This nesting box is large enough for a family of five. The entrance is protected from the arms of predators by a four inch shelf, it also serves as a sun shade for the new born. The hinged base makes it easy to clean or inspect without removal. The average cost of materials is less than twenty five dollars. It can be easily completed in a weekend.
Here is what you'll need.
Materials: 10' 1 x 8 Pine (#3 common)
2 ea. 2" galvanized strap hinges/with screws
1 set 1" eye hook
1 ea. 1/4-20 x 2" carriage bolt with wing nut and flat washer.
45 ea. 6d galvanized finish nails (approx.)
2 ea. Sand paper #100 grit
1 cn. Putty filler Woodworkers glue
Power drill 2 1/2" hole saw
Drill bits: 3/32" 1/8" 1/4"
Table saw or radial arm saw
Screwdrivers straight and phillips
Using the table or radial arm saw cross cut the following lengths from the 1 x 8 pine board; 3 each 18" long 2 each 12" long 2 each 9" long 1 pc. 4" long Set the saw for a 30 degree angle, set the fence to 7 1/4" and rip 2 of the 18" and 2 of the 12" boards. Reset the fence to 6 3/4" turn the 18" long boards over and rip again. These will be used for the roof. The 12" pair will be used for the sides. Set the saw back to 90 degrees, set the miter gauge to 30 degrees. Find and mark the center of each 9" board, using the miter gauge cut from the center to the edge of each board. Be sure to allow for the thickness of the blade.
Next, set the fence to 5 " then cut the remaining 4" board. This will be used as the shelf. Select one of the gable end boards, find the center of the peak and draw a vertical line measure up from the bottom 7" and mark the center for the hole. Using the drill with a 2 1/2" hole saw, drill the hole. Sand the edges on both sides of the board. Assemble the sides, with the front and rear gables.
Using 6d finish nails through the face edge of the ends into the sides, use at least 2 nails in each, 3 would be preferred. Insert the shelf between the two inside walls below the hole in the front gable end. Insure that it is square to each side and attach with 6d finish nails. Using two per side. Place one side of the roof so it aligns with the peak of each gable. Nail through the roof into the end using 6d finish nails.
Repeat this with the other side of the roof. Then drive several finish nails at 3 inch intervals to secure the peak. Lightly mark to roof edge so that its above the side walls and drive several finish nails down through the roof into the side walls. Remove any uneven areas at the peak with 100 grit sandpaper.
Once the box is finished, attach it to the floor board with the hinges. Place each hinge one inch in from the edge and attach them to the front wall of the box. The other side should be attached to the floor board. This will enable the box to be tilted forward for access to the interior.
Using the square find and mark the center of the back end of the rear wall and edge of the floor board. Draw a line down the edge of the floor board. Then place another mark from the bottom of the floor board. Insert the eye half of the eye hook set. Then measure the length of the hook and mark off that distance on the vertical line. Insert the hook half of the set. Find the balance point of the nest box by place it on a pencil or small dowel rod.
Drill a 1/4" hole in the center and at the balance point. Insert the 1/4-20 x 2 1/4" carriage bolt and tap the head into place. This will attach the nest box to the bracket. 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.
You may what to read the section on making a tree bracket. This will make it easier to attach the nesting box to the tree.