Editor’s Update 6/2018, Still got it :)
I tapped into the bird brain this week, as the little fellows who were born in a nest on my pergola took flight and started new lives of their own. Thank goodness; they were messy. Time to remove that nest before someone else moves in.
We did have a good time watching mama and papa come with wormy dinner and leave with what several websites have confirmed to be bird poop in small sacks. Sorry to make it poop-related, but watching them was fascinating; who knew they were so hygienic. Cute too, with their little mouths held open and ready for din-din every night right around 6:30.
Hoping to keep the birds in the area but not loitering over my entryway, I decided a formal birdhouse might be well-suited for the backyard. My parents had a slew of birdhouses (both DIY and fancy pants two-story aluminum structures with railings and condos and HOA dues) and I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to realize that I had never made or installed one myself.
Happy shout-out to Chris at Curbly for the inspiration behind creating this project. His mid-century modern birdhouse must easily be the hottest birdpad in town. Swanky. I started by using his as a visual reference, but applied some of my own creative liberties along the way based merely because I was limited on materials and didn’t want to drop some dough if I didn’t need to. (I didn’t; this was totally free-zilla.)
The wood I used was leftover premium pine from when I installed the open kitchen shelving.
Starting with a few sketches, I decided that a square-ish structure with a slanted roof, like Chris’s was a fair starting point. Because I was optimistic about using the larger 11″ x 14″ boards for the roof and floor, I biscuit joined several strips of the narrower boards using a similar technique as when I’m building custom frames. There were biscuits installed each place there’s a piece of tape. This was about to become the front panel.
The boards were assembled carefully so as to align with one another. A quick photo of that for your enjoyment:
Once together, they remained clamped overnight, and then sanded the following day for a smooth finish. After that point, I decided to make the bird door for the front panel; I used a simple 2″ hole saw bit on the cordless drill, and decided to position the door slightly off center for effect.
Of course, I’ll be totally honest and tell you that it took me at least 8 cuts to get the angles right, facing the right direction, matching each other, etc. I was kind of an angry-at-myself goon by the 8th time I messed up my cuts and added another biscuited board to the front of the house since I had eliminated any real chance of having a slanted roof having made an ungodly amount of inaccurate cuts. That’s the beauty of the biscuit; it’s a quick and simple way to marry two pieces of lumber in happy union.
Another reason I like the biscuited look is that the horizontal lines are subtly made visible by the inconsistent wood grain. Unless they’re royal mid-century birdlets, they probably won’t give a chirp, but I like it.
By this point, I had the front and back panels of the house. They measured 6″ x 8″ (front), and 3.5″ x 8″ (back). The symmetrical side panels, I had decided would also be 3.5″ by 8″, which means there’s going to be extra ventilation as the roof extends from the back to the front.
I biscuited these pieces together as well, although I did follow up with a nail gun in a few places for added security, since I was planning on using it all along for the base and roof assembly.
Because I had the main structure in place before building the floor, measuring and installing that floor was very easy; I simply measured the house, and slid in a piece of wood to serve as the base. It was right around this point that I realized I could arrange to have an easy access point, and removed the floor that was a perfect fit, cut it into two pieces (2/3 and 1/3). The larger flooring piece was affixed to the side walls via nail gun, and the smaller panel was attached using a single screw into the back of the house horizontally, so that to remove it and clean the birdhouse, all I had to do was remove that screw and drop the small panel out. I anticipate it being a piece of cake, and even pre-drilled a hole in case I wanted to twist a screw or hook into the bottom of the panel to help extract it.
As I said before, the nail gun was best suited for attaching the remainder of the base and the roof (which is 11″ x 14″ if you’re wondering) to the structure securely. We really love this pancake compressor, and use it and it’s accessories as often as we can.
The final step was to drill a small hole to make a bird perch using a leftover wooden dowel a.k.a. a fancy green pencil that I had in the house. The 9/32 bit is the perfect size to drill the size of a pencil, for the record. How’s that little spot of color for you? I positioned it slightly below the entryway, and forced it about 2″ inside the house as well so even from inside the birds could jump up to the door easily.
The finished house received a final sanding to smooth out any rough edges, and is currently waiting install on the fence in my backyard, probably right in amongst all of those roses in the background once they’ve finished blossoming. My house is loaded with roses right now, by the way. It’s quite nice.