Sunday, November 22, 2015

Making Top Bar Hives from Pallet wood

I promised someone recently that I would show them how I took apart pallets and use the wood to make hives. I was hoping that I could just point them to the NBN forum pictorial posts I had made years ago. Unfortunately it seems NBN forum had some kind of glitch and lost nearly all the almost 3000 posts bar a few. So this post is to hopefully try and put together how I went about it using some old photos I can find.

Tools needed to take apart a pallet.

As well as strong gloves and eye protection you will need a lump hammer, bolster chisel, claw hammer, crowbar and pincers. It is also handy to have some kind of bench to de-nail on although if your knees can stand it this can be done on the ground.


Start by propping the pallet up against a wall with the side bars vertical, placing one foot against the base to keep it steady, using lump hammer and bolster chisel, place chisel in the joint of one of the end bars and the adjacent beam, hammer in until you open up a gap until the chisel meets the nails. At this point switch to the crowbar and prise further. Once the gap is opened enough, move down to the central joint between the bar and middle beam. Use the same technique to open up the middle joint. When both, top and central joints are free from the nails, just pull the side bar down and off the bottom joint by hand.

Move onto next bar and rinse and repeat until you have  stacks of bars and beams.

Take each bar and beam, remove nails and staples using claw hammer and pincers. Any that break off and cant be removed, hammer flush mark with a highlight colour of some kind to protect saws etc..

This will leave you with a considerable amount of wood which can be trimmed,  cut and joined to make perfectly serviceable hives. Even any broken parts can be used as strengthening battens etc.

I no longer have the context of how I made the following hives but I hope these photos convey what can be made. Both this Kenyan TBH and the Warre were made with pallet wood.

The beams from the pallets make excellent top bars.

 This photo shows one having the wax groove added.

Apologies for an incomplete post but I am having to work with years old photo's and a rapidly ageing brain! :)

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