Bee shed: shelving framing

It being Weekend Wednesday yesterday, I worked on the bee shed project again.

The task of the day was to build the shelving supports — 2×4 boards onto which plywood sheets will later be mounted to make U-shaped shelves in the back half of the shed.

The framing for the back shelves are mounted to the wall boards with screws from the outside, so I unscrewed and lifted the existing side corrugated panel to access that board:

Lifted panel

Here is one of those supports, for the front edge of the middle back shelf; I used clamps below the board to rest it on while I screwed it into the wall boards:

Shelf supports

These boards are 2’ from the back — or more precisely, positioned so that the distance from the back of the back wall board to the front of the front support board is 2’. The plywood sheet will span that distance, resting on the wall boards on three sides, and the above board on the front, with cutouts around the poles. 

2’ deep shelves is a convenient size, as it’s just perfect for beehive boxes, plus I can get two shelves out of a 4×8’ sheet of plywood. (The shed is 8’ wide.)

Looking from the front of the shed towards the three back shelf supports:

Shelf supports

Then I started on the side shelves; here you can see the middle shelf done, and working on the bottom one:

Shelf supports

All three right side ones done:

Shelf supports

The side shelves are 2×4’, also a convenient size, to get four shelves out of each 4×8’ plywood sheet. I’ll need exactly three sheets to do all of the shelves. Almost like I planned it. (Narrator voice: he did.)

While the corrugated panel was lifted, I took the opportunity to add extra bits of wood to the corner post, to help fill in the gap between the post and panel. I have some gap filler bits that match the corrugated pattern to fill in that last little bit, too, that I’ll add next time:

Corner post addition

The completed U-shaped shelf framing. These will be topped by plywood sheets after the wall cladding is in place:

Shelf supports

I had considered adding a vertical board to help support the front corners of the side shelves, but the shelves seem plenty sturdy without that, so I decided it wasn’t needed.

A closer look at the left side:

Shelf supports

This extra board on the side shelf has a dual purpose: it makes the shelf stronger, and more importantly will support the edge of the plywood of the side shelf:

Shelf supports

Looking from outside:

Shelf supports

The right side:

Shelf supports

I stacked a couple of deep beehive boxes on the top shelf to see if they’d fit; yep:

Beehive boxes

We mostly use mediums, so they’ll fit even better. But there’s plenty of shelving space, so we probably won’t need to stack them anyway.

More corner post gap-reducing additions:

Corner post addition

A couple of outside angles, with the side corrugated panel temporarily anchored down again; I will need to lift it again to install other panels below it:

Outside view

Outside view

That’s it for now. The next step is to add the corrugated cladding. It’s expected to rain for the next few days, so I might not get back to it for a week or so; we’ll see.

Bee shed: wall framing

Yesterday I did more work on the bee shed project. I was supposed to be working on Dejal stuff, but I decided to take advantage of the sunny weather instead. A benefit of being self-employed. (I still got what I needed to do done last night.)

The activity of the day was adding 2×6 boards onto which the corrugated panels will be attached.

Here are two 12’ boards clamped to the posts:

Adding wall framing

And screwed in place, along with an 8’ 2×4 board below the bottom one to fill a gap:

Adding wall framing

They are attached with deck screws; I like them as they’re self-drilling, corrosion-resistant, and have a square hole (apparently called a Robertson drive type) that doesn’t slip as much as the more common Phillips style:

Adding wall framing

The boards at ground level follow the slope of the ground (dug in a little; this is treated wood, designed for ground contact):

Adding wall framing

More wall framing:

Adding wall framing

I made the middle two (almost) level, since shelving will be attached to them:


That’s done:

Adding wall framing

Next up (today): shelving supports.

Bee shed: floor

On Sunday I started work on the bee shed project. See the first post for the background and design of this project.

Here’s the old potting shelter, along with a cart load of materials and tools:

Old potting shelter and cart of materials and tools

It being a warm day, the beehives were active for the first time this year, busy with their cleansing flights, where they clear out dead bees and poop a lot:


My first step was to straighten some of the posts that weren’t quite vertical, using my post level, a mattock, a soil scoop, and a rubber mallet to knock them into position:

Straightening posts

I did that for three of the posts:

Straightening posts

Next I cleared out the debris and smoothed the ground to be somewhat more level, using some boards and a shovel; it still has a slope, but less lumpy than before:

Leveling ground

Then I adding some weed mat, both as a barrier against weeds (not very likely once enclosed) and against burrowing animals:

Adding weed mat

On top of that I added some interlocking rubber flooring panels:

Rubber flooring

Finally, I trimmed the weed mat to fit around the posts, and anchored it in position with metal stakes:

Trimmed weed mat

Next up, I will mount the 2×6 boards for the walls. The bottom boards will go over the weed mat to avoid having a gap. Stay tuned!

