Today we are building a steel beehive stand for Langstroth style hives with adjustable height legs and large foot pads so it doesn’t sink into the ground. Also included is a bonus at the end of how to build a frame holder that can be moved from side to side.
I’ll be honest and say I know nothing about beehives. I do however have a good friend that needed a beehive stand and I am always up for trying new things.
I was presented with some drawings that I took measurements from, but added my own flare with some upgraded options that I would want if I ever had a beehive and needed a stand (which I probably never will, but you know what I mean…)
First up, you gotta have a beehive. This stand is built for the Langstroth type hives. If you don’t have one, you can get complete kits that are easy to assemble on Amazon like this one:
- 8 Ft of 1″x1″ Steel Angle Iron
- 8 Ft of 1/4″ Steel Rod
- 4 Foot Plates (or other ~4″x4″ piece of flat plate)
- 4 5/16 x 2″ bolts
- 4 5/16 nuts
- GOOD Spray paint (not the $.99 stuff)
- Safety gear (welding helmet, safety glasses, gloves, boots, etc.)
- Welder (preferably MIG but you can use TIG or Stick if you prefer)
- Grinder with cutoff wheel and flap wheel
- Optional – Metal chop saw (can make these cuts with grinder/cutoff wheel if needed)
The outside dimensions of the bottom board of a Langstroth hive is 22″ deep by 15 3/8″ wide so the inside dimension of the frame needs to be slightly larger (about 1/2″ total) than this to allow for some wiggle room.
The overall height of the stand I built here is ~18″ adjustable +/- 1″ with the legs which seems like a pretty solid general height. You might want to build yours a little higher or lower depending on your circumstances.
Cutting angle iron for the top frame
We will start with the top frame. This will be super simple, Kind of like building a picture frame.
Take your dimensions above and cut four pieces of angle iron with opposing 45 degree angles at each end. Two for the long side and two for the short side. The 45 degree angle allows them to be welded together at the corners without overlapping.
Measuring example: The long side dimension on the hive frame bottom board is 22″ so add about 1/2″ for wiggle room and you get 22.5″ which is where you want to cut. Since you are cutting at a 45* angle you want to be sure to measure and mark to the vertical leg on the angle iron as you want the total length to be 22.5″.
Welding the Frame
Notice in the pic above, one side was welded with the angle down. This is so the hive can be slid out if needed. The langstroth hives have a screened bottom that has a tray that slides in and out for temperature control / venting, inspecting, and monitoring the hive. If there is a lip all the way around then you will not be able to slide the tray in and out.
Adding the legs and adjustable feet
The feet I am using are actually called Base plates. They are commonly used for hand rails and are handy to have around for stuff like this as they save a lot of time. You can buy them in bulk from most metal supply stores or Amazon.
Reinforcing the hive stand legs
So while researching this I learned that full Langstroth hives can weigh up to 350 lbs! This stand is pretty sturdy so far but I’m not sure I would trust it with that much weight without reinforcing the legs.
I have a process for painting that isn’t perfect but has served me pretty well. Here is a high level overview of what I usually do before paint.
- Chip/grind off any boogers from welding or sharp edges with grinder and flap disk or slag chipper
- Put on neoprene gloves and move to a well vented area (safety first!)
- get a rag wet with some solvent or paint thinner (I like the green environmentally friendly stuff, it doesn’t smell as much)
- Wipe the entire piece down with the rag to get any oils off the metal and to help the paint stick
- Paint it with a GOOD spray paint like Rustoleum. Cheap paint looks fine at first until it sits in the sun for 6 months and fades. Expensive paint is more expensive because it has stuff in it like UV inhibitors. In this case you get what you pay for.
Part 1 done!
BONUS Part 2 – Building frame hangers
Frame hangers are useful for having a clean place to put your frames while inspecting the hive. This was initially designed to have one frame hanger that could be moved from side to side. If you don’t need it to be removable for storage/transport then you can skip a lot of these steps and just weld some 1/4″ steel rod hangers to the frame and be done with it.
- at least 3Ft 1/4″ Steel Rod
- Two 1″ wide by 2″ long 1/8″ thick tabs with 1/4″ hole
- Four 1/4″ nutserts
- Two weld tabs with holes for bolting
- Optional – Woolwax corrosion inhibitor
- Same tools as above plus
- 1/8″ and 3/8″ drill bits
- Nutsert tool
Want more information on Nutsert tools? Check out my other post that explains how to use them and where to get them. These cool tools allow you to add a threaded hole just about anywhere.
Side note. I drilled two holes on each side so the frame holder could be moved from side to side but when I went to deliver it to my friend she liked the frame holder so much that she requested I just go ahead and build a second one for the other side. If you have space and materials for it, you might as well just build two while you are at it.
Maybe I am getting wiser in my old age or maybe it is just because I am tired of rusty parts on my Suzuki, but I recently discovered a way to keep rust out on the INSIDE of parts where you can’t paint. There are a couple of products out on the market made just for this.
The one I am currently trying out is Woolwax which is a lanolin based formula. I don’t remember where but I read that it can withstand 2,000 hours of salt spray before it degrades. Not sure if it is true, but it sounds good enough for me! When you are done with this project you can take the leftovers and extension wand and go apply it inside the frame of your vehicle also.
Completed Hive stand with frame holder
I hope this was helpful. Beehive stands come in many different styles and materials, this was just my example. Build one for yourself and see how it goes!
Having built this I have some ideas for a version 2 that collapses down to make shipping cheaper, if I get any interest I might make it into an Etsy product or something so let me know!
Now YOU, go outside and work on something!