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Instructions for the Assembly of Kitset Supers (Boxes)

Instructions for the Assembly of Kitset Supers (Boxes)

Posted by Bruce Clow on 26th Jan 2022

These instructions are for the assembly of all types of kitset supers including Full Depth, ¾ Depth, ½ Depth and Ceracell SlimlineTM supers, whether treated or untreated.

Step 1: Check All Dimensions

Before you do anything to your kitset, check all the dimensions. Although we do try to ensure that all components of your kitset are consistent in their lengths and widths before you purchase it, you must check that you are happy that the finished super will be acceptable to you. If you apply any treatment to your kitset, or start assembly and then decide that the tolerances don’t match your expectations, it is too late. We will not accept for returns a kitset unless it is in the same condition as when you purchased it.

All wood, including untreated, TanE treated, WB1 treated, Paraffin dipped, Copper Naphthanate treated, and ThermoWood, can absorb moisture and change dimensions and shape, to a degree, over time. That is the bad news. The good news is that as long as any gaps or cracks are 2mm or less, the bees won’t mind and will fill those gaps with propolis. So remember, we’re not putting together fine furniture, but beehives.

  1. Confirm the widths of each of the four sides of your super are within 2mm of each other. To do this, on a flat stable surface, stand all the components on their long edge against each other. They should all be very close to the same widths. If one or two of the sides are protruding above the others by more than 2mm that is when you need to decide if the whole kitset should be returned to us for a replacement or a refund. If you have bought more than one kitset, you may be able to switch and swap some sides between the kitsets to better match the widths. Often you will find that this simple exercise solves the problem.
  2. Confirm the finished assembled length of the super will accommodate the frame. Sometimes the rebates of the end boards are cut a millimetre or two too deep, and then the super when assembled is too short for the frame to fit easily in the finished box. To check this, stand all four sides up on a flat stable surface and nest them together as if they are assembled. (You may want to wrap a bungee cord around them to hold them together.) Now get a frame and place it in the super. If the frame falls easily onto the rebates at both ends and can slide around then the finished box dimensions should be fine.

Step 2: Get the Top Edge of the Super Flush All Around then Fix Together

It is important that if there is any discrepancy in the widths of the sides of the super, that on all the supers you assemble the discrepancy is always on the bottom. So to ensure this happens we will start the assembly with the super upside down.

  1. On a flat stable surface, loosely assemble the super by setting up all the components so that the top edge of the end boards (the top edge is the edge with the rebate in it) are sitting on the flat surface. (If you are using wood glue to strengthen the join, apply glue now to the end board rebate matching the side board end to which it is being fixed.) Ensure that the boards are all firmly sitting on the flat surface when you fix them together.
  2. Fix the end boards to the side boards with self tapping screws, nails, or staples with a staple gun. (Note that if you have a ThermoWood super, it is highly recommended that you use wood screws and that you pre-drill the hole in the end boards before driving the screw in.) For a full depth and a SlimlineTM super use at least three fixers per joined corner. For a ¾ depth use two or three fixers per joined corner and for a ½ depth super use two fixers per joined corner.

Step 3: Optional, Trim the Bottom to Remove Any Proud Edges

This step is optional. It is possible that there will be one or two bottom edges that are up to 2mm proud of the other edges. In most cases this won’t be a problem for the bees, and if we got the top edges all flush, the discrepancies won’t be compounding (that means that if we had the discrepancies of one super on the top edge and another super on the bottom edge when they are stacked on top of each other the 2mm discrepancy on each box would be added together and we could leave a 4mm gap which is not good).

To clean up the bottom edges you will need a table saw with a fence. For Full Depth and SlimlineTM supers set up the table saw fence between 240mm and 242mm from the saw blade (the standard depth is 240mm but many supers are made up to 2mm deeper to avoid having boxes too shallow if they need a trim like this). Run the super through the saw with the top edge pressed up against the fence. Do this for all four sides. For ¾ Depth you want the fence at about 186mm give or take, and for ½ Depth about 135mm. The idea is just to get the whole bottom edge of the box flush. The exact depth is not too critical as long as the frame when in the box of your choice is sitting between 6mm and 9mm off the bottom edge of the super.