Bee shed: design

Having recently finished the duck island project, I will of course take a break from building… nah! I’m already designing my next homestead project: a shed to store beekeeping equipment.

I’ve actually had a plan for this for over a year, and received delivery of building materials for it and other projects back in April last year. But this project has finally bubbled to near the top of my queue. 

Here is a stack of building materials waiting in the hoop house:

Building materials

And more lumber (only about half of these will be used for this project; the rest are spare):

Building materials

Beekeeping involves a fair amount of equipment, which we currently store in the back of our workshop (along with other stuff, e.g. a cider press):

Beekeeping equipment

Beekeeping equipment

There’s plenty of room back there, but it’s a bit of a trek from the shop to the hives, so it’d be more convenient to have the equipment closer at hand if we need to add a hive box or something. 

And hey, we have this old potting shelter that we inherited with the property:



It is conveniently near the beehives:




So I plan to enclose it with more 2×6 boards and corrugated galvanized steel panels, with clear corrugated panels for windows, and double doors. Inside, it’ll have U-shaped wooden shelving in the back half, weed mat and rubber flooring on the ground, and even a mirror and coathooks for our bee suits.

Yesterday, I took that photo above as a background and sketched the boards and panels onto it using Linea Sketch on my iPad Pro with Pencil. The perspective isn’t quite right, but close enough to indicate the design:

Bee shed design

Imagine clear corrugated panels in the gaps of the walls, and U-shaped plywood shelves on top of those supports.

Here is a time-lapse GIF of the drawing process (warning, there are quick flashes of blue as I hid the background layer while drawing, if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing):


Since this is an outside construction project, it is weather dependent — with the big snowstorm we’re expecting over the next few days, I likely won’t start for a week or two. But I’m looking forward to it. Stay tuned for updates!

Duck island installation via cams

Yesterday I posted about installing the new floating duck island. Today, some additional pictures of that process, as captured by the two cameras that watch the pond.

To start, here’s me easing the cart and island down the bank into the pond, as seen by the cam near the duck house:

Island down the bank into the pond

Island down the bank into the pond

Another angle, from the pond deck cam:

Island into the pond

Island off the cart:

Island off the cart

Adding the two extra buoyancy buckets:

Adding extra buoyancy buckets

Moving it to by the duck house:

Moving it to by the duck house

Removing the upturned boat:

Removing the upturned boat

Removing the upturned boat

A wheelbarrow of dirt (look next to the datestamp):

Wheelbarrow of dirt

Adding dirt:

Adding dirt

Adding grasses:

Adding grasses

Digging up grasses next to the duck house (it was encroaching a bit too close, so I wanted to remove some anyway):

Digging up grasses

Wading in the pond again to plant the grasses in the dirt:

Planting grasses

Anchoring the island:


Ducks investigating the island from a safe distance, an hour after I was done:

Ducks beyond island

Ducks near the island this morning; I haven’t seen any go onto it yet, but at least they aren’t totally avoiding it:

Ducks near island

While on morning rounds, I propped up the old boat with a couple of logs:

Propped up boat

The thought is that they could use it as an additional shelter, e.g. for laying eggs:

Propped up boat

Here it is from across the pond. It isn’t super attractive, though has a certain aged rustic charm. I might move it elsewhere, but that’ll do for now:

Propped up boat

Some more pictures of the island:





A glimpse of ducks on the bank at the back of the pond:


Duck island installation!

Having completed construction on my duck island project last weekend, today I installed it in the pond.

I started by gathering up some tools, the two extra buoyancy buckets, and an empty bucket, and pulled it out of the workshop (remember, it was already sitting on my cart):

Duck island pulled out of workshop

I also attached a couple of bungee cords to the cart, to make sure it wouldn’t slide around too much:


I added a couple of eye rings to attach the anchor cord:


Then I dragged it all to the pond, the long way around the veggie garden (as it was too wide to fit down the most direct path). I took a breather halfway there:


Near the edge of the pond:

At pond

I then put on my waders, and lowered it — cart and all — down the bank and into the water:

Into the water

You can also see the anchor cord in that picture, a plastic-wrapped wire with spring clips on the ends (actually a dog tie-out cord, that I bought for this purpose). I also added a short piece of pool noodle to the cord, so it’d float if unhooked, though I later decided it was ugly and removed it; I can re-add it if and when I need to unhook it.

As I got deeper, it floated off the cart:

Off the cart

Floating high out of the water, just as expected:


I then inserted those two extra buoyancy buckets under the island, and used the empty bucket to add some water to the island to test weighing it down a bit.

