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The Bark’s DIY First Place Winner—Advanced Level


Apply liberal amounts of glue all over the first layer of ply. I used a small medium nap paint roller and pan of glue to apply a lot quickly, then went over it with a serrated putty knife to be sure it was spread evenly. You have to be quick! Do this later in the morning, after you've had your coffee. As soon as the glue is spread, apply the second layer of bending ply, again starting at the rear, lots of clamps to hold in place, allowing space for the straps top, middle and bottom, straps slightly away from the edge (deja vu yet?) Snug the straps lightly, massage the ply, back to front, to make sure it's seating all around, especially the flatter sections, as the straps can't apply as much pressure there - the straps can actually apply lots of pressure where the bends are tightest in rear and front and prevent the flatter section on top from sliding around forward to seat fully if you just crank the straps tight. Crank the straps down, check the outside edge to see if there's an equal reveal all around indicating the ply is seated. Wipe the glue joint on each side with your finger or a small putty knife to clean up some now and have less scraping later. Breathe, relax. Let everything set up overnight. In the morning, remove all clamps and straps. Clean up the joint between top and sides with the scraper. Now is the time to prime the interior – almost.

Making and installing floor supports:

First we must make the two strips that support the bottom. They measure ⅞" x ¾” x 24", and are attached to the inside bottom edges of the sides, just above the tangent point of the ⅛” routed edge (on the flat part, not to put too fine a point on it). They are cut long and held in place, tight against the rear brace, and scribed to the curve of the front edge. Cut this curve on the band saw, sand smooth, rout the inside top and bottom edges with the ⅛” round-over bit, glue in place and clamp till dry.

Set the carcass upright and, having figured your paint scheme already mark it with a pencil line, which is extended across the front and back of the now two-layered top. Many trim variations are possible, but the simplest is a straight line dividing the top and bottom colors.  I made a rough measurement and cut a piece of flashing a bit long, placed the cut piece on the top and taped it to the line in front, marked the rear line on the flashing and removed it and cut it to length. Note: you can use a backing board and a straightedge to sandwich the flashing, then cut with a mat knife (it'll take five or six strokes to get through it), then file the edge smooth.

PDF: Download a PDF including instructions and sketches.

Michael has been a woodworker for over 45 years. He began to make vintage camper birdhouses for fun, prompted by an avid interest in bird photography. Now he sells his birdhouses and dog houses on Etsy.


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