (not made by Flow) that has small ends on it. The sides are taller on those ideal boxes than the ends of them.
Actually managed to buy two ideal boxes like that unfortunately. Thanks all the same for your attention. Flow after sales service seems second to none.


The lighter weight is certainly one of my considerations. I also like that cedar can be painted with tung oil and keeps looking great. The timber smells good and the bees seem to do better in cedar hives.
I get mould under the pine roofs, never under cedar. No idea why that is.

I’m currently battling with a cedar roof not fitting on top of a pine box. Might have to shave some width off the top of the pine box walls, which will destroy the paint seal.
A pine roof on top of cedar boxes works fine.
I just wish all flow hive parts were interchangeable.

Last year I ran into trouble doing a split, finding the roof didn’t fit just after transferring all the bees.


Firstly I would like to say thank you very much for sharing your experience of using multiple Flow Hives with us.

I am sorry to hear that this issue has been bothering you for some time, and it’s important to us that we have the opportunity to respond to your concerns. We do genuinely appreciate customer feedback and are grateful that you have reached out in regard to this.

I can understand your frustration around the interchangeability of the hives, and I would like to acknowledge how much it means that despite this you have continued to support us by using Flow Hives in your apiary.

It is unfortunate that some of our timber products are not interchangeable, this is the result of many factors, mostly as a consequence of using different manufacturers and timber availability.

You are correct in that you will find the Flow Hive 2 roof cannot be used with our original Flow Hives as it has a different key access cover and design. The Flow Hive 2 is our first foray into in-house timber manufacturing and we do hope that we can now address issues such as sizing for all future products.

We do apologise if this causes any inconveniences, however, given the complexities of the design and manufacturing process it was found to be essential in order to improve and advance the design of the Flow Hive.

I really hope this information helps to answer some of your own concerns, and any others in this thread. Please know that we are here to help, and really value your experience with us. We are always hoping to improve our products and service and take our customers feedback very seriously.

Thank you again for reaching out to us, and please feel free to continue this conversation by contacting us on info@honeyflow.com. Wishing you a lovely day.


Hi Kieran,
I thought as much, that’s why you never heard a complaint. So cool that now the hives are entirely manufactured here in Australia. The flow company had to grow so fast, it’s a miracle how far it has come.
The flow hive 2 is perfect. Everything fits so neatly and even tools are supplied. Reminded me a bit of ikea, except the flow hive is packed with more thought and consideration.
In Hawai’i we would say it’s packed with aloha. In Byron we say it’s packed with love.
Thanks for a beautiful product.


Cedar would also be my preference for the same reasons: but I have a hot wax dipper so the tung oil is out. I do love how light the cedar is and it looks fantastic. But the hoop pine is such nice timber and takes to dipping well. Oddly Cedar reacts very differently when you wax dip it and absorbs a large amount of wax. When I dipped my brothers hive and weighed it before and after it had absorbed 300 grams of wax. Unlike pine the cedar feels waxy and slick after dipping with wax oozing out of every pore. It looks stunning though- the wax darkens the wood and brings out the grain even more. Pine strangely absorbs the wax right in but the surface is left feeling dry- though water just runs right off it.

My mum just received her latest Flow Hive 2- I’ll be assembling and wax dipping it soon. Keen to see how it differs from the original cedar hives.


Love the idea of wax dipping the pine hives. That may even change my mind. The water based sealer/undercoat with water based house paint is an option for the pine, but always only as good as the paint.
The wax does for the pine as the tung oil does for the cedar.
I found you really have to work that tung oil, thinning 50% with citrus terpene and applying about 10 layers, letting it dry well, sanding lightly, and apply more until a complete shiny seal is achieved. You could float that hive like Noah’s ark. It also hardens the timber.
Thanks for sharing your experience of wax dipping pine and cedar. I always wondered how cedar would do with that.
Congrats to your mum to her flow 2. She will be delighted.
(I wouldn’t let my sons assemble mine. Assembly is half the fun.)