I moved it over to near the duck house, and hitched the anchor cord to it temporarily:

Hitched to the duck house

Then I got out of the waders, and went and got a small wheelbarrow load of dirt:

Wheelbarrow of dirt

Then a second larger load of dirt:

More dirt

It was then floating lower with the weight of the dirt; just about the desired level:

Floating lower with dirt

Next, I dug up some of the grasses that grow like weeds next to the pond, and tossed them onto the island, with a larger one in the center:


The island could be a little lower, but I wanted to err on the side of a bit higher, to allow for the dirt to get saturated. I might add more later, once I see how it stabilizes.

Then back into the waders and into the pond, where I poked the grasses into the dirt:


The grasses are pretty dormant at present, and some may not survive the transplant, but hopefully some will. They’re pretty hardy. I can always add more later.

That done, I moved the island to the desired position, near the center of the pond, and anchored it by stringing the anchor wire through a couple of cinderblocks, that are sitting on some spare pond liner (to protect the pond floor):


Here are some more pictures of the island in position:


Pond and island

Pond and island

Pond and island

Pond and island

It’ll probably take the ducks a few days to get used to it there. Hopefully it won’t freak them out as much as the upturned boat did (which I have moved to the pond bank for now). It looks like it fits much more than that did.

My waders seems to have sprung a leak around my knee; I could feel cold water seeping in, and the leg of my work overalls and sock was wet. I guess I need to try to patch it, or buy a new one:

Wet leg

That concludes the duck island project, at least for now. It may get tweaks over time. I hope the ducks like it, once they get used to it being there. It was a fun little project, started almost on a whim, and mostly using materials I already had on hand.

Duck island completed construction

Yesterday I did the finishing construction touches on my pond island project: adding some bracing, the pond liner to hold the dirt, and some bumpers.

I started by added some bracing boards to help prevent the pond liner from sagging under the weight of the dirt. The liner is pretty stiff, and will be supported by the water, but a bit of extra support can’t hurt:

Added bracing boards

Another reason for that was to prevent the buoyancy buckets from pushing up into the liner:

Bucket strap

Plus I attached a pipe strap to support the buckets, to keep them off the ground during transport to the pond; again, the water will support them once in the pond:

Bucket strap

Here’s the last look at the island structure before adding the liner:


Next I added the pond liner, using some scraps I had on hand. (Other than the buoyancy buckets and pipes, all of the materials for this project are things I already had spare; I always order extras when getting lumber etc for projects.)

There wasn’t a piece big enough to cover the whole island, so I added two overlapping pieces. Here’s the first, temporarily weighed down with heavy buckets to help position and shape it:

Adding pond liner

The liner is attached to the frame using screws and washers:

Screw and washers

Here’s the whole island with both pieces of liner installed:

Pond liner

(The liner is wet because it was sitting on the driveway while constructing the rest.)

I didn’t bother trimming the liner on the angles, I just tucked it behind the lower platforms, which helps fill the gap between the frame and platform, too:

Liner tucked

Lastly, I slit pool noodles and added them as bumpers on the lower platforms, to prevent damage to the pond if the island floats free and hits a side:

Pool noodle bumper

I will anchor it when installing it, but doesn’t hurt to be cautious. The noodles might provide some buoyancy benefit, though will probably become waterlogged over time.

Like the liner, the noodles are attached with screws and washers (small and larger washers on each):

Screw and washers

That completes the construction of the island! 🎉


The next step will be to take it to the pond. It’s already on the cart, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get it there. I may need Jenn’s help in getting it from the cart into the water without damaging anything. Though one interesting notion could be to take the cart into the pond, and float it off. Either way, I’ll be wading in the pond.

I’ll be very interested to see at what level it floats. Once it is, I’ll try adding water to weigh it down, if it doesn’t all leak out between the two liner layers, then add dirt and grasses. I’ll also position it and anchor it to some cinderblocks on the pond floor.

The next update should be super exciting; stay tuned!

Duck island tweak

Only a little time to work on the duck island project yesterday (Weekend Wednesday). I spent about a third of the time planning the previously-mentioned upper platform, about a third changing my mind about the position of the pipes, obviating that platform, and a third moving the pipes. Read on for details.

Last time I wrote about the buoyancy of the island, and adding the ring of 4 inch pipes inside the frame as part of that. The plan was to add the dirt-containing pond liner over the top of the pipes, then build a third platform level on top of that. So I started by laying out some scraps of wood to prototype the platform:

Platform prototype

Another angle:

Platform prototype

But on further reflection, I thought that the position of the pipes was suboptimal… or not optimal for submarine buoyancy. As mentioned last time, I wanted the water level to be about halfway up the pipes, which seems a waste of the buoyancy potential of them… and with the expected weight of the island and dirt, I need every bit of buoyancy.

So I decided that the ring of pipes should be below the 2x4s, not above, i.e. underneath the island instead of within the surrounding frame. Which also means I probably won’t need the upper platform I’d just prototyped; the dirt can just go to the edge of the frame, as I’d originally envisioned.

