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British National Beehives

Based in a small workshop in Tideswell in the Peak District we make Highest Quality British National Beehives out of 1st grade American Western Red Cedar or High Quality Red Deal according to the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) Modified National Hive Plans. Everything we sell we make here in the Peak District. We also stock other items of Beekeeping Supplies including Frames, Foundation Wax and Hive Tools. The driving forces behind peak-hives.co.uk are sustainability and quality workmanship. Sustainability because, well it matters quite a bit we think and quality workmanship because customer satisfaction is paramount.

Cedar Scarcity.

Unfortunately building materials are extremely scarce at the moment and pricing is highly volatile. This goes for Western Red Cedar too. I have decided that until the market settles down I will not be making up any Cedar hives or hive parts. We'll be back in operation once the supply issues have been resolved. Many thanks.


Want to see your National Hive being made? Here's what's going on in the workshop right now. The image is updated every 10 minutes during working hours. Click to see full size...



The rest of the centre column is an ongoing blog of what's new at peak-hives.co.uk and other items of interest...veg garden...renewables etc, but please don't let reading about the allotment distract you from placing your order...:-)

National Hive Stand Assembly Instructions

As requested here are the assembly instructions for Peak Hives flat pack National Hive Stand…

National Stand Assembly

Happy new year to all Peak Hives customers!!!

Peak Hives recommended kit for new beekeepers.

For new beekeepers (and there’s plenty, including me) I thought it might be worth while suggesting what I would think of buying as a first apiary set up.

If you’re good with a hammer, nails, glue, flat surface and *JOINERS SQUARE* then:

2 x Flat Pack of the default national hive configuration you see when you load up this page.  Add on a crown board and choose which type of metalwork you require for the brood box and supers (I’d recommend metal runners throughout and then use frame spacers to start off with – this can be changed over later to castellated spacers for the super easily enough should you wish)

And then choose which floor you want.  Most go for the Varroa Floor with slide out tray but many experienced beekeepers go for a standard floor.

Then timber.  Cedar is good for two reasons…1. it’s light.  A national super full of honey is already heavy enough.  2. Cedar is naturally resistant to rot.  Red Deal on the other hand is notably cheaper and will make a robust hive (provided you take care of it, which is easily done.  There’s plenty of houses round here built in the victorian era with original Red Deal doors because they’ve been well maintained).

That recommendation is to go with 1 nucleus colony.  The nucleus goes into hive number 1 and then when (possibly) a month later it swarms you have hive number 2 in which to put the swarm.  It’s said that it’s easier to manage two hives than 1.  And safer too.  1 Hive + 1 Disaster = No Bees!

Of course if you’re not entirely confident about your assembly skills then perhaps choose the same set up but pre-assembled here at Peak Hives.  Assembling a hive when you’ve done it lots of times is one thing but doing it for the first time can be a bit daunting.

Happy beekeeping 2010!


Peak Hives Workshop…

Hi. I thought it might be informative to show the workshop (or the ground floor machining area at least).  This is where all our national hives are made.  Upstairs there’s an assembly area and shelving for hive parts.  As you can see it’s an old building which in it’s time has been a cow shed, a hen shed, a joiner’s workshop, an electricians workshop (The whole of Tideswell was electrified from here), an artists studio, a joiner’s workshop again and now peak-hives.

The image is several shots stitched together using ‘hugin’.

All the best and happy beekeeping for 2010!

Peak Hives Workshop

Peak Hives Workshop

National Hive Gabled Roofs…Update

I’ve just updated the prices/availability regarding the National Hive Gabled Roofs reflecting the fact that we’ve decided not to do them any more in flat pack.  The reason is that the roof structure with the top finishing piece is, I think, a weakness (given that its the most exposed part of a hive) and it’s better to have a single one-piece metal roof cover which, thanks to Swift Engineering of Buxton, we can now provide.  It means it’s not feasible to send them out as flat pack as the metalwork will get spoiled in transit.

We want you to get the best use out of our products for many seasons and this decision was made to ensure that’s the case.

My own view is that for practical beekeeping the flat roof might be the better solution as you can turn it upside down and put supers on it etc but I understand the desire for the aesthetics that the gabled roof provides.

Feedback, as always, is very welcome.

All the best.  Nick

national hive nucleus roofs

Quick post while I’m having lunch…Here’s a shot of this morning’s activity.  National Hive Nucleus Roofs with the new lock joints.  These are for a couple of orders for 14×12 nucs and standard nucs in red deal.

back to the workshop…

national hive nucleus roof

national hive nucleus roof

14×12 Nucleus Hive dry assembly

Just working on orders and there’s a couple of 14×12 nucs in there in red deal so I’m making up a batch of 5.  Here’s the brood chamber dry assembled.  Back to the workshop now to start on the roofs.

