What to make when you have left over wood from an Adirondack side table project that was made from left overs from an Adirondack chair project? How about bird houses? In fact, I had enough left over cedar and cypress to make three bird houses. So that’s what I did.
The houses were sized to accommodate bluebirds which reportedly prefer a 1-1/2″ entrance hole. I went with the basic slant design for the house body: 11″ in the back slanting to 9″ in the front. The interior footprint is 4″ x 4″ for two of the houses and 3-1/2″ x 4″ for the other house. The roof has an ample overhang in the front ranging from 1″ to 2″ and a lesser overhang on the sides of about 1/2″. Small slots were cut on the underside of the roof to encourage water drips to fall outside the house rather than seeping into the house.
The front, back, and base have the same width (3-1/2″ and 4″). For the most part, I was able to use a single board for all three pieces. Joinery is rather simple: waterproof glue, screws, and nails. I used all screws for the first house but decided to cut back on the screws in favor of galvanized finish nails for the other houses. This made for a less industrial looking house – always an important consideration for the discriminating bird…
The front of the house is secured to the sides by two nails about 2″ down from the top. This allows the front to flip up for cleaning out old nests and what not. The lower end is held in place by a roofing nail that slides in from the side.
The back side of the front has narrow slots or kerfs spaced about an inch apart. These allow the fledgling youngsters to climb out of the house when they are ready to take flight. “Fledging” as they say. The corners of the base were cut at a 45 degree angle to allow any water to drain out. I read somewhere that is another principle of good birdhouse design. Who am I to argue?
The houses don’t really need a finish but I opted to apply a reddish-brown stain – to the outside only. Eventually, they’ll weather to a natural gray unless stain is reapplied periodically – which I’m sure I won’t do – but at least they’ll look spiffy for a season or two. Once the weather warms up a bit, I’ll mount the houses on poles and then sit back and wait for the bluebirds to show up. Meanwhile, time to find a new project.