Introduction: DIY Log Cabin Bird House

Picture of DIY Log Cabin Bird House

The idea to build this log cabin bird house came after storm Ophelia passed over Ireland on the 16th October 2017 causing a lot of damage to property and also uprooting and knocking trees. During a brief let up in the winds I ventured outside for a look around only to hear and see a hedge nearby alive with birds taking shelter from the storm. I don't know if they were frightened or if it was the sheer number of them but the noise they were making was deafening. I would never cut down a tree to make a bird house so I spent some time the following day collecting small branches and sticks that had been broken or had fallen during the storm. This project was made using only hand tools.

Step 1: Have a Look at the Video Below.

Have a look at the video above to see how I built the log cabin from start to finish.

Step 2: Tools & Materials

Picture of Tools & Materials

The only hand tools needed for this build are:

A hammer

Hand saw

Tenon saw

Hatchet

Utility knife and blades

Materials:

Sticks

Some pieces of pallet wood (Roof)

Panel pins

Polythene

Grass sod

Chicken wire

Staples

Glue

Step 3: Cutting the Base and Logs.

Picture of Cutting the Base and Logs.

I started off by cutting a piece of the pallet wood to 8 inches (200 mm) x 6 inches (150 mm). This piece will eventually become the floor of the bird house but to start I will use it to set the size of the cabin. Using my tenon saw for a finer cut, I cut a number of pieces of sticks for the front, back and sides.

Step 4: Debarking.

Picture of  Debarking.

Next using a utility knife I striped all the bark from the sticks. The sticks I used were from a mix of 3 trees. Ash, hazelnut but I don't know what the third type was. The bark came away easily as the wood was still very fresh.

Step 5: Setting Out.

Picture of  Setting Out.

I set the sticks around the pallet wood base and marked the intersections where they cross over with a pencil.

Step 6: Cutting the Joints.

Picture of Cutting the Joints.

I then marked a curve to half the width of the sticks and set about carefully cutting out the curve with a sharp utility knife. This process does take a bit of time. I test fitted the joints as I went and did adjustments where required.

Step 7: Nailing.

Picture of  Nailing.

When I was happy with the joints I applied a little exterior wood glue before nailing it with a panel pin in each joint.

Step 8: Building the Logs.

Picture of Building the Logs.

Once the first set of logs (sticks) were pinned it was just a matter of fitting each log in the same way as before until I reached the height I was happy with. For the entrance I fitted a log as normal and then cut the ope before pinning it. For the last two logs on each side I left then about a half inch longer, this was to create an overhang for the roof.

Step 9: Setting Out the Roof.

Picture of Setting Out the Roof.

The roof pitch is somewhere around 25-30 degrees. I cut a few rafters and pinned them together before attaching them to cabin. I was going to add more rafters but felt it did not need them as these rafters were going to be attached to the gables and this would be good enough to hold the roof. For the gable logs I marked them off the rafters to get the correct angle to cut them. I then pinned them in the same way as before.

Step 10: The Roof.

Picture of The Roof.

I needed something to support the grass roof so i used some pallet wood I had. Using a hatchet I cut off the edge to form a miter along the ridge where the two pieces of the wood would meet. You don't really have to do this as it will all eventually be covered but I did. When I was happy with the fit I attached all the pieces of wood for the roof using panel pins.

Step 11: Trim - Fascia

Picture of Trim - Fascia

I added some trim/fascia also make from sticks all around the edge of the roof . This was to hide the edges of the grass when it was fitted and also to hide the edges of the pallet wood i used for the roof.

Step 12: Attaching the Base.

Picture of Attaching the Base.

At this stage I attached the base that I had cut earlier. I just used longer panel pins to do this. I may need to remove the base again some time to clean the inside and it should be easy enough to it by removing the pins I put in.

Step 13: Waterproofing.

Picture of Waterproofing.

To help protect the wood and waterproof the cabin I stapled on some polythene and then some chicken wire. This was to hopefully prevent the grass sod from slipping on the polythene. I trimmed off some of the extra polythene at this stage.

Step 14: Grass Sod.

Picture of  Grass Sod.

I went to a corner of my garden, far away from view and using a knife I cut up some grass sod. Take your time doing this and peel a little at a time until it is removed. Place the sod onto the roof and gently pack it into place and cut off any excess. I am not entirely sure how well the grass roof will hold up over time. It should be fine for autumn, winter & spring in Ireland anyway but I fear in the summer months it will dry out if not watered. Time will tell.

Step 15: The Finished Log Cabin.

Picture of The Finished Log Cabin.

And this is it! The finished log cabin bird house. I hope you like it and maybe have a go making one. It is an easy project to make using only a few hand tools but it will require a little patience when doing the joints. This will probably be the biggest log cabin I will ever get to make so I think that's why I spent the time doing all the joints where I could have came up with something a lot quicker and easier to make. I am glad I spent the time making it and am very happy with the result and I think it was a good way to use some of the fallen wood from the storm. The rest will probably end up in my stove!

If you would like to see more projects from me you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here:Eamon Walsh DIYThank you.

