With my Winter Work List (not so well) underway I’ve decided to do a short series on hive joinery. I’ll start with what is probably considered the most popular joint that you see. The “Box Tail Joint”, this is the joint you see used in mass produced hive bodies. Box tails are basically just interlocking square cutouts in your stock. This gives you very good glue contact and a place to nail or screw in both directions.
It can be replicated in a home shop with either a table saw, router, or with hand tools. The table saw will need some sort of “box joint jig” and most of the time a dado blade is used. A dado blade is either a stack of blades and chippers that make the blade much wider or a wobble blade. Both would be equally effective in producing this joint.
With a router you would most likely also use a jig of some sort. You would use a straight router bit whatever size you choose. Most of the time the box tails are 3/4″ on bee hives.
My favorite method is also probably the slowest. That is using hand tools. You will need a back saw, a coping saw, and a few chisels for clean up work. With this method you simply layout your joinery, then cut down the straight lines with your back saw then either remove the waste with your coping saw or chisels. If you intend to remove waste with your coping saw you will still need your chisels to clean up down to your marks.
Most mass produced hive are probably cut out on a CNC of some sort. I would love to have one of these machines but most of them are unattainable unless your budget is limitless. I would then have to learn to operate it.
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