Tuesday, May 6, 2008

$5 Birdhouse

Or "What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?"

If you actually want to know the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow - click here =).

During my class last weekend with the folks from Horses For Clean Water, I noticed they had a lot of little birdhouses around their place. Alayne said something like, "These swallows can eat thousands of insects per day..." So it seemed like a good idea to install a birdhouse or two. I hope the swallows like flies, because they are starting to show up a lot around the horses.

I looked around on the Internet and found some free plans for a swallow birdhouse.

I printed up the instructions, and took my $4.85 piece of pine to the workshop. It was pretty simple to draw out the cut lines on the wood and cut away on the chop saw. I did find out that my chop saw is about a degree out of square after I tried putting this thing together. I don't think the birds will mind.

Step two is to drill the 1.5" hole that will be the door. Just a word on my $5 Birdhouse price. I'm assuming that one would have the basic tools, and I didn't buy any nails or the little hinge for the roof. If you had to buy everything on the directions it would be a bit more.

The directions also called for some score marks on the inside that the baby swallows can use as a ladder to climb to the door. Glad they included that, because I never would have thought of it. I just used a speed square and small chisel to make the marks.

Next up, just nail it together. As luck would have it, I just lent out my compressor and nail gun that would have made this a snap, so I had to go back to the old fashion hammer and nail.

My first choice for nails were too thick and started to split the wood on the side, so I thought I'd just drive a screw in there - still to thick. So after digging around in the "Misc. Parts" box, I found some smaller nails and those worked great. I also put some glue on the joints just in case.

For the roof I used a scrap from the siding I bought for the Horse stalls, and I found an old hinge in the junk box.

Finally I found some old marine paint that I never used in the paint cabinet, and decided to throw that on. I didn't paint the inside of the house, just the outside, making sure I got the cut grain on the top of all the boards. Hopefully, it will make a great home for an insect killer, and will last a few years.

I'll update it when the paint drys and I find a place to hang it up.

See you next time