Assembling the Northern Lights Cathedral Hive Kit -Un-assembled

Instructions for assembling The Northern Lights Cathedral Hive Un-assembled Kit.

The Cathedral Northern Lights Kit Assembly
The Kit comes with detailed schematic plans for putting it together.

The Gluing Board Jig

The only part to make is the The Gluing Board Jig.  It is not part of The Cathedral Hive Un-assembled Kit

Purpose:To hold the 3 Side Panels boards comprising each of the hive halves at an exact angel while the glue dries

Parts and tools needed to assemble the jig for the
Cathedral Northern Lights Hive

Note: Making the jig for the original Cathedral Hive kit is the same process shown here but with slightly different measurements. So if you have made a jig previously for the original Cathedral Hive it has to be modified.


The most important part is a really square 3/4 inch piece of plywood.

 *  Flat board: 3/4" plywood, particle or melamine board  
                       Size:  18-1/4” wide  x 30” long x ¾’ thick
  The 18-1/4” width needs to be exact to achieve the correct angle for the sides when held in place while glue dries.
NOTE: If you have built the original Cathedral Hive Kit, the jig is 18-1/2" wide you will need to add 1/16" spacer to each side of the jig to accommodate for making the Northern Lights Kit

*  2 Side Rails   Size:  2x4  x 28” length (screw to the sides of jig board)
*  2 underneath support boards Size:  2x4  x 28” length
*  2 Middle Supports  Size:  2x4  x 7-1/8" length
*  4 Ratchet Straps    NOTE: non-ratcheting rafting straps won’t provide enough pull
* Long Wood or Cardboard Strips Size: 30”  long  - These create a uniform pressure on the joint when the straps are applied
* Wood Glue – Tight Bond III, Ultimate – Best waterproof and dries slowly

Making the Gluing Board Jig
First, make notch cutouts on the 2x4 Side Rails

The 'Rails' or side pieces of the jig. Notches cut out to accommodate for the Northern Lights Hive Center and End Braces so the braces can be drilled on after the sides are gluded together. The notches are 1 1/2" wide, the width of the braces.

Example of sides sitting in jig: The notched cut outs on the end of the jig rails are for the Braces to sit down flush with the upside down hive sides and front.

Back to making the jig. A line is drawn down 3/4" from the edge of the rail to help align the rails nicely and we are testing our clamping procedure before gluing the rails on.

Making the jig. Pilot screw holes and put in the screws part way. This way you don’t have to realign.

Making the jig. Glue edges

Making the jig. Spread the glue with paint brush

Making the jig. Rails are glued and clamped


Making the jig. Detail underneath of how the gluing jig is put together. A 2x4 is screwed into 3/4 inch plywood



Making the jig. Another detail of how the gluing jig is put together

Add the 2 middle supports, 2x4s,  7-1/8" length/tall

((((need placement of middle support braces))))

Now you have your jig made, lets glue the hive sides in the jig.

Side Panels Upper Section (E) of the Cathedral Northern Lights Hive
Assembling and Gluing


Get the three Side Panels (E) into position. Put the middle side on top of the middle jig supports while positioning the other 2 sides leaning into the top board.



Positioning the top piece and aligning all three (3) Side Panels (E)

Notice the notch in the jig that will allow space for the braces to be fitted while the Side Panels (E) are still in the gluing jig.


Getting the ends flush for a pre-gluing test. Check that the ends of all three Side Panels (E) are flush. They can be sanded down later if they are a little off.

Now go for a dry run and time the assembly. Get the clamping straps in place in 9 min, before the glue dries. Keep practicing until you can get below the time frame.


All straps are in place being sure that no strap will be blocking the notched out area on the rail where the braces will be located.



Here is a closeup of where the jig rail is notched for the Braces (K) and (L).



 You may have to use some force to get the Side Panels (E) to conform

 It takes some forcing to get the edges to align.  Have a helper align the edges while you tighten the clamps.


Using force. It might be necessary to over correct the alignment and let the tightening of the straps to force the joints to comply!

We use a container to put the glue into so we can quickly get glue on a brush. Painters tape is used to put on just under the straps to keep the glue off them.

