Building Boxes & When Orders Go Wrong

It must be spring, because at this time of year hope springs eternal

Bee Boxes To The Ceiling

Bee Boxes To The Ceiling

in a beekeeper’s heart.  The bees will make it though the spring and emerge into summer ready to be split into to more hives. I hope to add at least 30 new hives to the apiary this year (40 is my goal, but we’ll see what happens).  This means I need more boxes, frames, bottom screens, tops, and collars.

Just prior to last year’s harvest, I had every piece of constructed woodenware I own working on the hives.  Time to build the last 30 boxes and 300 frames I had in storage, and place a new order.

The living room turned into a tower of boxes and frames as the staple gun pounded away to the beat of Johnny Winters and Cachao.  I do like a fast beat when doing this.  It keeps the pace up.  Next round I should do something constructive like listen to my Spanish language tapes.

William Kitten checks out the bee box assembly line

one of our quality control experts

Brookfield Farm Living Room As Frame Assembly Location

Small Room Lots of Frames

I had just gotten the last frames assembled when the freight company pulled up to drop off the 180 boxes, new frames, and wax.  Needless to say, the weather imps decided that this was the moment to open the sky to a downpour that would last well into the evening.  There are no images of this, as I simply wanted to get the woodenware off the pallets and out of the rain as soon as I could.

As we all know, haste has its downside.  As I pulled the wrapping off the pallets, I looked at the new boxes and muttered “not the best ‘commercial’ boxes I’ve seen.”  I had gone with a new company, Mann Lake, because they had an excellent shipping deal.  Bad idea.  I had ordered over $1,500 of commercial boxes. What I had was 180 “budget” boxes, with knots in all the sides.

In many places “budget” boxes work fine.  Not in my area.  It is wet here: it starts raining in November and does not stop until the end of February.  Knots in wood crack here, no matter what you do to them.  Neither three layers of paint nor dipping them in wax will stop the cracks.

Sadly, I’m stuck.  Mann Lake said: wrap them up and send them back.  Humm, that’s 2 pallets of 720 pieces of wood.  Then one needs to get the huge tube of shrink-wrap to wrap them.  So about 2 days of work to return something, at a time that I’m already swamped with work.  We finally agreed that Mann Lake would credit me back some of my purchase price.

The lesson learned?  When placing a phone order I’ll be getting the sales person to email me a written confirmation.  She didn’t seem to want to, bet she will in the future.

Now I’m off to assemble these boxes and frames – where did I put that CD of The Texas Tornadoes?

That’s the news from Brookfield Farm Bees and Honey, in Maple Falls, Washington.

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3 Responses to Building Boxes & When Orders Go Wrong

  1. Natalie says:

    Oh my, what a total drag! But I am also in awe of your assembly skills, since I have been procrastinating assembling a few hives in my heated garage… 🙂 Hope the budget boxes don’t end up causing too many problems.

  2. They worry me a bit, but it was easier to accept them with some credit than try to get them back to Mann Lake. There’s nothing that so inspires one to build boxes and being unable to reach the couch because of the stack of assembly projects.

  3. Natalie says:

    I need that kind of motivation! My assembly projects are hidden away in our garage… 🙂

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