Beekeeping 101 - Building Your Own Beekeeping Woodenware
In addition to the botany, insect behavior, meteorology, and marketing that beekeepers must understand, they must also be be woodworkers. Competitively priced beekeeping equipment is readily available everywhere within the United States and for the most part is interchangeable.
However, before the days of the big manufacturers beekeepers built their equipment, or they had someone build it for them. Though it can rarely be built more cheaply than it can be purchased it can be a very pleasant part of beekeeping if one has basic woodworking skills and basic tools.
Finger joints are currently the most common and according to some, the strongest joint available. They will require a jig to neatly and precisely cut the slots to line up with the "fingers". Avoiding all this would be simply to use butt joints; two boards are butted together nailed. This type of joint is not strong enough to withstand the rigors of beekeeping.
Two things to keep in mind if you decide to build your own equipment: (1) In all instances, respect "Bee Space" requirements and (2)strongly consider building your equipment to fit standard equipment. The good thing is that the bees are not terribly demanding about how the hive should look or be painted. Keeping bees in hives that you build can give a great sense of satisfaction.
Several states have extension publications that give dimensions for constructing hives. Contact your state specialist for more information. These are also available on several Internet beekeeping sites.