Classic "Cabin" Birdhouse plans - Great beginner birdhouse plan, excellent for teaching kids about woodworking.
Click on plans at left to enlarge and print.
Select 1/2" thick cedar, preferably rough on one side. The roughness will help make the birdhouse look more like a cabin.
Always make sure that everyone wears safety goggles and a dust mask.
Begin by laying out the front panel (A) with a square. Carefully follow the construction diagram. Draw pencil lines on the smooth side of the wood, only for the front work-piece.
Then equip your saber saw with a 3/8" or wider saber saw blade. When installing a blade make sure the tool is always unplugged. Now, cut the front panel. (Younger woodworkers will require parental advice for the best approach to cutting out this work-piece.)
Once cut, use this panel to lay out the remaining back (A). Trace the front work-piece's pattern onto another blank piece of lumber. Then cut this back panel with a saber saw.
The roof (B), upper level side (C) and lower level side (D) work-pieces all have a 30 degree bevel on at least one edge. To obtain the 30 degree bevel follow our instructions in the step-by-step photos. Some saber saws may also have a 30 degree setting stamped where the pad pivots.
Lay out the widths on a longer and wider piece of lumber (refer to the step-by-step photos). Also, double check the side work-pieces to insure that they will fit. Variations in wood thickness as well as the accuracy of your cuts in the front/back panels may require minor adjustments in the heights of these sides.
You also need to consider the positioning of the lower level side (D) work-pieces. If you want all the side work-pieces to have the smooth side showing, you have to plan your cuts carefully. This gets tricky, even for more experienced users.
Use a straightedge to guide your saber saw. This will result in a smoother cut. After you have ripped the work-pieces to width, cut them to length.
It is best to cut the bottom (E) after the birdhouse is assembled.
Locate the entry and peg holes onto the rough side of the front work-piece. Clamp the work-piece onto a scrap piece of wood (the approximate size of the front panel). Make sure you don't accidentally drill into the workbench.
Install a 3/8" diameter drill into your drill and bore the hole, making sure the drill is as perpendicular as possible. The backer board will minimize wood tear-out on the back side of the work-piece. Then install a 1-1/4" spade bit into your drill and bore out the entry hole.
Assemble the birdhouse on a flat workbench surface. Pre-drill each nail hole as you go. Use a nail set to sink the nail head (for finishing nails only). If you have waterproof glue, apply it to each joint.
Now, measure the bottom birdhouse opening and cut the bottom (E) 1/8" narrower than the opening. Then set your saber saw to cut the 30 degree bevel on two of the sides (refer to the construction diagram).
The bottom panel is secured to the lower portion of the birdhouse with three (3) wood screws. The bottom is allowed to pivot so that the birdhouse can be periodically cleaned out.
Rest the birdhouse on the workbench. Mark the drilling locations of all the screws (refer to the construction diagram).
Equip your drill with a drill bit slightly larger than the screw shank. Drill holes into the panels. Then countersink these holes with a countersink. You can also buy a combination pre-drilling/countersinking tool which will do both operations at the same time (refer to step-by-step photos).
Position the bottom in place and secure the three wood screws.
Pre-drill the finishing nail holes for securing the roof (B) workpieces. You can also glue these in place if you wish. Sink all finishing nail heads. Note that each roof overhangs the birdhouse equally on each side. Ours overhangs the front/back 1 inch.
Cut the dowel peg (F) to length with your saber saw from a longer piece of material. Slightly round one end of the dowel by sanding it. Then glue the dowel into the front of the birdhouse.
Dull all showing edges of the birdhouse with sandpaper. There is no need to sand the flat surfaces.
Hang the birdhouse from a suitable branch. Drive two 1/2" screw eyes into the roof. Both should be near but not at the joint. One screw eye should be secured to one roof top and the one secured to the other.
Wrap a medium gauge wire to the screw eyes and wrap the opposite ends to the tree branch. Each year remove the front screw to pivot the bottom for cleaning.
You can also mount the bottom panel to a stump or post, cut perpendicular to the ground. This option means that the house will pivot for cleanout.
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