Comments

saw4980 (author)2017-11-05

Looks like a nice project to complete with my grandson~!

eamonwalshdiy (author)saw49802017-11-06

Great idea, It would be a lovely project to do together.

4DIYers (author)2017-11-02

Wow, that's really well done. Haven't seen anything like it before.

eamonwalshdiy (author)4DIYers2017-11-03

Thank you!!

jimknorr8020 (author)2017-10-31

Nice job, now I know what to do with the huge pile of Lincoln logs the kids not longer use. I would hinge the bottom board to serve as a clean out door. This is going to be fun!

Hi, thank you.
I had never heard of Lincoln logs until the other day when someone else mentioned them. I would have loved them when I was younger. They would make a great bird house!

mlever (author)2017-10-30

Very nice and well written. Inspiration. I want to build a full size log cabin, but have zero experience in doing this. So, now I'll build a bird house first and learn in small scale before taking on a bigger project. Who knows, maybe I make the big one look like an oversized bird house :) Many thanks

eamonwalshdiy (author)mlever2017-11-01

Thank you.This was and will be the biggest log cabin il ever get to build. Yes i am sure it would be a good experience to do a model size one to get a feel for the work involved in making a big one! Good luck.

Neil2009 (author)2017-10-31

That's just fantastic. And everything my 6-yr-Old neighbor can and should (save the hatchet) do; especially make the bench hook! Very well done. Two Questions: why shave the bark and do you think that sod will last, even in the Emerald Isle?

eamonwalshdiy (author)Neil20092017-11-01

Hi, thank you. I only took the bark off for aesthetics. Most real size log cabin homes remove the bark as it can be a home for insects and trap moisture which will lead to the deterioration of the logs.
i think it should be fine in the winter spring and autumn months but it will dry out I think in the summer months unless watered so to answer you question I am not sure only time will tell! I will post up updates in the coming months to see how its getting on.

Jabi666 (author)2017-10-31

Lovely!

eamonwalshdiy (author)Jabi6662017-11-01

Thanks..

Alaskan Bev (author)2017-10-30

I've had my students make lots of birdhouses from scrap wood. I did allow them to use power sanders and power drills, as well as hole saws. We added science (bird studies), math (measurements), community safety (where to hang the nice new birdhouses), and of course, Art! Those kids did some awesome work!

Well done to them.

Tinker_001 (author)2017-10-30

Reminds me of Lincoln Logs. I suppose I could get my old kits from my mom and build a birdhouse. Great job and easy clear instructions. Thanks.

eamonwalshdiy (author)Tinker_0012017-10-30

Thank you.. I had to google Lincoln logs to see what they were! They would make a great bird house.

Barry6470 (author)2017-10-30

Absolutaly Brilliant, Well Done.

eamonwalshdiy (author)Barry64702017-10-30

Thanks Barry.

kgiri (author)2017-10-30

Great Work

eamonwalshdiy (author)kgiri2017-10-30

Thank you ..

misterxp (author)2017-10-30

That is beautiful! Can't wait to go down to the local golf course and get some turf! No really that is wonderful. I made a bird house last year and it looks like a horror house. Wish I had seen this before but may try to make it anyway. Thanks for sharing. You are a real craftsman!

eamonwalshdiy (author)misterxp2017-10-30

Thank you very much misterxp .Stay away from the golf course! :-)

John Morrissey (author)2017-10-30

Nice idea. Will definitely build one - or two. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you John!

tomsp8 (author)2017-10-30

Great job. It's amazing what can be done with only a couple basic

hand tools and natural materials. Not enough of that any more.

eamonwalshdiy (author)tomsp82017-10-30

Thanks Tom. I do like my power tools too though! :-)

MarleneM32 (author)2017-10-29

That is awesome! Rustic elegance It's nice to see a project that can be done with hand tools and costs next to nothing. You're an inspiration.

eamonwalshdiy (author)MarleneM322017-10-30

Hi Marlene, thank you very much for such a lovely comment!

ValentinR5 (author)2017-10-29

It's simple and esthetic, I Will adapt the House for my rats thanks you !

eamonwalshdiy (author)ValentinR52017-10-30

Thanks

diy_bloke (author)2017-10-28

looks great!!!

eamonwalshdiy (author)diy_bloke2017-10-30

Thanks diy_bloke!

laith mohamed (author)2017-10-28

spectacular ... great work

Thank you.

ClenseYourPallet (author)2017-10-26

Really great bird house! I love all the details

Thank you very much!

NanoRobotGeek (author)2017-10-26

Thats so aesthetic =O

Thank you.

mrsmerwin (author)2017-10-26

I love the sod roof. Maybe a few violets would look nice in the spring.

Swansong (author)mrsmerwin2017-10-26

I agree, that's a good idea to help insulate it :)

eamonwalshdiy (author)Swansong2017-10-26

Thank you!!

eamonwalshdiy (author)mrsmerwin2017-10-26

Thank you. That would look nice!

About This Instructable

6,636views

125favorites

License:

Bio: I like to make stuff for my home and garden from wood and metal..
More by eamonwalshdiy:Horseshoe Christmas TreeStorage BenchTurn an Old Bath Tub Into a Chair
Add instructable to: