Saturday, November 8, 2014

Build Your Own: 10 Frame Hive Body

Most Canadian beekeeping equipment is in 7/8th pine. This can create problems for us northern beekeepers as we spent time converting existing 3/4 dimensions. These plans are off existing equipment I received from a few different retailers. Consequently, I write down my plans on scrap paper and lose it; therefore I have decided to digitize it for myself and others. Download the Sketchup model: Here

The most economical way to build your own boxes is to purchase 1x12 rough pine. If you purchase it from Home Depot, it will come at an actual 1 inch, therefore you will have to plane one side to 7/8ths. Most of the 1x12 from Home Hardware however comes already jointed one side, and planed to 7/8ths. Currently it is $1.15 a foot, and is sold in 12 foot lengths. Using these plans you should get 2 Deeps out of one 12 foot length @$13.80 (or $6.90 a box).

This method uses rabbit joints and are rather easily accomplished with a table saw, or router.
Click Images to Enlarge.

Keep in mind the sawblade will remove 1/8th on each cut.

Step One 

Start by ripping down the 1x12 to 9 5/8ths. (keep the scrap for other hive projects.)

Step Two 

The next step is to cut our various pieces. This most easily accomplished with a compound sliding mitre saw, however just about any saw will work.

Step Three 

Put the side pieces (19 1/8") away for now. The next part is the most complicated step of the whole project, creating our frame rest and rabbet joints to the box. I would recommend using either a dado blade on a table saw, or a router table. For the sake of simplicity however lets assume you are using a table saw with a regular blade. Set the blade depth to 3/8". Set your fence to 3/4", and double check with a tape measure to ensure that the distance from the fence to the outermost teeth on the saw are at 7/8". If you set the fence to 7/8" your cut will be 1" due to the 1/8" thickness of the saw blade.

Now using our front and back pieces (16 5/8") run both ends through.You should end up with this:

Step Four 

Sandwich the two pieces together to the cuts are facing each other.  Adjust the fence so that 1/2" and confirm that the outside of the saw blade is at 5/8".This cut is very important.

Step Five 

Set your saw blade depth to 7/8" and your fence to 1/4 (confirm the outside edge of the blade is 3/8"). Run the ends off. Repeat setting the blade depth to 5/8". You will end up with this:


Step Six

Your box is basically done. The only thing left is handles. There are multiple styles of handles are are there ways to do it. Because of that reason I am going to leave handles out of this tutorial, as a quick internet search will yield you results. I did however mark the location on the main plan. Once you have handles completed all that is left is to assemble. Enjoy.


  1. Nice work Andrew. I'll be using these plans to build more bodies this year. My plans called to make rabbet cuts on the long side also but your plan is going to be faster and just as strong. Thanks for the extra time I'll be saving.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it. I prefer making all the rabbets on one side, if you mess it up its only one piece!