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TBH materials, Merbau?

 
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khayward
New Bee


Joined: 31 May 2016
Posts: 8
Location: bristol

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 1:47 pm    Post subject: TBH materials, Merbau? Reply with quote

Good afternoon,

I was wondering if anyone had an opinion/knowledge about using merbau (aka Ipil, Kwila) as a material for constructing a TBH. I have been offered lots of 20mm think merbau for free and was wondering if there is any reason I should not use it. I understand it is durable, resistant to insect attack and usually used for floorboards. It also doesnt warp easily.

Would the fact its 20mm be an issue providing less insulation; I understand 25 is recommended? I am based down the SW so not as cold as places a bit further north. I would love to hear from anyone that may have an opinion or know anything regarding this. I am just stating out so any information would be great.

Many thanks.
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ingo50
Scout Bee


Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 311
Location: Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not know much about Merbau, but it is from Indonesia or that region. You would have to know the thermal insulation factor and compare it to cedar which is light and has reasonable insulation . The other thought I would have is: is it legally logged , which is often very difficult to know with trading across multiple borders.
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khayward
New Bee


Joined: 31 May 2016
Posts: 8
Location: bristol

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ingo50,

Many thanks for your response. I shall check the thermal qualities of the timber. Good suggestion, thank you. As to the legality of the logging they are sheets ripped out of an old university auditorium sitting in a garage so I am very unsure about the legal status of it. I feel it would be better to put it to us for a worthy cause than it be skipped or dumped.

Thanks for your response and I will do some thermal property research.

Cheers
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ingo50
Scout Bee


Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 311
Location: Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you are recycling the wood, are you following Phil Chandler's design? Cut your two follower boards first and as exact as possible, use them as templates for the hive body, I built mine with a handsaw and electric drill driver. Best of luck. If the insulation of a single board is not so good, you could use two boards glued and drilled together, but that might make a very heavy hive requiring sturdy legs. Let's us know how you get on.
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khayward
New Bee


Joined: 31 May 2016
Posts: 8
Location: bristol

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks once again for your reply and it's great to have your experience and ideas. Yes I have Phil chandlers design and will be following that when I choose my materials. I'll post you a photo and you can see how I get on. Thanks.
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1125
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:08 am    Post subject: Re: TBH materials, Merbau? Reply with quote

khayward wrote:
...., resistant to insect attack...

Rings alarm bells for me. Insect avoid it, bees are insects... I don't know, but think you need to investigate at least.
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khayward
New Bee


Joined: 31 May 2016
Posts: 8
Location: bristol

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi trekmate, thanks for posting. I was looking at the following link at the rot resistance section,

On the wood database website. For some reason they won't let me post url links on here but if you search western red cedar and merbau on the wood database have a read.

I really need to get info off a timber specialist. Searches in Google of merbau and bee hives do t come back with much. I will look into it further. Thanks once again.

Kit
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khayward
New Bee


Joined: 31 May 2016
Posts: 8
Location: bristol

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

World wide web.daf.qld.gov.au/forestry/using-wood-and-its-benefits/wood-properties-of-timber-trees/kwila

It won't let me post url so change to www obviously
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khayward
New Bee


Joined: 31 May 2016
Posts: 8
Location: bristol

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://nativebeehives.com/south-american-inspired/

See Tim er selection
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khayward
New Bee


Joined: 31 May 2016
Posts: 8
Location: bristol

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://nativebeehives.com/more-timber/
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 301
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see it's about twice the weight of cedar so insulation factor will be lower and obviously any hive will be considerably heavier.
Suppose it depends on the hive design, where it's going and how often you think you are going to move it.
I'm pretty sure, like cedar it's termite resistance per se won't make it unsuitable for a hive but you might need someone overseas to confirm if you don't want to take a chance.
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khayward
New Bee


Joined: 31 May 2016
Posts: 8
Location: bristol

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andyc,

Thanks for the response. Yes I looked at that already and am considering the insulation and density factors. I may just use pine for the give and merbau for the follower boards as they need to be more stable I understand.

