Beehives - Coe Bee Farm #1: Beehives #2 and #3

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Blog entry by WeekendWoodworking posted 07-20-2013 11:10 PM 21612 reads 8 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Fellow Woodworkers!!!

Do you know how many parts it takes to make a Beehive? Today I can answer that for you. 233

This winter and spring I had the opportunity to make the 2nd and 3rd sets of beehives for our cousins Pastor David Coe and Joanna Coe. Last year David and Joanna started beekeeping. They purchased their first hive as a kit and David asked me to assist in assembling the hive. David and I learned much about beehives in this process. When complete the Coe Bee Farm was established in the spring of 2012. Due to the excellent bee keeping and care by David and Joanna the first beehive was a huge success! Linda and I enjoyed some of the honey from the first harvest. The honey was wonderful!!! And was consumed quickly! :-)

With the first year success, it was time to expand the number of hives. I volunteered to build the 2nd and 3rd hives for them. Of course IF Weekend Woodworking was to build the next hives, these would have to stand the test of time. My promise to the bees and David and Joanna was over the years, “these two hives will stand the test of time and will be the last to fail or deteriorate.”

Of course a new business needs to have a great logo. So we designed a logo and with David and Joanna’s permission produced the logo with Arty (my CNC machine). The bees seemed to like it!!!!

We have a logo. Now we need more homes for the new bees! So while we learned much from the first kit we assembled, we searched for plans and found the plans we used (for the most part) at We customized some things as well. Like the kit, we chose the 10 Frame Langstroth Beehive boxes and Dadant type frames.

I am fortunate in that I have collected a good set of hand tools, power tools and a couple of years ago invested in a Legacy Woodworking CNC Machine. I have the Arty 36. We call him Arty for short. Arty is teamed up with a Shopsmith Standalone dust collector. Kind of looks like R2D2, wouldn’t you say?

So with Arty now in the mix, I designed plans in the CNC software to build the hanger sides and tops. 400 pieces to make the frame parts for the 2 hives. Arty was a champ as I can’t image cutting out all of those sides on the bandsaw!!! Nice job Arty!

I also programmed Arty to cut the box joints on the 2 sets of boxes. Next time I may do those on the table saw or router table. Perhaps too much engineering to cut simple box joints. On the other hand with Arty, adjusting the cuts for a perfect fit was a simple adjustment in the programming.

Arty was also programmed to cut the handles in ALL the sides of the hives AND to cut the Coe Bee Farm logo on the front of the hives. One cove bit and one straight bit for the top cut on the handles. Very custom. Can’t imagine there are many beehives out there with custom logos engraved in them!!!

Any good home, even for bees, starts with a solid foundation. Here is the base, the parts were made on the table saw. Two features of our base is the moveable filler that slides in and out. This allows for control of air movement through the hive as the weather moves from summer to winter. The hole is covered with screen to keep the BAD creatures out but air flowing. Also notice the front filler has two different size slots to manage traffic of the bees in and out of the hive throughout the season by rotating to the desired width.

Next the boxes are assembled and the beehive tower begins to grow. There are three sizes of boxes, Shallow Super, Medium Super and Deep Hive Body. David and Joanna chose two mediums and two deeps for each set of hives. More bees and more honey that way!!!

Each beehive box holds 10 frames. So with the two new sets, 80 frames were added to the Coe Bee Farm. The frames are sized and constructed to fit the size of the boxes. The frame holds the foundation, this is where the bees will make the honeycombs and the honey.

Next the inner cover and outer cover are built and added. Arty cut the hole for the inner cover. Yes, I just wanted more practice programming and using Arty. The outer cover was made on the table saw.

To complete the roofing for the beehives some tinsmith work.

All of the boxes were glued together with waterproof glue, and from the top and bottom I drilled holes for dowels that would intersect the box joints. These hive boxes are NOT coming apart over time!!!! By the way, I would have rejected the frame top you see here, (must be the furniture maker in me) but David thought it would be a great add for bee traffic inside the hive! :-)

The new home for bees, like any new home needs protection and paint. One coat of primer and 2 coats of the best exterior grade house paint was applied. The HVLP sprayer worked excellent!!! And yes we sprayed latex with the HVLP. I used the medium needle and medium cap for the sprayer and used Floetrol. It worked great and this saved a ton of time. A nice smooth finish to protect the hive from all the elements and seasons on the bee farm!!!

Time for the bees. David and Joanna split the existing hive, added the new queen and the new hive is at last check already flourishing! A little sad news is that they had intended to split their hive which they did AND purchase new bees for the 3rd hive, but a late spring snow killed the shipment of bees coming to the Midwest and it was too late for the supplier to acquire more bees. Here is the article if you are interested.

So for this year the 1st and 2nd hive will just have to be very productive and the 3rd hive is ready for next season.

A couple of pictures of the bee housing contractors.

Pastor Coe

Yours truly! With my favorite bench plane!!!

A few more of my favorite pictures of the project!

