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Exterior

Bluebird Real Estate Shortage0

Last year’s broods of bluebirds have returned and are squabbling over the available birdhouses spaced along our pasture fence.  At the hardware store, additional pine bluebird houses cost $25 apiece and were nothing to sing about!  Instead, we spent $10 apiece on 8-foot cedar one-by-six planks and made two stout bluebird houses and a smaller wren house from each one.  More birds mean more mosquito control, too! 

 

Our building plan followed the existing bluebird houses with modifications to accommodate the thicker cedar plank.  These directions are for one bluebird house, although we made two.

 Materials: 

  • 8-foot cedar one-by-six
  • 2-inch finishing nails
  • 1-inch screw
  • sandpaper
  • mounting bracket

 Tools:

  • table saw
  • electric drill
  • small bit and 1-1/2 inch spade bit or hole saw
  • hammer
  • measure

1.  Cut two side panels on the table saw, dimensioned to 5.5″ width, 8″ back height, and 6.75 front height.  All upper edges slope to tilt the roof. If your cedar has smooth and rough sides, be careful to cut a true left and right side.

2.  Cut the roof 7.25″ long and 5.5″ wide, mitering the front edge inward/downward to dress it.

3.  Rip an 18″ length to 3.25″ width and then cut an 8″ back, a 3.75″ bottom, and a 6.25″ front.  These will be sandwiched between the side panels.  The front and bottom panels may seem too short.  The short front leaves room at the top to pivot up and down without scraping the roof and adds ventilation.  The bottom’s gap lets the front seal flush when closed. 

4.  Sandwich the back flush between two sides and secure with 2″ finishing nails driven through each side into the back’s edge.  Pre-drilling nail holes prevents splits.

5. Sandwich the bottom between the back and two sides, leaving the gap toward the birdhouse’s front.  Secure with finishing nails.

6. Mark a 1.5″ circle about 1.5″ from the top edge of the front.  Drill a small starter hole through the exact center of the circle.  Use a hole saw or a 1.5″ spade bit on the BACK to start the hole, but don’t cut/drill all the way through.  Turn the front to its right side to complete the hole.  This method makes smoother edges on both sides.  Sand the hole.

7. Stand the birdhouse upright, temporarily positioning the front flush between the sides and butted against the bottom.  Mark and pre-drill a nail pivot hole through each side.  THE HOLES MUST BE LEVEL OR THE FRONT WILL NOT PIVOT FOR CLEANING! 

8. Drive finishing nails through the holes and into the edges of the front panel as pivots. Add a removable set screw to secure it.

9. Position the roof flush with the back edge of the box, centered from side to side with the overhang forward.  Secure with finishing nails.

10. Add a metal mounting bracket and choose a fence post for the bluebirds’ new home site.

 

text and photos by Sandra Simmons

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