Summer Holidays for Chicken (using Poor Man's Fibreglass)

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Introduction: Summer Holidays for Chicken (using Poor Man's Fibreglass)

About: I like building things mainly from wood or metal. Especially if they look complicated to make, then I like to think about how to make it. And I love it when the result looks good.

Our pet chicken has not left our back yard in the past 9 years. Since it is now summer holidays season, I thought that I would make a nice shelter for her that looks like a tent, to give some additional variation in her life. Our chicken is never locked up so she can walk and sit where she likes in our back yard. We have a large chicken coop, but our chicken likes to sit somewhere where she can see us, so she often sits next to one of the windows of our house. When I put the new shelter there, she can use it to hide from the rain and still see us.

In this project I used poor man's fibreglass. I read about it on the internet and wanted to try this technique on a small scale project like this tent.

Supplies

I used left over pieces of wood to make this project.

For the poor man's fibreglass I used old bed sheets, wood glue and some left over paint.

Step 1: Make the Floor

I used parts of an old pallet to make the floor under the tent. When I put the 6 pieces of pallet wood next to eachother it gave me a surface of 80x85 cm and I like that size.

Since the wood hade been laying around a long time, part of the wood was quite dirty. Since we have water all around our back yard, I used a wet brush to clean the wood. Some ducks immediately came to see what I was doing. It was a sunny day and the wood did not get soaking wet, so it dried quickly again.

I used a hammer and some nails to join the pieces together and after that I painted it green to make it look a bit like grass.

I keep the floor a separate piece, so the tent can just be lifted off and the floor can be cleaned when that is needed.

Step 2: Measure the Pieces

On the first photo you see the 5 pieces that I cut to make the tent. I wrote the dimensions on each piece, so it kind of serves like a drawing.

I collected several pieces of scrap wood and marked where I had to cut them. On side of the roof is made from a few smaller pieces that I glues together, because I did not have enough large pieces of wood.

Step 3: Cut to the Right Size

I used a small circular saw to make the straight cuts and I used a jig saw to cut the curves. It is an easy design so cutting the wood did not take much time.


In this project I used the small workbench that I made a few months ago:

Traveler Workbench With Adjustable Feet and Cerused Oak Legs : 30 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables

Step 4: Bevel on Sides (optional)

The two pieces of plywood that I used for the sides of the tent already had a 45 degree bevel. It is not really needed to add this bevel. I just used it, because it was already present at the left over pieces that I used.

Step 5: Cutting Slats

I had to join several pieces of plywood. It would not be a strong joint, when I just screwed one piece of plywood into the side of the other piece of plywood, so I decided to use some small slats to reinforce the corners.

Again I used left-over pieces of wood. I just placed a slat on the back side of the tent and marked where I had to cut it. Then I continued with the next piece until I had a total of 8 pieces, which was wat I needed to join all the corners together.

Step 6: Gluing the Slats to the Plywood

I added wood glue to the slats, used my finger to spread the glue over the entire side of the slat and then placed the slat on the plywood. I added some clamps and let it sit for about half an hour.

I first did the backside of the tent and then repeated the same process on the front side of the tent.

Step 7: Adding Screws

Although wood glue is quite strong already, I like to add some screws for additional strength. So when the glue had set, I flipped the backside of the tent so that the plywood was on top and the slats underneath.

Then I drilled holes, but just through the plywood and not into the wood of the slat. I added a small piece of tape on the drill bit to indicate how deep I had to drill the hole. The diameter of the hole is the same as the outer diameter of the screws. Then I used a special drill bit to taper the top part of the hole that I drilled, to create some space for the head of the screw. And after that I added the screws.

In the meantime our chicken was watching what I was doing. I really enjoy having her around when I am doing something in the back yard. Sometimes she is in the way, but usually it is just nice to have an animal around.

Step 8: Assembly

The assembly process was quite easy. I drilled some holes for the screws in the sides and in the roof, added some glue and then I screwed the pieces together.

