With our niece planning for more than one hive this year she would require a better hive stand than the discarded cable spool she had hastily dragged into service for her first hiving. So over a weekend we made the stand seen at left.
The general design can be seen in several places on the web, either for sale on commercial sites or for information in DIY blog posts, although with a paucity of construction details. We shall try to do better in this post although in our haste we took no pictures of the work in progress.
28 ft. of 2×6" cedar
4 of 1/2" diameter, 4" long galvanized hex bolt
4 of corresponding galvanized nut
12 of 1/2" galvanized washer
one more washer or something the same thickness
36 of three inch coated deck screw
It is easily long enough for three Langstroth hives although we had envisioned one hive at each end with the space between used for holding hive bodies during inspections.
As seen in the second picture, the legs fold against the body for easier transport or storage.
The space between the long sides is chosen to let a frame dangle between them.
Cutting: We started with four, eight-foot long cedar two-by-sixes and would have about four feet left over. We have seen two-by-fours used but the extra width promised greater resistance to sagging in the middle and a wider footprint. Cedar is sufficiently weather-resistant to obviate painting the stand and has a rather low density to make the stand lighter lest we regret choosing wide lumber.
Trimming the ends of an eight-footer we cut a five-foot length for one long side (call it a stringer) and two sixteen-inch lengths for its legs with a bit of scrap remaining. We then cut the ends of the legs at a sixty-degree angle to make a parallelogram. Repeated with a second eight footer. This length of leg raises a hive a little more than a foot above the ground.
From a third eight-footer we cut four eighteen-and-a-bit-inch lengths to make the spacers between the stringers. You could make them longer and rabbet the long sides to hide the extra length. That would make for better rigidity but we opted for speedy construction and contented ourselves with butt joints.
From the last eight footer we cut a pair of two-foot lengths and beveled one long side of each to sixty degrees. These would be the cross-pieces joining a pair of legs at either end of the stand. The bevel is optional but lets them seat against the stringers to better transmit the weight.
Drilling: At each end of the two stringers we drilled a half-inch diameter hole about eight inches from each end and across the face. This would place the top of the leg more or less directly under a hive placed at the end of the stand.
For one end of each leg we bisected the angles and drilled a half-inch diameter hole at the point where the bisectors intersect. This allows the top of stand to be level with the top of the leg when open and the side of the leg when closed.
Along each edge of the cross-pieces, about 3/4 inch from the end, drill three holes of suitable diameter for deck screws. In our case this was one-eighth inch.
Assembly: Between the stringers we placed the spacers, one at each end and the other two in between to make three equal sized rectangular openings. Then we glued the pieces together with exterior water-proof glue and clamped being careful to keep the corners square and the whole thing flat.
After the glue has adequately cured, we applied three, three-inch deck screws into the ends of each spacer. After pre-drilling the holes, of course. The body of the stand was now glued and screwed and waiting for the legs to be attached.
With the body resting upside down, we attached each leg, pointing up and out, to the outside by pushing a half-inch diameter, four-inch long bolt through a washer, the leg hole, a second washer, the hole in the stringer, a third washer, and a nut snugly but lightly threaded. Repeat for the other three legs. All our hardware was galvanized. We would have preferred stainless steel but the big box store did not offer us that option.
We fit each cross-piece into the angle between leg and long side so that the wide side was against the legs and the beveled edge rested against the stringers. Then carefully without disturbing all the wide areas of contact we drilled and screwed through the middle one of the three holes at the ends of the crosspieces. Note that we eschewed gluing for these. If all the lumber were perfectly straight and our work all perfectly aligned we could have drilled and screwed all the holes at once. But if not then one could find upon trying to fold the legs in that they rub excessively against the stringers making it very difficult if not impossible to close up the stand.
So let us pretend that we did not do that at first. Nor that we wasted time trying to fix things by sanding and rasping. Instead we skip to just having the middle screws in place as we easily folded down the legs. Next we slipped a spare washer between the free end of a leg and its stringer and lightly clamped it in place. With the leg nowhere touching the stringer, we drilled and screwed the two remaining crosspiece holes for that leg. Repeated for the other three legs.
The last thing we did was to slightly unscrew the nuts, apply some Loctite to the threads, and retighten to a snugness that still allowed the legs to open and close easily. While hardly fine furniture it looks rather good, feels quite sturdy, and should serve for many a season.