The finest hives begin with the best lumber. We craft all our hives from kiln dried, tight knot Western Red Cedar harvested in the Pacific Northwest. Although this premium cedar costs more, it has many advantages: excellent strength for weight, superior weather resistance, and a beautiful glow. Kiln drying ensures consistent moisture levels to minimize warping and cracking. Other hive builders use pine for its wide availability and low cost, but pine requires painting to achieve the longevity of Western Red Cedar. We usually leave our hives unfinished to weather naturally to a grey patina, or alternately you can seal them with a coat of pure Tung Oil.
Thicker boards mean a warmer, stronger, and more durable hive for your bees. While most hive makers use ordinary ¾” lumber for their hives, we have hundreds of thousands of board-feet of cedar custom cut to over 1” thickness. We then plane these boards smooth for better rain run-off, easy oiling, and fewer splinters. We do use ¾” lumber on our Langstroth hives to make them compatible with parts from other suppliers.
We produce thousands of hives per year at our mill in North Portland, Oregon. We’ve worked hard to streamline the process and ensure the consistent quality of all components. We designed our own custom blades and even some of the tools used to manufacture our hives.
Screws vastly improve the strength of your hive, with or without glue. We provide all of the screws and other hardware required for assembly.
Because we use kiln dried lumber, all of our components are pre-drilled, and we use precise rabbet or our custom comb joint on most of our parts, we are able to offer unassembled hives to our customers. Unassembled hives reduce your costs because they simplify our storage and shipping. Building your hive also allows you to decide whether to use glue or other materials to add strength. We also provide all screws and hardware, along with detailed, color instructions to guide you through assembly. Pre-assembly for Top Bar and Warre hives is available for a nominal fee.
A tidy foundationless hive depends on quality top bars. They are one of the most important factors in bee and beekeeper success. This is why all of our top bars feature wedge comb guides that add bar strength, promote straight comb attachment, need no pre-waxing, and avoid the use of chemical-laden foundation.
We designed our hives to have plenty of strength without glue because we prefer to keep our hives chemical-free, including wood glues. It's up to you to decide whether you will glue your hive, and if you buy an unassembled hive you can easily add glue as you screw the pre-drilled components together.
We put our heart and soul into creating this business and the best hives in the world. We’re confident you’ll be satisfied with our products and our customer service should you decide to buy from us. We believe beekeeping can be a lifelong journey, and we're here seven days a week to support you. If you have questions, concerns, or feedback about your hive or accessories, please contact us.
Since 2008 we’ve been the world’s premier top bar hive, Warre, and foundationless Langstroth hive manufacturer. We have a wonderful storefront located in Southeast Portland, Oregon with our complete hive lineup and a range of supplies, accessories, and gifts. We’re proud to say that we're the only brick and mortar top bar hive supplier in the world (as far as we're aware). From 10:00AM-6:00PM Pacific Time Monday-Saturday, and Sundays from 12PM-5PM, you can call and reach a Bee Thinking representative to answer your beekeeping questions or help you with your order.