Energy Dome bee hive build

I like to watch the occasional woodworking video on youtube and one day I happened to see one on cutting circles; sounds interesting. So, what would I do with a circle?

Well, being a tragic Devo fan, I instantly thought of an energy dome bee hive. I did some more research and found the BlockLayer web site which has all sorts of calculators for woodworking, including a Segmented Turning Calculator. So, I jumped onto the Carbatec web site and ordered an upcut spiral bit for my router and the Rockler circle cutter jig, which I didn’t end up using.

I found the measurements of the energy dome on the internet and scaled them up so that the internal volume of the energy dome is about 9 litres; suitable for hockingsi. There will be no honey extraction from this hive, but there will be an observation panel under the top level, which will provide access to install a colony as well as a means to monitor progress.

Using the calculations from the BlockLayer web site, I started cutting and assembling octagons. I used pipe clamps to hold them together while the glue set. I wanted to use the same timber I use for all my hives, so the octagons were built out of the standard issue 33mm hoop pine.

Then I was able to start cutting circles. This takes time, but the resulting outer octagons with a circular hole gives me an idea for another project someday (an octagonal or hexagonal observation hive perhaps?).

Assembly was pretty a straight forward glue and screw.

While energy domes come in a few of colours these days, I thought I’d stick with the classic red.

I'm pretty happy with the final result. Even though I'm not sure I got the dimensions quite right, it was a really interesting and challenging build. This is what I love about woodworking in general; the problem solving as you deal with the challenges that each phase of the build throws at you, and the sense of accomplishment at the end of the project.


... and if you watch enough woodworking videos, this guy will eventually turn up: "Weird Al" Yankovic - Handy