How to Build a Telescoping Cover

Like most components of the Langstroth 10 frame bee hive, the telescoping cover is fairly simple to make on your own.

The materials I used to make mine are as follows:
(I don't have drafting software to make nice exploded schematics)

(2 pieces) 20 1/8  x 1 X 2 1/4 pine
(2 pieces) 18 1/8 x 1 x 2 1/4 pine
(2 pieces) 7 1/4 x 1 x 17 pine
(1 piece) 5 1/2 x 1 x 17 pine
(1 sheet) 23 3/4 x 20 1/4 galvanized sheet metal

Before starting we took both 20 1/8  length pieces of pine and using a dado blade, cut out a notch 3/4 inch deep. You can see it in the picture below.

It's to hold the 7 1/4" and  5 1/2" length planks. (Alternatively, you could use plywood instead of planks).

Once the wood is all cut to size, we glued and nailed the frame together. Thanks to my dad for letting me use his air nailer...those things rock!

Once the frame is together, I put the three planks in the track and nailed them to the frame.

Again, you can use a sheet of plywood...we just happen to have extra planks laying around.

Once the frame is built, we test fit the cover on the hive bodies to ensure it fits.

To help protect the cover from the rain, sun and other elements, we bought some galvanized sheet metal and shaped the corners and edges so that it would cover the top and down 1 inch on all sides.

Then we drilled the hole sides of the sheet metal, and used nails to tack it to the wood frame.

Once all the nails were in place it made a very nice, tight metal cover, and the  telescoping covers were complete!

Comments For This Post: (6) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
rand says...
Date:   February 8, 2012, 12:22 pm

this has been the best explanation to a telescopic lid I have found yet.
I will refer to this site again when building beehives for my daughter.
Thanks, rand

John says...
Date:   April 13, 2012, 3:13 pm

Those are some sharp looking bends on the sheet metal cover.  How did you make those?  Do you have access to a press brake?

Mark Mettler says...
Date:   November 20, 2013, 7:40 am

If I were to cut the sheet metal, or order it precut; what are the dimensions of the galvanized metal before the 1" (one inch) folds are put into it?

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   November 23, 2013, 9:46 pm

Hi Mark,

My original notes say I used a 23 3/4" x 20 1/4" piece of sheet metal.

I went out and measured a telescoping cover that I have on the hive today and it measured pretty close at: 23 7/8" x 20 1/8".

The length of overhang doesn't have to be exactly at 1". From the pictures above you can see any overhang between 1/4" and 2" would be sufficient.

Moira says...
Date:   May 28, 2014, 8:25 am

Being a bit dense over here ...
Why is it called a telescoping cover?

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   May 28, 2014, 8:29 am


Good question! It's called a telescoping cover, because the sides of the cover extend down around the top of the boxes. When rain and wind blow sideways, the sides of the telescoping cover prevent water and debris from getting into the hive by telescoping (hangs down around) the top edge of the boxes. The 7th picture from the top shows how the cover slips down around the top of the boxes if that helps. :)

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