I made sure the screws went into the slats that were behind the plywood.

Step 9: Additional Slat on the Top

Since the top of the roof had a V-shape and would collect water, I decided to add a slat to the top of the roof. I used a knife to round off the sides of this slat and then glued it in place.

Step 10: Test

This is how far I was at the end of the day. I placed the tent on the floor and kindly asked the chicken if she liked it.

She was mainly interested in the grain that I dropped in the tent, but at least she did go inside :-)

Step 11: Poor Man's Fibreglass

I read on the internet about poor man's fibreglass. The idea is that you glue fabric to wood and after that paint the fabric. The paint will be reinforced by the fibers of the fabric and therefore it should form a waterproof layer.


The process that I followed is:

Add wood glue on the surface of the wood and make sure the wood is completely covered with wood glue. Then use an old piece of bed sheet and place that on the wood. Make sure to go around the edges with the bed sheets, so the sides of the wood are covered too. Then use scissors to remove the access fabric. Let the glue set for at least one day.


Some lessons that I learned:

  • Don't do this outside on a windy day. The fabric will then already get in contact with the glue when you do not yet want that.
  • Make sure you have plenty of wood glue. I used about half of this large bottle for this project.
  • I used my hand to spread the wood glue, but the result is that my hands were dirty and wood glue also ended up at the outside of the fabric. I think it will work better to use a brush or roller to spread the glue.
  • I do recommend to try a small scale project first before trying a large project. It is not difficult, but it is good to get a feel for it first.

Step 12: Paint

I did not add any fabric to the inside as that should not get wet from the rain.

I painted the inside white and waited a day before I painted the outside blue.

On the internet I read that some people used 5 coats of paint on the poor man's fiberglass. It seems a bit overdone to me, so I only used 2 coats of paint for this project. I will monitor how well it works and maybe I will add one or more additional coats of paint later.

Step 13: Flying to the Summer Holiday Location

Our chicken very often sits outside of the window of our kitchen, especially when we are there around dinner time. After dinner one of us goes outside with some treat for her and when she sees the door being opened, she flies there. But with some imagination you could see it as if she is flying to her summer holiday location.


If you want to know how I made the concrete chicken, you can check this Instructable:

Several Methods to Use Cement to Make Concrete Chickens : 13 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables

Step 14: Enjoy

It is easy to move the tent around, so for the next few days it will be in this location.

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    22 Comments

    0
    David7k
    David7k

    10 days ago

    Where I from poor man's fiberglass is mix of concrete & water.

    Simply mix two together to a thickness that suits your project, dip the sheet into mix.

    Take it out let access drip off and put on to your project & work it into position.

    As concrete dries slowly it gives you time to place it way you like.

    Leave it to dry in shady spot to dry for 2 to 3 days.

    It bonds to any surface & protects your project from weather, & it's waterproof.

    Pigments can be add to mix to give your project some colour.
    This concept can be used to make endless amounts of projects.

    0
    Liebregts
    Liebregts

    Reply 10 days ago

    Thanks. I did not know that the cement also makes it waterproof. This indeed makes an endless amount of projects possible.

    0
    terrefirma2
    terrefirma2

    Reply 5 days ago

    Cement isn't really waterproof, it will also mildew. Stick with what you have.

    0
    David7k
    David7k

    Reply 4 days ago

    I've made dozens of customers orders using this concrete method over 20+ years and never had an order returned or mildew problem.
    It takes some learning to get mix right, once you have possibility's are endless.
    This swan is not my making, method is same/ similar to what I do with concrete mix and is water proof and protects timber quite well.

    0
    David7k
    David7k

    Reply 10 days ago

    I like using this technique as it repel rain to a point & will not crack or pill in sun.
    If you wish to make project truly water proof mix 2 parts Bondcrete to 10 parts of the mix.
    Once dry it will repel or hold water, as I made water fountain once using this method.
    Forgot to say, you have one very well pampered chicken.

