Building 100 hives can be daunting but like Henry Ford said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
I break each hive down to its individual parts and focus on one part at a time. I never build one complete hive at a time but instead I build 30 parts at a time. (FYI, while this saves time, you have to be sure to check and recheck your measurements. Nothing sucks more than making 30 parts, only to find out you miss measured them all.)
To make assembly faster, I try to create a jig for each task. I have a jig for cutting the fronts and sides of my supers. I have a jig for cutting out the 3/8 x 5/8 strips.
However, today I am showing off my 1×4 super assembly jig. In this sketch of the jig, you can see how the top edge fits in a groove, while the sides are kept in place by two hinged panels joined by a bungee cord (which is zip tied to a free hanging 19 7/8 1×4). If the two side panels were in a fixed position, then removing the completed super would be a problem.
So to get started I attach a 3/8×5/8 strip to the long sides of the super (see my Blueprints for a 1×4 Super). Then I place that into the jig upside-down and begin stacking the 1×4 boards on top of each other – nailing as I go.
I probably put way too many nails but then again, can you really ever have too many nails. Yet about every 30 or 40 nails, I miss. This is all the missed nails I had to pull out of just 10 supers. HEY! Don’t judge me… YOU DON’T KNOW ME!
When I place the 3rd and final boards, I use this simple jig to mark the super at 9 5/8”. This ensures that I don’t put nails where I intend to cut when I cut the box down to size later.
Now this is not a perfect assembly jig by any stretch of the imagination but it’s simple and folds down flat for easy storage. It also saves me time but, more important, it saves me the frustration of trying to hold everything in place while I nail the super.
So the final super (Before Painting) looks like this.
If you have a handy beekeeping jig, post a picture in the comments – I’d love to see it, or steal the idea to make things move faster in my shop.