This nesting box is large enough for a family of five. The entrance is protected from the arms of predators and also serves as a sun shade. The hinged base makes it easy to clean or inspect without removal. The average cost of materials should be under twenty five dollars. It can be easily completed in a weekend. Here is what you'll need.
10' - 1 x 8 Pine (# 3 common )
2' - 5/16" Dowel rod
2 ea. 2" galvanized strap hinges
2 ea. 1 " eye hooks
1 ea. 1/4-20 x 2" carriage bolt with wing nut and flat washer.
6 ea. #6 x 1" wood or drywall screws
45 ea. 6d finish nails (approx.)
10 ea. 4d finish nails (approx.)
2 ea. Sand paper #100 grit
1 cn. Putty filler
2 1/2" hole saw
drill bits 1/4", 5/16", 3/32"
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;
2 each 18" long 2 each 12" long 4 each 9" long 1 pc. 4" long 2 each 3/4" x 3/4" x 8" (column--trim to fit) 3 each 3/4" x 1/2" x 7" (railing--trim to fit) 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 3 nails in each.
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 sandpaper.
Layout the two floor pieces, attach the two strap hinges one inch in from either side. On the front half of the floor, mark off the two corner columns. Mark off four center lines at one inch intervals down each side and across the front. Set your combination square to 3/8" inch and place an intersecting mark at each center line. This will give you the center points for drilling the holes for the spindles. Layout the 1/2" by 3/4" railing pieces and transfer the center marks for each spindle.
Set your drill to a depth of 1/4" and drill a hole at each mark using a 5/16" drill bit. Cut the 5/16" dowel rod into fifteen 1 1/2" pieces. Place one in each floor hole and attach the railing, saw or sand to fit.
Cut the two corner columns to length, with a 30 degree angle at the top of each. Glue and nail the two corner columns in place. First through the floor and then through the roof. Be sure they are square with the floor board.
Attach the nesting box front wall to the front half of the completed floor check for alignment, then glue and nail into place.
With the spindles and railings assembled, glue and fasten them through the columns using 4d finish nails. Offset the front nails from the side nails to reduce splitting. Glue and then toenail the railing to the nesting box front wall. Set all nails and fill holes with putty.
Using the square find and mark the center of the back wall, nearest the floor. 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. Measure the length of the hook and mark off that distance on the vertical line. Insert the hook half of the set. Be sure the hook faces the rear of the box. Repeat this on the opposite of the box.
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 ax 2 1/4" carriage bolt and tap the head into place. This will attach the nest box to the bracket.
Go back to check each nail, and recess it with the nail set if necessary. Fill the holes with putty. Finally, check and sand all the edges, be sure there are no cracks, splits or 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.