Thanks for posting. Have you made a top bar? How much do they weigh? I guess I would get longevity out of the merbau if I did construct it out of that.


Cheers
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 301
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I made one Kenyan top bar out of 15mm softwood and ply with a t and g roof and it was just too cumbersome and heavy for me as one big lump and that was without an eco floor.
I gave it away.
The Warre TBH is at least in smaller and lighter bits for handling but I as I was donated two swarms, both in national nucs I am considering standardising on the national hive and experimenting with using one as a foundationless TBH.
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Chris L
House Bee


Joined: 05 May 2016
Posts: 10
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado

PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished building my first top bar hive (48 inches long) from 1" pine. Though it's awkward, I can lift and move it myself (empty, obviously) and the roof is also fairly easy to lift off since I can't quite figure out a good way to hinge it yet. I'm starting the second one, but I'm going to build it 44 inches long to make the best use of 8' lumber - the roof frame, for instance, became 50 inches on the 4' hive, so needed more length for those pieces than an 8' board.

Also, I don't know of you have the "Building a Top Bar Hive" book, or are using the plans on the internet, but the book is really really helpful! The photos on line are better, but the explanations in the book - if you're a novice - are very clear and thorough. Someone here mentioned using luggage straps to hold the sides against the followers when you're putting it together - brilliant! - but the jigs recommended are also very useful - especially if you're going to build more than one. It was fun! Good luck!
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stevecook172001
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 443
Location: Loftus, Cleveland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most tropical redwoods (sapele, mahogany etc), are slightly poisonous if ingested by humans. I am guessing, as others have said, that this is a natural insect resistance in the tree. That being the case, if it were me, I might make certain this wood is suitable for the bees.

Last edited by stevecook172001 on Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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stevecook172001
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 443
Location: Loftus, Cleveland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok - I have just had a read up on this wood and it is listed a "mild irritant" to humans". Especially humans who have allergenic tendencies. Other than that, nothing nasty to report. So, my guess is it will probably be okay for the bees.

Just to be certain, if you shellac the inside prior to installing the bees, my strong guess it will almost certainly be fine. Indeed, it could well be fine without the shellac.
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2012
Posts: 200
Location: Upper Northwest Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Writing as I am from the fairly-temperate southern United States, I can only say that I have spent precious little time poring over exactly what sort of wood I constructed my hive-boxes from, nor how I water-proofed them. Fact is, I recycled old wood that had previously been used to built stalls and pole-sheds. I sprayed them with Thompson's Water Seal (on the outside), and let them dry thoroughly.

My hives, likewise, are nothing much to look at. They kept the proportions of "Barefoot," but nothing more. They rudely sit on (level ...) timbers between cinder-blocks, in a well-shaded tree-island in our pasture. As they have sat, for three years' running now.

(Yes, in my climate zone, honeybees have a comparatively easy time of making it through the winter, if you've left them plenty of food. Although we still grouse about snow and ice, it customarily melts in a few days, leaving us with winters that mostly consist of grumpy, annoying rain.)

The length of each box is ... "easy for me to carry." Mounted at both ends are "big metal handles," so I can easily pick them up. There are three holes for the bees in one side: "the diameter of wine corks." They're securely held together with wood screws, which I re-tighten every now and then.

"Strange as it may seem, the bees don't seem to mind." After all, in the wild, they thrive in hollow trees and in other such unlikely places.

- - -
There is one diversion that I made from the original plans which might well be worth mentioning: after noting just where the sides of the hive-box rested on the top bars when they were properly centered, I cut a shallow saw-notch in each bar at that position on one side, so that, when the bars were set in place, they "clicked" at that point. This makes it very easy to properly (re-)align the bars as you are (re-)setting them in place.
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