It so interesting to hear the differences you have experienced with the wood types and your Flow hives :slight_smile:


I would consider dipping your hive for you if you posted it to me. My dipper is ‘shallow fry’ so I can only dip one side at a time and it takes about 40 minutes to treat an entire assembled box. But I can do two at a time. I use only genuine bees wax and gum rosin. Another option would be to see if you can find any commercial apiarists that can do it- though I tried that in SA and had no luck at all. In the USA I have seen people who advertise a dipping service- that is very affordable.

I am also using standard hives that come from Victoria already dipped- they are really brilliant hives- very thick pine timber and very robust- they have all rounded corners for ease of handling. they are no-nonsense commercial hives and quite affordable. They can be had waxed or waxed and painted.

I have been wondering about possibly treating my already dipped hives with a light coat of tung oil every year or three. Not sure if it is necessary but thinking it may prolong their life even more.

the gold standard would be dipped and then painted- but I can’t really do that with my dipper as the hive needs to be painted when hot- and my shallow fryer does not allow me to have the entire box hot enough at once to paint.


Wow, thanks @Semaphore. My pine hives are already painted. But when we go for a drive down south, I could bring an unassembled box and we could do it together?
You could wipe your wax dipped hives with a tung oiled cloth once in a while, like using a furniture polish. That could work well.
I assume the wax has soaked the timber on the inside? The tung oil could really keep it sealed in and forever nice and fresh looking.
That’s what happens with tung oil on previously untreated cedar if it’s thinned down enough. I find it hardens the cedar and makes it flexible at the same time. Mind you, I apply about 10 coats and sand in between and once the cedar is saturated, it finally leaves a shiny film, like lacquer.
I find I didn’t apply tung oil often enough on my first hives. Working with it so much has taught me how best to handle it.
It’s good to know that in the past tung oil was used to waterproof ships. That fact made me change the way I used it.
Also good to know that it must be 100% tung oil, not any mixture. Linseed oil will mould.
I think pine is not porous enough to let the tung oil in. I won’t even try it.
Oh, I love my cedar hives,


Hello there, it’s possible- but we’d have to arrange it well ahead of time- as I only fire up the dipper every so often when I have a batch of things to do. It takes over an hour just to get it up to temp. The wax penetrates the wood 100%- it actually boils out the moisture in the wood- and then the wax is sucked in and replaces it. The temp of the wax is around 140c- it has to be to boil the water out of the wood. It’s quite an amazing process- you can see the water foaming out of the wood and then when you remove it from the wax you can watch as the wax on the surface is literally sucked back into the timber. Afterwards water just runs off the surface even though it feels dry and not really waxy. I have cut through timer that’s been dipped and the wax goes right through it. that’s what’s so good about wax dipping. Also the gum resin makes the wood harder and smells amazing- I think it has antibacterial and antifungal properties too.

We treated my mums hive with pure tung l before I built my dipper and as you say it works a treat- that hive is holding up well- except for the roof which copped a beating- so I took it off and wax dipped it. I was actually able to paint that too while hot and it is now very robust. I also added more screws and insulated it. I figure her hive is about due for another oiling.

I do plan to do some more wax dipping in around a few months or so- once I have built of a lot of hives that I have in parts at the moment. I actually dip the boxes assembled- one side at a time. The commercial people use huge dippers that can fit complete boxes in one dip but you need 100’s of kilos of wax. they use paraffin instead of bees wax- and microcrsytaline wax instead of rosin. My dipper only needs about 15kg’s of wax- though I have to keep topping it up. Mine has elements int he wax- no flame- the commercial people use gas-flame which is a bit iffy with all that boiling wax above it! Still- I’m not 100% sure my dipper is totally safe! But I don’t worry too much…

At some point I plan to make a thread here about my dipper how I built it out of a cheap chinese chip fryer.