The Basic Squirrel Nesting Box
This basic nesting box is large enough for a family of five. The high entrance hole protects the squirrels from the arms of predators. The hinged roof makes it easy to clean or inspect without removal. The average cost of materials is less than twenty dollars. It can be easily completed in a weekend. Here is what you'll need.
10' 1 x 8 Pine (#3 common or better)
2 ea. 2" galvanized strap hinges
1 ea. 1" eye hook
1 ea. Large utility hook.
12 ea. 1 1/4" wood or dry wall screws
45 ea. 6d galvanized finish nails (approx.)
2 ea. Sand paper #100 grit
1 cn. Putty filler
Power or hand drill
2 1/2" hole saw or coping saw
Drill bits: 3/32", 1/4" and 3/4"
Table saw, radial arm saw or hand saw and miter box.
Screwdrivers straight and Phillips
Using your saw cut the following lengths from the 1 x 8 pine board;
3 each 18" long
1 pc. 14" long
1 pc. 11" long
1 pc. 2 1/2" x 11" long
1 pc. 5 3/4" x 7 1/4" long
Set the saw for a 30 degree angle, cut a diagonal from the upper left corner to the right side of the two 18" sides.
Set the saw blade to 30 degrees, cut the top edges of the 14" front board and the 18" back wall board. Mark and cut a 5 3/4" x 7 1/4" board for the floor. Mark and crosscut two 11" boards, next rip one of them to 2 1/2" wide, these will be used for the shed roof.
Layout one of the side boards, mark a center for the hole 3 3/4" down from the top and 2 1/2" in from the back. Using the drill with a 2 1/2" hole saw, drill the hole. or mark the circle with a pencil, drill a 1/4" hole insert your coping saw blade and cut out the circle. Sand the edges on both sides of the board.
Assemble the sides, with the front and rear panels between them. Using 6d finish nails through the face edge of the ends into the sides, use at least 3 nails in each, 4 would be preferred.
Insert the floor between the two inside walls and the front and back panels. Rise the floor board 1/2" up on all sides, insure that it is square to each side and attach with 6d finish nails. Using two per each of the four sides.
Place the small piece of the roof so it aligns with the peak of the rear wall and overhangs equally on each side. Nail through the roof into each side using 6d finish nails. Butt the other roof piece into place, layout the two hinges over the seam, one inch in from either side. Mark the hole locations then drill a 3/32" pilot hole for each. Attach the hinges with the screws provided.
Remove any uneven areas at the seams and edges with 100 grit sandpaper.
Using the square find and mark the center of the front end panel at the top edge. Draw a line up underside of the roof board. Then make a mark 1/4" out from the wall and drill a 3/32" pilot hole. Insert the hook half of the eye hook set. With the roof panel closed find and mark the length of the hook. drill another 3/32" pilot hole and insert the eye half of the set.
With the remainder of the first roof board, rip a 3 1/2" x 11" piece and a 1 1/2" piece. The 3 1/2" strip will become the hanging bracket. Drill a 3/4" hole at the center of one end. With the center 1 1/2" down from the top. Attach this board with 1 1/4" wood screws to the back of the nest box. It should be 4" above the peak of the roof, and centered from side to side. Cut the 1 1/2" board to 8 3/4" long. Attach this to the back of the box 2" up from the bottom using 3 1 1/4" wood screws.
Go back to each nail, and recess it with the nail set. Filling the holes with putty. Finally, check and sand all the edges, be sure there are no slivers.
Painting is not required, but you can use a latex base Sanding sealer on the outside of the box if you desire. This will extend the life of the wood and retard the natural graying effect.
Your nesting box is now complete and ready to hang.
You should place the nesting box at least twenty five feet above the ground. It should be place on the south side of the tree when ever possible. The hole should also be located near an interior branch. Once you have found this location, insert the large hook, then hang the nest box from it.
Now just sit back and wait until the squirrel moves in.
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