Warre hive design – modifications

So here we go…. Western Red Cedar has arrived from the timber merchants and it’s time to start building the first hive.

Before I start, are there any modifications other than those below which you would recommend? 

I’m going to put observation windows in the side of the boxes, a 30mm arris rail in the corners to prevent cold spots, I think I’ll probably make castellated top bar spacers.  I might as well dovetail the joints on the boxes, for no other reason than I have the tools & they look pretty.


High Wycombe, Bucks

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7 Responses to Warre hive design – modifications

  1. Robin says:

    Here’s the mod’s a lot in our group use which includes links to other pages.

    Also noticed the page needs updating as a lot of us are ditching the top bars and experimenting with spales to allow continuous comb – link.


  2. johnmkubwa says:

    If you have the woodworking skills and the tools why not make a round Warre hive .
    ‘Warré in Beekeeping for All at page 40 wrote – … a cylinder, an ideal shape because it favours the distribution of the heat in the inside of the hive. But the cylinder is a shape that is hardly practicable ” , Unless ……..
    Construction details are as discussed here.
    I have made 3 but without the windows.

    John H. Stockbridge hants

    • timclay3 says:


      I’ve gone with the octagonal design, and made the quilt a bit bigger than the boxes rebated to slot over. Will post some pics when complete. How did you do your roof?


  3. Paul says:

    Suggest you have the windows look at the cells of the comb, not the end-edge, as you will be able to see more useful info that way.

    Also, if you add a skirt round the bottom of each section, you will be able to avoid rain wicking in without having to resort to duct tape…

  4. itsonlyausername says:

    Interesting idea using spales. But how will you know when the box has been cleared of brood and filled with honey right through the box when you can only visually see the outside of one of the frames? It may suggest that the bees have moved down to the next box but that isn’t necessarily the case horizontally right across that box. Nature doesn’t do things in straight lines as beekeepers should know only too well.

  5. timclay3 says:

    Surprisingly, cedar has gone back to the timber merchants today. I’ve never seen any timber cup & shake like it never mind cedar.

    Back to sq one, the only stock timber at the right width comes out at either 20mm or 38mm thick. Decided to go with ex 9×1 1/2 pine planed all round. Octagonal looks like a done decision now and just about within the realms of carpentry skills. Just need good enough weather to get out in the garden, cabin fever is setting in so hope it breaks tomorrow.

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