OK set your timer!


Set !


Go !



Apply glue to “both” edges of the Side Panels (E) to be glued



Put the straps on and tighten them just barely snug. You want to have enough play to align the edges and ends ((  )))

After we aligned the Side Panels (E) and added tension to the straps, glue should squeeze out from the joints. Be sure to clean up the glue oozing from inside joints of the hive !


Wipe off the excess glue

Now let the Side Panels (E) dry in the jig for the time your glue recommends (4-24 hours)
After the glue is dry remove the straps

Now you can plane the ends of the Side Panels (E) so they are flush to put the Hive End (G) panels. Move the Side Panels (E) forward in the jig and plane off the unequal ends of the Side Panels (E)

Screwing on the Hive Ends (G) 

Find the nicest, smoothest side of the Hive End (G) board for the outside of your hive.


Then on the back side find your center line and mark your center line on the Hive End panel. (G)

The Cutting Pattern Template from the Schematic

Cut the template on the dotted line where it says 'cut line'. It is helpful to cut a notch on the center line of the template so you can see accurately the center line on your Hive End (G).

You can also cut a notch on the top of the template pattern to help align the pattern on the Hive End (G)

(((((((    ))))))))))
Align the long edge of the template to the long edge of the Hive End (G).

Center the lines and tape pattern template on the Hive End (G)


On the inside side of the Hive End (G), drill a pilot hole in each of the indicated drilling spots on the pattern

Now flip the Hive End (G) to the side that is the outside of the hive and counter sink

Use your Braces (K) and (L) to align your Hive End (G) so it is centered


Then securely hold while you trace around the Hive End (G) to mark where you will glue and screw the Hive End (G). The pencil line will allow you to easily align the Hive End (G) once you put on the glue

Cathedral-Hive- Nortern-Lights-glue-Hive-End
Apply a ribbon of glue over the screw holes and place it on the Side Panels (E). Screw on the Hive End (G) using 1 1/2" screws

Wipe off excess glue

Clamp the Hive End (G) in place using your pencil line to align accurately 

The Hive Ends (G) clamped in place

Now repeat these exact steps for the other Hive End (G)

Gluing and Screwing the Braces


Make your center Brace (L) equal distance to side Braces (L) 

We made blocks of wood for spacers so that when we glue the center Braces (L) they will not slide around on the slippery glue.

Apply glue to the assembled Hive Body and the Braces (K) and (L)


Put glue on 2 sides of the Braces (K) and (L), the side that goes against the assembled Hive Body and the side that goes against the Hive End (G) panel.

Pilot and drill holes, using 2' screws, three (3) per sides.


Then use two (1) 1 1/2" screw for Side Brace to the end of the Top Brace

Move to the back of the hive and do the other end, glue and screw end Braces  (K) and (L) 

Glue middle Braces (K) and (L)


Screw middle Braces (K) and (L)


Now is the time to put the sander in to round over edges, (beautifying ) before we attach the Side Roof Panels (W).

Sand down Hive Ends (G) so they are flush with Braces (K) and (L)

Sanding routed vent on Hive Ends (G) 

Sanding the routed vent on Hive Ends (G) 

Sanding (round over) the routed vent on Hive Ends (G) 

Attaching the Side Roof Panels (W)

Side Roof Panels (W).

Side Roof Panels (W).

Side Roof Panels (W).

Side Roof Panels (W).

Lower Section of the Cathedral Northern Lights Hive
Assembling and Gluing

Now we are ready to put together the Lower Section


First decide which side you want the window on, you will have to think upside down.

(? wording goofed up)
Now that you know where your Entrance Hive End goes, where your Landing Board goes determines where you window is.


Set the window and opposite side in the jig, then the top/middle side.


Strap the Bottom Section in place

 Now put the Bottom Section Braces in place


 Entrance Brace LL



The Landing Board Bottom piece T and the Entrance Braces LL 

Another look at the Entrance Braces and the Landing Board Bottom piece

Use a 2" screw to screw in the Landing Board to the Entrance Braces



The Lower Section, the back of the hive Braces L and K


Notice how the Landing Board Brace is positioned flush with the Entrance Braces against the hive sides and the Landing Board is protruding out to give the bees a place to land.