Having decided that, I unscrewed the metal hanger straps and carefully removed the pipes:

Removed pipes

I then lifted the island onto an edge, so I could access the bottom:

Island on edge

Then mounted the pipes underneath:

Pipes underneath island

A closer view:


A pipe strap:

Pipe strap

I also mounted a couple of the buckets, attaching them with heavy-duty fence staples:


Maybe the last view of underneath the island, with the pipes and a couple of buckets:


I didn’t attach the other two buckets, as they would get in the way of the cart. I can just tuck the buckets under there while installing; they’ll be contained by the wood and pipes.

Back down on to the cart:


A closeup of a bucket and the pipes below the frame; the bucket will be lower down later; it’s just resting against the pipe for now:

Bucket and pipe

The current state of the island:

Back down on cart

So not as much progress as I’d hoped, but that’s fine; this was a worthwhile tweak.

Next time, hopefully, I’ll add the pond liner. But before that, I’m thinking I’ll add a few 1×2 strips to help support the liner, to prevent sagging.

Duck island buoyancy

On Sunday I did some more work on the duck island project, focusing on the buoyancy aspects. It’s a bit of a guess on how much I’ll need to make it float at an appropriate level, but I figure more is better; having it sink would be not ideal, and if it floats too high, I can always pile on more dirt, or remove some of the buoyancy.

There are two components to making it float: four 5-gallon buckets, and a ring of 4-inch pipes.

Here is a bucket, with a bead of silicone around the rim to help seal the lid:


As you can see, the lid also has a rubber seal, and clamps on to the bucket.

A stack of four sealed buckets:


Next I moved the island onto my cart, up the right way; this is the first time it’s been upright. Placing it on the cart makes it easier to work with, and it’ll be ready to transport to the pond:

On cart

Another component of the buoyancy is a ring of 4-inch ABS DWV pipes. The sizing worked out perfectly; the pipes came in 2-foot lengths, and I didn’t need to cut any of them to make them fit:


I put some pool noodles inside the pipes; I don’t know if that’ll help at all, but can’t hurt.

I sealed the pipes with ABS adhesive:


Then I attached the pipes to the frame with pipe hanger straps:

Pipes and hangers

My ideal water level would be about halfway up the frame, at around the midpoint of the pipes, so the middle platform (where the tools are in the above picture) would be just under water. We’ll see if that eventuates!

Here’s a closer look at a strap:


Once again, Pepper the shop cat was supervising my work (or really just waiting for me to go away so she could get to her food):



Here’s the current state of the island:


Next up, I will add the pond liner to contain the dirt, and a third platform level above the pipes.

Duck island progress

Yesterday I made some more progress on the duck island project. See my previous post for an introduction.

Having bought some 4 inch ABS DWV (Drain/Waste/Vent) pipes and 45° elbows from Home Depot, I dry-fitted them within the frame. I’ll need to trim a couple to make them fit, but they should help add some buoyancy to the island:

Pipes added

Here’s a closer view of the pipes, plus a bucket that I’ll optionally use if I need more buoyancy (as I probably will):


If needed, I’ll add two or four such buckets spaced around the island, sealing their lids closed with silicone. I should be able to add them after installation, once I see how well it floats. (The lid doesn’t match the bucket as Home Depot didn’t have the black ones I wanted, and only had orange lids, but they fit the green buckets; I’ll face the lids towards the center of the island, so they won’t be visible.)

Pepper was supervising me:


Next I used scraps of wood and clamps to measure the boards for the platforms:

Planning platforms

There are two levels of platforms; one should (hopefully) be right about at the water level, the second lower than that, as ducks find it easier to swim up then put their feet down to step higher. The lower ones weren’t in my original design, but I think will be a good addition.

I lifted the island to lean it on the shop door, so I could attach the platform boards; this is our first look at the top of the island, too:

Leaning on the shop door

Here are the water-level platforms, made from 1×2 boards, attached with finish nails:

Adding platforms

A closer look:

Adding platforms

Back down on the floor (and upside-down again), adding the lower platforms:

Adding platforms

I know they aren’t super tidy; I didn’t bother cutting the boards at angles, or trimming with a nice clean line, since the ends won’t be visible when underwater.

Here’s a closer look at the two platform levels, and the pipe:

Adding platforms

That’s it for now. Next time, I will trim the pipes and stick them together (I forgot to pick up the proper adhesive for ABS pipes from Home Depot, so ordered some from Amazon).

I will attach the pipes with some metal hanger straps, and add the pond liner that will contain the island dirt. I’ll probably also add a third platform level above the pipes to help hold them in place, hide the edge of the liner, and make another step for the ducks to jump to before reaching the dirt.

Then it’ll be time for installation! We’ll see how far I get next time. Stay tuned!