Saturday, April 18, 2009


Originally uploaded by johnnyapollo
My woodworking club was having a bird house contest. I started thinking about a bird house I built with my dad as a kid - he came home one day with a few cedar shakes someone had given him and we built a small bird house together that hung in the yard for many years. I looked through my collection of old magazines and found one that I liked in a 1940's issue of Home Craftsman. After deciding that I hadn't done anything worth showing lately, I thought it would be something I could bang together quickly but wanted to add the challenge of building the whole thing using hand tools.

All the cuts were made using a short stanley tool box handsaw - I found the teeth too aggressive for all the cuts so I also used a cheap pull saw with finer teeth (this inspired me to find and begin learning more about handsaws and techniques - I'm still in process there). Everything was assembled using wood glue and small brads and it's very close to what I originally built with my dad, other than this design being "stretched" upward for a woodpecker. The hole was drilled using a brace and adjustable bit.

If I were to try doing this again I would figure out a way to remove the bottom for easy cleaning - otherwise the whole thing was very quick to build - took about an hour to cut into pieces (had to re-cut a few things - I also drilled the hole in the wrong place the first time so the front was made twice - second time I got a chip out on the back as I was getting impatient to finish). The main pieces were glued and clamped over night and small brads added the next day - no pre-drilling on the nails and you can see where I got splits on the roof shingles (those shakes are a lot more brittle than I remembered). The only sanding was done to round-over the hole a bit. I did some light planing on the edges.

So anyway, nothing super special about this but it was all done with handtools and surprisingly I got second place in the "most functional" category. The contest was held on 3/21 and I built this the two days previous in the evenings.