Ralph Bagnall of the Consulting Woodworker is at it again! Back in 2011, he came out with a book teaching you how to make your own building log play kits. You know, just in case you wanted to hand craft your own fishing cabin or frontier fort – in very small scale.
Well, the kids do grow up, and maybe the other grown-ups in your house want to have their own rustic looking structure to – I dunno – house and feed birds. What are you to do?
Good thing Ralph came out with his new book about Log Cabin Bird House building. Ralph let me know that the original book was conceived with the idea that the logs and kits could be glued together and painted to make a bird house. But, how well would the paint hold up to the elements, and would the birds somehow be affected by the paint itself?
That’s when Ralph changed tack and opted for red cedar boards. Since red cedar shrugs off the elements and looks so darned good – plus, it’s dirt cheap and plentiful – it was a great option for the new plans.
The only problem? Red cedar comes rough one side and smooth the other. So, once you plane the rough side smooth, you end up with boards a mere 5/8″ thick, which changes the construction measurements considerably. Thus, the book has instructions on cutting for the new dimensions. Outside of that, the techniques are similar to the log cabin book, with interlocking notches cut in each of the boards to ensure a snug fit.
Because of the scale of the build, Ralph doesn’t understate the need for safety throughout the cutting process. Remember, those are mighty small pieces, so a reliance on jigs and push blocks helps to keep your hands far away from the blades while getting the utmost in accuracy.
And, when it comes to those jigs, Ralph goes into great detail about how to build them to ensure the best cuts. He also links to where you can get the router bits he uses and even has a handy chart of how large the access holes need to be bored for each species of bird you hope to attract.
While many people look down their noses at bird houses as ‘beginner’ projects, you just might be surprised how many budding woodworkers you can get started in the craft with these plans, or how many bird watchers you will please with a well-crafted model.
Oh, and the holidays are less than ten weeks away. Just in case you are counting.