Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.
This is a first for me. I think. At the age that I am now, 68, I think, causes me to endure memory lapses, so bear with me. You might learn something.
This is a hub that is short, but oh so sweet. This piece is dedicated to all wood-be birdhouse designers, especially the novices like yours truly. Note: did you catch that cute play on words, "wood-be?" Not "would-be," because my first thought made more sense. Wood? Birdhouses? I think you understand
First Things First
The first thing you must do is sit-down, relax, unless you are facing a high-pressured deadline, just inhale and exhale. You have got the time.
The second thing you need to do is get a mental picture in your head of what you want your birdhouse to look like. Do not stray from your design. It's your design, so work it. You can achieve your mental picture by taking a few sheets of paper and use a lead pencil, if you are like me, you can erase your mistakes . . .and believe me, first-time birdhouse builders will make plenty of mistakes, but do not throw-up your hands with frustration, because the more mistakes you make, the better your design will be.
Lumber That Will be Using
makes a world of difference. I start with Yellow Pine, 1x4's and unless my local home Improvement store does not have a supply of this lumber, I ask the saw operator to saw this 1x8 to cut as many pieces of lumber that go with your design. You may like Maple or Cherry lumber to build your birdhouse, but remember during this hub, it is about your birdhouse build.
Now that you are in your shop, take the cut lumber and use your sandpaper or electric sander to smooth the ends and front-sides of the lumber because smooth lumber is easier to work with. Some builders swear by using rough lumber, but this is your design, and you must use smooth lumber.
Closely inspect the ends of the lumber as well as the fronts to get rid of those annoying stickers that accompany lumber and this step will enable you to work faster and smoother. TIP: always turn the unsanded sides to your birdhouse because you can save time in sanding both inside and outside. Sometimes, I do not sand any of my lumber because I found out that some species of birds do not like loud colors, but they like a common looking image of your lumber and will be attracted to it just like they do in the forest.
Tools That You Can Work With
⦁ A handsaw --- but this is optional. Again, your decision.
⦁ Miter saw or Rip Saw. I use both. The Rip Saw to use for my Longer lumber and the Miter Saw to cut the lumber that I am using for 45 degrees. I will give you another tip: On my Miter Saw, I turn my Gauge to a 3 inch degree where I can cut Two pieces of lumber at the time. I use lumber with this cut for my front and back of the birdhouse.
⦁ A hammer --- but this is optional.
⦁ An air tank that you can find at most chain-store hardware stores and save yourself some money.
⦁ A good nail gun or staple gun that you must get a good air hose that will not wrinkle up and hinder your working time. This is what i use, the gun that uses both staples and nails depending on the weight of my lumber that I am using.
⦁ Wood glue and I suggest a very popular wood glue that we see on TV. It works and fast. If I use this glue, I let the pieces sit overnight to further secure the lumber for the build.
⦁ Tape measure
⦁ A 45-degree master gauge. The old rule: Measure twice, cut once. Works.
⦁ Tin Snips --- to cut the accidental nails or staples that have protruded so they can be seen. This is not good. Make sure that all nails and staples are in perfectly.
You do not have to use any type of paint to decorate your birdhouse. If you like, try it on one of your birdhouses and compare the one without paint and see which birdhouse attracts the most birds. You can also use wood stain to keep the lumber from seeping rainwater, but that is your decision.
I Use This Plan
To work the best in my birdhouse designs. I start with the bottom first. Then match the front and sides and if I glue them, that is okay or you can staple them and please take your time and make sure that there is no fronts, backs or sides that almost fit. NO. Make them all fit even if it means to starting over. You can get upset later. Concentrate on the work.
When you add the top and use the one side that is in a 45-degree, slide the other side of the roof perfectly at the top. Again, you can staple them both on the tops of the front and backs that already have 45-degree cuts.
Before any of the building, choose one of the pieces of lumber and mark a one-inch hole and use a router blade to get a good-looking entrance. You can also drill a small hole underneath the bigger hole for the Bird Perch, but that is optional.
When you think you are finished, take your drill and drill several holes in the bottom for cool air to circulate in the birdhouse that you will be using in the spring and summer months.
Look closely to see for yourself that the ends match and there are no staples or nails that have accidentally went through the wood.
The last thing that I suggest is look-over your finished work very slowly and if you find no errors, do this. If you are building the birdhouses for selling the public, you will be thankful that you chose to do these things, even though they do not make sense.
Happy birdhouse building. Seriously.
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© 2022 Kenneth Avery