14x12 nucleus hive

14x12 nucleus hive

Repairing my Wadkin BAOS Planer/Thicknesser

Our Wadkin BAOS, my favourite machine, died the other day as the wormwheel on the thicknessing feed motor lost it’s thread.  Fortunately there are plenty of these machines about and you can still buy spares from places like Advanced Machinery.  Very good company to deal with!!!

Here’s the BAOS on it’s side hanging from a block and tackle whilst I effected the repair.  Remarkable how much weight can be packed into a smallish machine.  Took all day (sorry if it’s put your order back) but by the end of the day my fav machine was doing the business again and had been oiled up and greased to boot.  Now tomorrow has to be back to production and building up stock of British National Hive parts.

Wadkin BAOS under repair

Wadkin BAOS under repair

lock joint for national hive roof.

As a quick break from making up a batch of national nucleus hives today I had the chance to test out my new gear for making lock joints for national roofs.  previously I’d been using dovetails (which are perfectly suitable and in my opinion in some ways better) but given that all the big boys use lock joints I felt it necessary to follow suit and so here’s the test pic on a couple of bits of scrap western red cedar…

testing a lock joint for national hive roof construction

testing a lock joint for national hive roof construction

National Hive Gabled Roof Assembly Instructions…

Assembly Instructions for Peak-Hives Flat Pack National Hive Gabled Roof


national hive parts on ebay…

I’m getting too busy now to do a listing every Sunday and Wednesday so it’ll just be Sunday from now on.  At least for the time being anyway.

fighting orders…then machines!!!

it’s twenty to twelve at night and I’ve just got back from the workshop…covered in grease and mess from trying to resuscitate a machine.  tomorrow’s national hive making is going to be pushed back while I try to get the part needed for my Wadkin BAO/S planer thicknesser.  If all else fails then I’ll use the older machine that we have in the workshop (thanks to neil) to do the thicknessing but the BAO/S will still need that part and it’s a matter of sourcing it without being stung (no pun intended) for too much cash by the parts dealers.

ugh! 2009 has been an ‘interesting‘ year.  roll on 2010!

sunday ebay…flat pack western red cedar national hive super.

Another listing for a national hive super on ebay….here

Thin kerf blade for making National Hive frames.

Arrived today.  One pricey blade!  A quick break from making up orders and stock to perform a test with the new blade.  Cuts like a dream.  Finishes as if it’s been through a planer.  The cut width is a tiny 1.7mm!!  This will certainly do the trick of getting the maximum number of National Hive frames out of the timber used.  I’ll be making up a batch of frames next week probably starting with DN4 Hoffman’s to be supplied with our brood boxes or sold as flat packs.

Thin Kerf Blade used for making National Hive Frames

Thin Kerf Blade used for making National Hive Frames

National Hives just in time ordering…binned!!!

Not sure how M and T are doing but we’re snowed under with orders.  Initially I was working on a just in time ordering system.  That’s been binned as I can see that if I don’t have stocked shelves of National Hive parts then I won’t be able to cope.  So every order that comes in now is being made up but doubled…one for the customer and one for the shelves…

I’m also fretting about delivery times…Adriana is taking charge of running the business as regards that so I shouldn’t be so concerned given that she’s a background in managing businesses very sucessfully…

worries gone?  not quite but almost…

Cheers and here’s to a good beekeeping 2010!


National Hive Roof and Frames…

We’ve just purchased some tooling to improve upon our National Hive Roof design.  Now roofs will be constructed using 1/2″ lock joints.  Frames wise I decided that it was worth investing in a thin kerf saw blade for our table saw.  Each cut will only waste 1.7mm instead of the usual 3.2mm.  When machining up lots and lots of little parts (ie. frame bits) it will be much more economical if each rip through the timber only consumes 1.7mm….that’s the theory anyway and it’s backed up by me getting the plastic out to pay for an expensive saw blade…

We hope your bees will be happy in our hives and would welcome feedback in the new season…photos or comments please and we’ll set up a gallery area on the site.

All the best


national hive super in western red cedar on ebay…

Wednesday listing…here

peak hives will be making national hive frames

here’s the first of perhaps many thousand…a quick bit of jig making and we’re producing Hoffman DN4 frames.  More tests to do but the initial test was today and if we can make the Hoffman self spacing frame then the others shouldn’t be a problem.  if you’ve a request for a frame type then please mail me.

DN4 Hoffman Frame for National Hive

DN4 Hoffman Frame for National Hive