Sunday, December 21, 2014

My First Birdhouse

I am by no means a crafty person.  The Good Lord blessed me with a lot of skills, but working with my hands was not one of them.  I have, however, collected a fair number of tools in my rather humble shop (hand-me-downs from my father, or presents, or just things I needed for other tasks), and I have been, on occasion, looking for inspiration to do something with those tools.

Most projects I come across are way out of my league so they were intimidating, so I never bothered trying.  I didn't want to waste my time, or the wood, on something I'd likely screw up.

A week ago I stumbled across these plans for a $2 bird house, made from a single 5'x6" fence picket. This seemed both cheap enough to not care about screwing up, and easy enough for a beginner like myself to accomplish.  I figured it would make a decent project to keep myself occupied over the Christmas break.

So I headed over to Home Depot and picked up 10 boards (at $1.56 a piece) and yesterday I set upon my mission. To turn this:
...into a birdhouse.  I do have an ulterior motive for this project.  Many geocache hides use a bird house as camoflage. They also make a good base to make puzzle caches out of (I actually have such a cache, tho I purchased the birdhouse pre-built).  So knowing how to do this would be handy in my secret life of geocaching.  However for now I would stick to building a stock birdhouse and worry about making geocaches out of it for the next attempt (one reason for buying 10 pieces of wood).

I started by cutting up the wood (4 - 9", and 2 - 6" pieces).
 The wood was very rough (as you can see from the image), so it was hard to slide easily thru my table saw, which made for some not super-awesome straight cuts (tho they were mostly OK).  Next time I think I'll find a way to make the sliding easier (perhaps pre sanding the wood? - advice welcome).

Then I pieced the bits together using staples from a nail gun, some wood glue, and some clamps.
The staples didn't seem to hold the wood very well, so I stuck in a couple screws to help hold it all together.

Once the glue had dried, I sanded up the outside of the house. Finally I put some paint on the outside (green exterior latex I had lying around for painting geocache containers). I left the inside raw wood, as my understanding is that this is healthier for birds.

This is the final product.

Not to shabby for my first attempt at woodworking, if I do say so myself.  Next time I will likely skip the staples and go straight to screws, as they hold better.  Otherwise I am happy.

I am going to let the paint cure, then mount it somewhere in my back yard - hopefully some bird will make use of it in the spring.

Now for my next trick: figure out how to make a door for a geocache...