This instructable will show you how to make a simple 3'x2'x6' wooden + wire cage for small birds such as doves or specialty game birds. This peticular cage is designed to be partially taken apart and flattened in order to store when not in use and take up minimal space. Also, everywhere possible I'm going to re-use, reduce, and recycle all of the materials used in this project.
First of all, before I start, I'd like to explain a little about myself. I live on a small acreage in the prairies north of the 49th parallel. My mom and sister run an animal rescue. And often they bring in animals in these tiny little boxes not fit for my coffee to come in (and I do like my coffee). So as the one who complains, and the handy-man of the family I often get conscripted into building things for the rescue. My latest was this project, which after seeing the United States of Efficiency Contest, decided to document. Part of my contest entry I'd like to explain my green attitude. If it ain't broke don't fix it. If it is broke, keep it. Infact the variety of new use that can be shown here is pretty good, and I often forget about it. The shop that I built this project in was actually towed to the farm from the city with a tractor. The cupboards in it are all refurbished from a smoke damaged appartment complex. The garage doors on both my garage (also towed here) and my shop were reclaimed from fires as well. Infact, this portion of land where my yard is, has almost nothing freshly built. The barn was once towed here from down the road, in two pieces mind you. And even our summer kitchen and wood shed have been brought here. If we hadn't taken these buildings they would have been demolished. And as you can see in the pictures I've provided, they're in no condition to be thrown away like trash. My family has a pretty extensive construction background, and thus, the minimal damage to these buildings have all been fixed quite well.
What you're going to need for this project:
1cm grid small animal wire approx. 17'
a selection of used, refurbished, or recycled lumber
1 sheet of 1/4" plywood
a few handfuls of 1 1/2' roofing nails
a large handful of 1/2' roofing nails
a large mittful of 2" -3" deck screws
some music always helps
a dozen or so 1" screws
what I used is a bandsaw, skillsaw, cordless drill, hammer, and a 3' and 1' 90 degree square and also don't forget the ever important tinsnips or wirecutter whatever your prefference.
Step 1: Step One Gathering Materials
This is the portion of the job where you run around like a chicken with it's head cut off finding dodads and scraps. Luckily my shop happens to be where that's all stored.
Well, I started by buying a sheet of plywood, and putting that off to the side for now. And finding s bunch of old 2x4s and 1x6's which had been gently used as roofjacks or spacers on a ladder rack, so few nail holes and for the most part not very weathered. Also, because I'm a roofer and I do siding as well, nails fall on the ground alot, and never get reused. I started collecting them as a child cuz I was convinced I was going to save up a dump truck load full, recycle it and get enough money to buy the world. hmmf. So the nails are recycled. Back when i was in the treefort building age, I had a collection of door paraphenalia, so I have alot of old re-used and recylced hinges. The wire I had to buy.
So step one:
You're building a 2'x3'x6' bird cage, so the space inside the cage should be key. So i opted to do an overlap with my framework instead of butting the pieces up against eachother. All in all I lose about a squarefoot of cage if I wire it on the inside, but I want to be able to put other animals in the cage too so, I plan to wire the inside.
So to build the frame you need:
2x 6foot 2x4 or whatever you're using (back top and bottom)
8x 3foot 2x4 (standing sides)
2x 6foot 1x4 (front top and bottom)
and because I opted to center the door, I had to reinforce the front, which Is why I use 1x4 this way I can build the wire into the framework, it works great for having the door recessed into the frame, but if that isn't a concern I advice you use 2x4 for the front, it's alot stronger in case you want to put heavy objects on top of the cage.
You'll also need a few 1x4 pieces varying sizes but all less than 3' I prefer to cut these after the frame is assembled, because the wire tends to get in the way, and you are bound to lose a little bit... maybe even a half inch.
So start cutting.