Well as they say. “That’s a wrap!” This was a great and rewarding woodworking project. I learned more about Arty and more importantly more about the software “Vectric” used to design and make some of the parts with Arty. It was rewarding to use woodworking tools from the most basic hand plane, to my still relatively new Legacy Woodworking CNC machine (Arty). And I certainly learned a great deal about the construction of beehives. It was also rewarding to help David and Joanne grow their new bee keeping adventure.

If you would like to know more about beekeeping, please let us know. David and Joanne are becoming very skilled beekeepers and David has already been asked many times to make presentations about beekeeping and the serious need to raise the population of bees in the country.

Steve, Linda, and Cousins Pastor David and Joanna.

-- Steve

24 comments so far

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 3614 days

#1 posted 07-20-2013 11:53 PM

well done !


View cdkoch's profile


19 posts in 3525 days

#2 posted 07-21-2013 02:01 AM

Great write-up. Arty looks like “he” was very useful. I haven’t seen many bee hives, but I doubt many are as nice as yours.

View OhioMike's profile


89 posts in 3409 days

#3 posted 07-21-2013 02:45 AM

Great work! The supers look rock-solid and the hand holds nice and deep. I’m sure they’ll last many years.

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8299 posts in 4600 days

#4 posted 07-21-2013 10:56 AM

Beeeeeutiful! Work! Great that you took the time to take and post all the photos here. Nicely done!
Thanks for sharing!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3254 days

#5 posted 07-21-2013 12:11 PM

That’s a sweet project, (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

And just like Pooh Bear… I LOVE honey! :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1130 posts in 4221 days

#6 posted 07-22-2013 01:19 AM

Really enjoyed your post.
I have wanted to get a hive for a corner of the yard, but chicken of the time/skill involved to maintain the hive.

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View CBeard's profile


11 posts in 3042 days

#7 posted 07-22-2013 01:21 PM

Outstanding work! This is on my long list of projects!

View tomd's profile


2222 posts in 5017 days

#8 posted 07-23-2013 01:29 AM

Great work, I’ve never seen such a nicely crafted hive.

-- Tom D

View DebsKeepsa's profile


1 post in 2421 days

#9 posted 03-09-2015 04:51 PM

Are you willing to sell a complete hive? 10 frame unassembled unpainted. Love your style! I’d rather have the top look like a roof but the flat one would work. Have you seen the new Flow Hive on Indigogo? Super sweet honey on tap!
DebsKeepsake at gmail dot com

View WeekendWoodworking's profile


71 posts in 3846 days

#10 posted 03-26-2015 11:58 PM

Hi DebsKeepsa

Sorry I haven’t been on the site for a bit. I don’t have any hives in inventory unfortunately. I have not seen the Flow Hive, I will have to check that out. David and Joanna wanted the flat roof as they say the bees can get into the pitched roof and work in their. Of course you want them in the frames. Thank you for your post! Steve

-- Steve

View glen's profile


175 posts in 3800 days

#11 posted 06-06-2015 12:03 AM

Hi Steve – what a great post. I came across this while looking for info on building my own frames. I have 2 hives and bought all the pieces pre-made, just needed to be assembled. Unfortunately, my supplier is out of frames and our bees are being very productive this year, so I’m going to have to build a bunch more stuff in a hurry. I showed this to my wife with the comment that “he used a cnc machine!”. Yeah, i’m not getting one anytime soon ;) ... I will just go ahead and make some sweet woodworking love to my bandsaw. I figure I can gang a few boards together with carpet tape, cut the pieces out, and then maybe resaw them into the right thickness. This isn’t so much a challenging build, but one that will challenge my patience! Thanks for the post – those are some great looking hives you have made.

View WeekendWoodworking's profile


71 posts in 3846 days

#12 posted 06-08-2015 01:59 AM

Hi Glen – Thanks for the comments. Glad to hear your bees are doing well. David and Joanna lost 2 of 3 beehives over the winter. They split the serving hive so back to 2 hives this spring. No diseases or anything, they just didn’t make it through the winter.

Yes without my CNC machine I would have been doing tons of bandsaw work as well.

Hope the project goes well and thanks again for your comments!


-- Steve

View lukedew's profile


1 post in 2266 days

#13 posted 08-11-2015 04:42 PM

Hey what is the chance of you sending me the stl files that you made the frames with and the wood boxes with finger joints file

View dustman2482's profile


1 post in 2153 days

#14 posted 12-02-2015 05:56 PM

Nice work. I have a cnc machine and v-carve and am willing to make my own files but how did you complete all square cuts? They look nice.

View WeekendWoodworking's profile


71 posts in 3846 days

#15 posted 12-03-2015 07:33 PM

Dustman- I have a Legacy CNC machine ARTY. These machines have an open floor and are high enough off the floor so with jigs you build, you can mount the wood so the ends are upright. The jigs are mounted in slots cut in the MDF table top I made and mounted to the rails of the machine. Mounted this way I used VCarve to program cutting the box joints and other joinery. The jigs/plans they use to do end cuts/joinery are on their website, This of course can easily be done on table saw or router table as well.

Hope this helps! Steve

-- Steve

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