I watched every video I could find on YouTube about making a jig for recessed box handles. Since I don’t have a radial arm saw, I made a sled for my table saw that rides on the rails. The main aspect of the jig is a 15 degree incline to rest the box side on with the low part of the incline lined up with the TOP of the bee box — which is close to the operator during use. As you push the box and jig away from you toward the blade, the incline lowers the box onto a 3/8″ dado blade, which is tilted 15 degrees, to make a nice scalloped handle.
Important procedure hints:
- Tilt a 3/8″ dado blade 15 degrees and set the height of the blade to be 1/2″ above the jig surface.
- Place a fence or stop behind the jig to stop the movement when the blade is 1-3/4″ from the edge of the bee box. (Ensure you are cutting toward the top edge of the box)
- Lower the blade 5 turns
- Make a shallow cut in all of your boxes
- Raise the blade two turns and redo the cuts
- Raise the blade two more turns and redo the cuts
- Raise the blade one more turn to make the final cut slowly
Taking the time to raise your blade little by little will produce a cleaner recess. Trying to cut the entire recess with one pass will overheat your blade, put severe pressure on the ball bearings of your saw and stink up your shop with burning wood.
The guides on the incline of the jig are set to accept the long sides of deep hive bodies. To make the handles on medium or shallow supers, place a “filler” along the upper edge of the incline to ensure your smaller super top lines up with the low edge of the jig. When doing the ends of boxes, you must also place a filler on the side to center the more narrow area over the blade. Use double-sided carpet tape to hold your filler in place during the cuts.