I'm thinking of starting a beehive this spring and I want to make my own beehive boxes. I realize that there are kits you can buy and assemble, but I like woodworking and have most, if not all, of the tools necessary for the project.
My question is what joint would be best on the corners of the brood boxes and supers, considering they'll be exposed to constant weather? Basically, all these boxes consist of are four sides and an inner lip to hold the frames the bees make honey on. I will either make it out of the solid common board from Home Depot or, more likely, a high grade 3/4" (1" on label) plywood. I plan to buy some for the owl boxes I want to make anyway.
Besides just wanting to build the boxes myself and save a little money, I'm also not impressed with either the kits or some of the self built boxes I've seen on the internet. While they work and I'm sure they hold up for a number of seasons, I think that some are better than others. For instance, I see people who screw handles onto the boxes and others who use a circular saw to make a scalloped cut out of the side of the box with a lip to hold onto. The scalloped cut will last longer, because eventually water will work between the screwed on wooden handle and the side of the box and begin rotting it, where the scalloped cut won't get much rain in it and the little moisture that does get in it soon evaporates.
So in that line of though, I don't know how to do the corners. I've seen ones where they just line them up square and screw and glue them. I've seen another guy who cuts a rabbet in the end of the side board just wide enough for the end of the long board to sit in it. While the first method seems stronger, the second method covers up the end grain. Lastly, I've seen people do dovetails. While this seems like the strongest method, I worry that each seem will potentially wick water into the joint and start to rot it. Granted that whatever method I choose, I will be either sealing it with polyurethane or paint, it will eventually wear off. I'd put plenty of wood glue in any joinery I choose to help keep the water out.
I just want to know what joint will stand up to the weather best. A hive box will be outside 24/7/365. I'm trying to think my way through and prevent as many problems as possible. I've even thought of trying the following joint and cutting it off flush on the side. Thanks for any help.