Also observe how the Landing Board Brace is clamped in place.


Make sure you wipe off the glue on the underside of this brace, because we’ll be adding another final redwood Top Landing Board (TT) on top of this Landing Board Brace (T).


The Landing Board Extension - Top piece (TT)



View of the Front of the hive- Lower Section. We went one by one with the braces. First gluing, then poisoning and then clamping

Another view, on the left of the image is the Landing Board (T) and Entrance Braces (LL) clamped.


Back of the hive- Lower Section, Braces (K) and (L) clamped

Back of the hive- Lower Section pilot screw holes in Braces (K) and (L) 

Back of the hive- Lower Section - Braces (K) and (L)  screwed on

Front of the Hive - Lower Section - Piloting long 2” angle screw to attach Landing Board Extension (T)

Screwing on Landing Board Extension (T)

1 hour later ! We free the hive from the clamps!

Now it's time to put on the Hive Ends, Lower Section

The Hive Ends for the Lower Section are exactly the same as the Hive Ends for the Upper Section, using the same paper pattern to drill holes for the screws

The Hive End - Entrance (J)

Hive Back Lower Section (H) pilot holes ready to put in alignment screws and glue



Use the lighter gray,  6 3/4" pattern for the Hive Front Lower Section (J) 

Back Hive End (H) -Find the center of the board, measuring the middle


Back Hive End pilot holes ready to put in alignment screws and glue


Back Hive End gluing the end


Glue both surfaces


Clamp Hive End board in place and screw. Wipe excess glue from Landing Board Brace


Landing Board Top - reclaimed redwood, (actually reclaimed from my grandma's back porch) should fit snug and may have to be sanded a bit to fit.


This is the poisoning for the deluxe Landing Board Top
Put glue on all surfaces that will touch.


 Screw in from bottom With 2 “ screws, three screws should do it.

 ((((((Add images of making the Roof)))))


Take out

Gluing Braces, Upper Section
Great! You got all three boards together for the Upper Section and strapped together securely in a record 8 min 57 sec!
Now we get the braces on. Clamps are your friend here because those glued up braces want to slip around.


We have set out everything we need. Notice I said “we” it is really handy to have a helper for the gluing and clamping. Tight Bond III Ultimate is amazing and using this brand gives you a full 9 min until the glue starts to set up.


Check that braces (L) and (K) are are fitting nicely. Sand if necessary 


Here we are still practicing our set up. Clamping a 2x4 along the middle of the braces will help to keep them in place while you are getting screws in them.

First take one brace, put it into position and mark along its side with a pen. This will make it easier to clamp the glued brace right in the correct place.

Coat both the Braces and Hive Body with glue and the ends of the Center Braces



Final clamping setup. Here all the braces are positioned and clamped

A station break!

Now you can relax! You only have to do this sprint one more time.

Screwing on the Braces, Lower Section


We then pilot holes and put in the screws. Notice we planned ahead and made sure we didn’t put clamps over our key screwing locations. Use a long 2 1/2 inch screw for screwing side braces into the ends of the center braces.


Now counter sink the screw holes on the Hive End on a flat work space.

Cutting the Hive End pattern for pre-drilling holes

Place pattern on Hive End to line up for drilling. Find the center of your 22 “ Hive End panel, 11” right!


Align drilling pattern with Hive End and secure with painters tape.


Keep drill perpendicular to hive!



Set Hive End in position making sure the 22” Hive End is aligned perfectly with Braces.


Partly screw in guide screws into Hive Body so when you glue, you will be able to feel that all is aligned well.



If you don’t clamp your paper pattern, you can easily remove the pattern to screw.


Clamp Hive End in place while piloting holes.


Use a hand planer or sand the ends of the sides and braces flat so that the Front and Back Hive Ends will sit flat

You can put glue on the hive body first then...

Glue up the Hive End.


Screw into place! 9 min! A piece of cake!


Now glue the other end.


You may need to use clamps to bend or flatten the wood to the hive before screwing. This will make the Hive End fit very snug.

Congratulations! There you have it!  A fully assembled Norther Lights Cathedral Hive!