In this article I discuss two tools which make a big difference to hive assembly. These aids hardly get a mention in bee books or at beekeeping associations. However, unless you have a helper on hand, assembling hive boxes properly can be an awkward task.
The first tool is a bench vice. However, the one which I have can swivel, this allows you to move the hive parts into convenient positions for hammering and screwing. This is a boon to hive assembly, especially if you don’t have a beekeeper’s mate! I purchased my Record vice for just over £30 from an online auction retailer. Nonetheless, this refurbished secondhand model is still robust and functional.
As a side note, I demonstrate the vices with a super, so see the video which accompanies this article <here>
Hive Assembly With True Corners
The other tool for hive assembly is a corner (clamp) vice. As its name implies, its purpose is to create a perfect corner joint. Furthermore, using this device also ensures that both sides of the joint are horizontally flat which is important when stacking hive-boxes. I purchased this vice new a few years ago, and I believe it cost me £50. Again, Record made this vice.
By combining both vices, the benefits and convenience when assembling a hive-box are more than doubled. The corner vice requires fixing to a piece of wood to allow the swivel vice to clamp it. This union of vices means you can clamp a box together to create a true corner, yet swivel it into a position to conveniently hammer in a nail. So to belabour the point, this is hive assembly made easy!
A Bonus Use For Assembling Other Hive Parts
These vices are extraordinarily versatile, and their benefits don’t just stop at boxes. When constructing a hive frame, you can use this set-up to get true corners, and position the frame to accurately hammer in those fiddly frame-nails. There is a secondary benefit, I don’t need to trim the foundation as often to get it to fit into the frame.
In closing, hive assembly is convenient and accurate with my combo of vices. It doesn’t break the bank to bag the two vices, especially if you are open to buying them second hand. Furthermore, beekeeping should be a joy and having the right tools makes this happen.
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