Becoming familiar with basic woodworking is critical to the success of any beekeeper. I recently published a post on building swarm traps from pallets, and decided to do a short post on the importance of learning to build your own equipment. In all of the reading and watching I have done, I have come to the conclusion that those that stick with beekeeping are those that know how to build, fix, and maintain their own equipment. From building to assembling to painting the boxes, beekeepers with the most experience have either done it or do it. Woodworking is a skill that every beekeeper needs to develop.
Obviously there are some out there who are physically unable to build their own equipment. For the rest of us with two arms, two legs, five fingers and toes, who still have the ability to see, have full motor control, and sufficient strength; building our own beehives is possible and it is not hard and it is not a waste of time. About a month ago I heard, on a local radio station, about a man who created a woodworking class for the blind. This is amazing; and I could not imagine how hard they must have worked to get to the point where they were comfortable around the equipment. The woodworking taught in this class was far more complicated than the woodworking involved in beekeeping. Woodworking, especially the kind used in beekeeping, is not complicated; anyone can do it. So do it.
My main objective today, was to convey the important relationship between woodworking and beekeeping. Being able to build your own equipment is not necessary to keep bees, and it isn’t for everyone. It is, however, necessary for the continuation of the craft. If you have not yet tried to build your own beehives, give it a try. Even if it is building simple swarm traps, or making your own tops and bottom boards; at least it is a start. Don’t be afraid to try, you won’t mess anything up.
The greatest contributors to beekeeping were all woodworkers, Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, Abbe Emile Warre, Moses Quinby, are just a few and there are many more that I can name, past and present. None of us could ever expect to be on such a list, and I do not think that any of these gentlemen ever expected to be on this list. They just wanted to find a better way to keep bees.
The current trend in beekeeping is to buy everything: hives, tops, bottom boards, feeders, bees, etc. One of my main goals in creating this site was to help others become a little more sustainable in their beekeeping. If I can get one beekeeper thinking about making their own tops I would be happy. If I could get one hundred to build their own hives, I will have been successful.