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Build a Beekeeper's Work Bench

Updated on November 6, 2014

Strong, Lightweight, and Portable - Bee Mate Beekeeping Work Bench Folds Flat for Storage

If there's one thing every beekeeper really needs in the bee yard, it is another pair of hands. Well, a Beekeeping Work Bench can be the next best thing to a helper at the hives:

  • To hold a frame (or many) during a hive inspection;
  • To hold a heavy hive box when it's time to reverse the brood chambers;
  • To sort out out capped frames of honey from a half-filled super at harvest time;

... and more uses than you can possibly imagine, until you've got a work bench!

My "Bee-Mate" - Doubles as a picnic table, for when the beeyard work is done

Portable beekeeping workbench with queen excluders for use as a picnic table
Portable beekeeping workbench with queen excluders for use as a picnic table

Some beekeepers use a pair of sawhorses, cinder blocks, and boards as a makeshift work bench in the bee yard - but that's hard to move around as you're working with your bees. Others use an old kitchen table with the legs sawn down, a metal table from the bigbox DIY stores, and perhaps a frame rest that hooks on the side of a hive.

We did all of those things, too - in search of a solution for squashed bees and back pain - until 2004, when my clever partner designed and built the original Bee Mate workbench. It was so widely admired by our beekeeping friends, he drew up a set of plans so other beeks can make their own. Nice professional CAD drawings with dimensions and detailed instructions, the whole works - just $5.00 gets you the PDF woodworking plans by instant download.

Strong, portable, and so lightweight you can lift the Bee Mate with one finger! And when your work bench has finished its beekeeping duties, it folds up flat and hangs on a nail on the wall, neatly out of the way.

Or, as in the photograph above, turn your Bee Mate work bench into a picnic table by setting a few metal queen excluders on top, or sometimes a serving tray, and gather around for a restorative cup of tea and an outdoor meal. That's what we often do!

See the Beekeeping Work Bench in Action - "Bee Mate" Workbench for Beekeeping

To Build a Beekeeping Work Bench - You'll need the Bee-Mate plans and a few woodworking tools

To build a Bee Mate workbench, you'll need a few basic woodworking skills, the Bee Mate woodworking plans (available from and a couple of power tools that no home workshop should be without.

Table Saw

Ridgid R4510 Heavy-Duty Portable Table Saw with Stand
Ridgid R4510 Heavy-Duty Portable Table Saw with Stand

This is the heavy-duty version of the very capable table saw that you see in the Bee Mate video. A portable table saw is highly recommended if you don't have unlimited space in your home workshop - as most of us don't - and it's wise to choose one with a stand that has wheels, so it really is truly portable. Ridgid is a reliable brand of power tools that we've been very happy with owning and using over the years.


Electric Drill

DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver Kit
DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver Kit

A good electric drill is one of the most useful power tools than any homeowner can have - in fact, we often give an electric drill for wedding gifts. DeWalt tools are generally excellent quality, and around here it's the brand the contractorschoose. What you're looking for is a compact cordless electric drill, not too heavy, with good torque. This kit includes two batteries, battery charger, and case.


DIY Woodworking Plans

BEE-Mate Beekeeping Work Bench
BEE-Mate Beekeeping Work Bench | Source

How many ways could you use a portable beekeeping workbench? - ... perhaps as a gift for your favourite beekeeper?

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    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 4 years ago

      Great Pictures Cool lens

    • Theweirdandmore profile image

      Theweirdandmore 4 years ago

      My dad's a bee keeper and he would love this. Thank you very much.

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      What a fabulous workbench! I must show this lens to my mum, she is very keen on the idea of beekeeping and has been learning how to do it over the summer.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      Very cool idea. I'd love to make this as a surprise for my bee-keeping husband. I actually can't even construct a paper airplane, so I'll just give him the link to make it himself. Great lens!

    • ShoppingWithMonty profile image

      ShoppingWithMonty 5 years ago

      My icon is a bee (as in as busy as!) but I don't know any beekeepers. However, I can see that this beekeeping workbench would be nice as an unusual outdoor table. Really handy as it folds away for storage over the winter months too.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      @Auntie-M LM: Beekeepers are big on DIY and McGyvering. :)

    • AlexandraAdams LM profile image

      AlexandraAdams LM 5 years ago

      I like this lens! Very interesting to be a beekeeper. I really love the honey!

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      I'll have to find a favorite beekeeper first! You've done this bench building thing-y more than once, haven't you.