DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder


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:

Materials list

Tools list

Dimensions

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.

DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
We can start by cutting the angle iron for the top frame at 45* angles.

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″.

DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
After cutting the first four, I then had to re-set up the saw to cut the other side of the 45* cuts. Here you can see I am not taking any material off the vertical leg, just cutting the bottom leg to 45* so everything fits together.

Welding the Frame

DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
With the 45 degree angles cut, it was pretty easy to use a square to square each corner then tack it together.
In this pic I had to bust the front back off because I was being a dummy and welded it on with the angle up and should have had it pointing down. This is why we tack pieces together first before fully welding.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
All welded up.

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

DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Next up I started with the feet. Super simple with some steel plates, some 5/8″ bolts and nuts. I like that these plates have holes in them so you could use stakes to fasten the hive to the ground in case you are in an area that gets high winds.

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.

DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
I marked and centered each bolt head on the plate then welded them on 3 sides. You will also notice I cut the four square 1″x1″ tubes for the legs to 17″ (subtracted from the desired 18″ to account for the adjustable legs)
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
The 5/8″ nut fit perfectly on the end of the tubing, I just welded them on all the way around.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Then with a speedsquare I made sure the legs were straight and welded them on.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Starting to look like a hive stand!
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Looks good. Now we need to go onto the next step which is reinforcing the legs.

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.

DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
My shop is a mess these days…
Next I got the chop-saw back out and cut some lengths of 1/4″ solid steel rod. For simplicity I made them all the same length. There will be 8, two for each leg.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
1/4″ rods cut to length. This stuff is cheap and actually adds a lot of strength without adding much cost or weight. Each support was 12″
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
I measured and marked with soapstone the center of each short side on the frame since the supports will be touching. Then I placed the two on the short side in place on the mark to determine how far down the leg they would go. I took that length and marked it the same on the long side so everything matched.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Bingo, all welded on. The legs are super stable now and should easily be able to handle a full hive.

Painting

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.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Now that we are done welding I threw on a coat of paint.

Part 1 done!

DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Hive stand done and out in the sun!
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Here is a view of the hive stand from the back.

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.

Materials

  • 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

Tools List

  • Same tools as above plus
  • Drill
  • 1/8″ and 3/8″ drill bits
  • Nutsert tool
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Mark and drill two pilot holes on the outside of the legs on the long side. Then drill them out to 3/8″ which is the hole size for a 1/4″ nutsert.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Then insert the nutsert and crimp it in with what is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools.

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.

DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
I had these pre-made tabs laying around, I honestly don’t even know what they are for or where they came from but I have a whole bag so I might as well use them. You can just take a piece of 1″ wide 1/8″ thick steel strap then cut it to about 2″ long and drill a 1/4″ hole in it.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
I then cut a piece of 1/4″ bar long enough to span the two tabs and welded it on.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
I also cut two more pieces of 1/4″ rod to ~7″ and bent the last 1″ up in the vice to hopefully keep the frames from sliding off the hanger.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Test fit the frames before fully welding. I believe the inside to inside dimension was 18″. This was perfect for the frame having some wiggle room but not enough to ever fall down.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Fully welded. Ready for a wipe down and painting.

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.

Rust prevention

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.

DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Spraying Woolwax inside the unpainted part of the square tubing to keep rust away.
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Spraying Woolwax inside the unpainted part of the square tubing to keep rust away.

Completed Hive stand with frame holder

DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Stand done and painted without the hive on it
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Completed hive stand with frame holder
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
Completed hive stand with frame holder
DIY Steel Beehive Stand with Adjustable Legs and Frame Holder
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!

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