    0
    Liebregts
    Liebregts

    Reply 10 days ago

    Thanks again.

    0
    terrefirma2
    terrefirma2

    5 days ago

    I really appreciated seeing the picture of your chicken flying! I know they 'can' but never seem to do it in from of people; shy?

    0
    Liebregts
    Liebregts

    Reply 4 days ago

    I think that chickens cannot really fly. Our chicken can jump onto something of maximum 3 feet from the ground. Then she flies from that high point and lands at the ground maximum 15 feet from where she started. So she can only fly if she has an elevated starting point and still she cannot fly very far. But is really nice to see and she does it every day as she gets a treat after our dinner every day.

    0
    Hrollur
    Hrollur

    8 days ago

    Such a feel-good instructable! I love it. You have one happy chicken.
    I will try your poor man's fiberglass, as well as other fiberglass "recipes" below!

    0
    Liebregts
    Liebregts

    Reply 6 days ago

    Thanks. You can also look on the internet as this poor man's fiberglass is used by other people too with some variation in recipe.

    0
    trike road poet
    trike road poet

    6 days ago

    What a sweet project, really fits the yard and the chicken seems to like the 'tent'. The poorman's fiberglass is a great out door project finishing idea, thanks for passing it on!

    0
    Liebregts
    Liebregts

    Reply 6 days ago

    Thank you. I put a treat in the "tent" every day now and the chicken is regularly checking if the is something there.

    0
    ArthurJ5
    ArthurJ5

    10 days ago

    I build a lot of model rockets and fiberglass can be heavy which isn’t good for rockets with moderate sized motors. What I ended up using was a pair of pantyhose over the cardboard rocket tube and then painted it with gloss polyurethane until smooth. It’s pretty strong, light, and it finishes well. Composites can be really strong and pretty simple. I will consider composite roofing for my projects now.

    Your chicken is spoiled! Nice looking bird.

    0
    Liebregts
    Liebregts

    Reply 9 days ago

    I like the idea of using panty hose. That will give a nice finish around smaller objects.
    Thanks for your comment.

    0
    MikeW308
    MikeW308

    11 days ago

    Take a look at boat paint. There is above the water line and below the water line. A couple of cotes using above the water line are all you need for the roof. I think boat paint contains epoxy making it waterproof and very long-lasting. I like the poor man's fiberglass. A trim roller works fantastic to put on the glue or paint. Boat paint is self-leveling so you could perhaps skip the glue. I made a box from mdf and the wood has never gotten wet or it would have disintegrated. The box has been out in the weather for the last 5 years.

    0
    Liebregts
    Liebregts

    Reply 10 days ago

    Thanks. If MDF can stay outside without getting wet, it really works well. I will try the boat paint.

    0
    tleet59
    tleet59

    11 days ago

    Lucky chicken!

    0
    RandyPerson
    RandyPerson

    11 days ago

    I have used glue on sheet stock, and both from other directions and experience, you don't need to use it full strength. Using a "yellow carpenter's glue" like Elmer's Carpenter's Glue or Titebond, dilute it half and half with water. It's still really sticky, spreads better, and forms a good, smooth bond. Tip: Don't dump all the water on top of the glue. You can wind up with a glue blob floating in the water. Add a little water, stir in, then do the rest a little at a time. Spread with a brush or roller. Cheap bristle brushes work well, especially if cleaned right away. A silicone kitchen brush, as made for spreading sauces and stuff, works even if you let the glue dry. It won't stick, and flex the bristles and it comes off easily.

    0
    Liebregts
    Liebregts

    Reply 11 days ago

    Thanks for this advice. I will try that on my next project.

    0
    Cat_at_heart
    Cat_at_heart

    12 days ago

    I love the way you treat your chicken! And she looks very happy and healthy. The vacation cottage is really cute too!