So many people have asked me how I make my hive stands I decided to share it with you. It may be a bit technical in places but doesn’t worry; I always like to make things easy to understand as we go along.
The hive stand will look good when supporting your standard boxy shaped Bee Hive. Now to keep things really simple, I will share how I do it, like as though I was talking to adults and not preschoolers like some other champions of ‘How to build a nuclear PowerStation in your spare time from fourteen easy to find tax concessions’.
Instead of listing various tools, I might suggest you use tools that you have, or can get off a mate. If you don’t know how to use a particular tool, then use a tool you are more familiar with. Please observe safety as missing limbs half way through a build can seriously dampen your spirit. You can use hand held tool, or some power tools. Being a clever know-all I used lots of power tools and made so much noise the neighbours called the police and gave up by confessing for all his crimes. (not quite true, but that is another story)
I would focus on measuring things to get lengths right, and cutting things for, well, cutting things. Glue, screws and nails may also come in handy.
For this super hive stand I am going to suggest we make four legs about 16 to 18 inches long. I made mine with 10 degree slopes so the legs are splayed out a little to enhance the safety. Centre of gravity and all that. In the illustrations, I have used wood, but metal is good too. Plastics not so good, Carbon Fibre is excellent and will cost you three times the value of the hive, per leg.
You will need a bracing part for each leg if like me, you are using wood. I made mine about six inches on the longest length. If you want to be exact for the weight of the hive, you might use part of this formula:-
R=concentrated load of reaction, kip (kN)
tw = web thickness, in (mm)
N=length of bearing, in (mm), (for end reaction, not less than k)
K=distance, in (mm), from outer face of flange to web toe of fillet
These fill in the 10 degree triangular gap at the top of the leg that the Bracing parts will adhere to (see fig 3). These are no deeper than the support ring that we will build later so take care to cut to size. Best left until you need them.
The ring is square for two main reasons:-
1: The shape fits the base of the hive and that is square, and probably 18 inches on a side.
2: It is easier to make a wooden square than a wooden ring. As I am using wood, I went for this in a big way.
You will see from the pictures my ring parts are half the width of the legs. The pattern detail on the wood allows rain to travel down the leg easier in inclement weather. When it is dry and sunny, lost bees that have had too much nectar can climb the legs to get home, where they might rest, take a nap and generally chill. I like to do good things for my bees so this is a welcome feature.
A shim needs to be placed on the outer slope side of each leg and at the top of the leg. Placing the shim anywhere else will only degrade the build quality. This shim takes into account the slope angle. If you chose a different angle than me, then you need to cut shims to match the angle you used. As a guide, the top of the leg should stay flat across the top of the shim. If you create a hill or a valley when you mate them together, you’re doing it wrong.
The two above views show how the leg top corner is created. Also this shows the need for the shim, without the shim the support bracket would not be attached to very much at the top of the leg and unlike other professions, welding wood together needs all the touching parts to actually touch. I used glue and screws when I made my legs. I also sanded all the splinter jabbers off so that I did not get splinters jabbing into my fingers. If you are technically minded, you might consider pre-drilling some parts before final assembly, I did and it sure worked well for me. If some parts split when you put the screws in, consider pre-drilling the next ones you make as it can be time consuming bodging around instead of actually assembling the hive stand we are making.
There are many ways you can make the support ring. The overall lengths, including any joints you make need to be the same size as the base of your hive. Please do not get the two sides of some rulers mixed up. Measuring a hive of 18 inches wide by 18 inches long will not work if you cut your ring pieces to 18 centimetres It is only a small difference, but the lack of fit may cause confusion later. I used a box joint in the above illustration, but you are free to use mortise and tennon, dovetails, dowel pins or hidden biscuits. As well as gluing, I used a securing nail to hold things in place while the glue tried.
I assembled my hive stand by inserting a leg into each corner. You will find you have two left legs and two right legs so it makes it easier to build. If you have legs left over at the end of the build, either you made too many or you have not attached all four legs, one in each corner of the support ring. Make sure you get the tops of the legs at the right end or your build will feel less secure and may be prone to falling over when you install your hive onto the hive stand. Believe me, a hive full of bees falling onto the floor from eighteen inches gets pretty messy and your bees may get somewhat prissy and become liable to sting you a great deal. If this happens, run away fast and explain to others if they watch the bees, to call you when they have settled down a bit.
Finishing the build:
To finish the build, I paint the stand with a waterproof paint that is bee friendly. I know bees ‘see’ things in different colours to what we are used too, and as such, red is of little value. Pick colours the bees can recognise to stop them drifting between hives. I used a water based paint from my local DIY store. I also used a paintbrush as you see in the picture, but you could have used a sponge or if your a little younger, finger painting is pretty good fun. A spray gun works as does a dipping bath with an overhead gantry and hoist. I will not limit your tool use, but practicality is the issue when painting your hive stand.
That is all there is too it really, you can change the legs to straight up and down if you want to , or you could use metal legs and sink them into concrete if you want the stand to withstand bear attacks in the winter or drunk cyclists wandering into them in the dark.
You might add warnings to the hive stand saying something like ‘Caution Bees’ if it enhances your perception of the world in which you live.
That is all from me for now, remember I’m not an expert so DO try this at home.