My three year old daughter has a love for animals. After we found a birds nest in our yard and the eggs eaten by rodents, she decided that we should build them a house so that they were safe from the rats. Lily could not decide what shape she wanted to make the house, so she said we should make three, a circle, a square, and a triangle. Obviously a wood circle while doable, would be a little difficult for a three year old to help with so I came up with this design.
1 x 6" piece of 4" diameter PVC
1 x 4" PVC end cap
1 x 4" PVC coupling
1 x 4" to 2" reducer bushing
2 x 3/16" diameter, 1" Length eye bolts w/ nuts
1 x 1' piece of small gauge chain
1 stick or dowel approximately 5/16" in diameter
(optional) PVC safe paint
Drill (3/16" bit and 5/16" bit)
Disclaimer: using power tools is inherently dangerous, please be sure to educate yourself on the dangers and proper methods for their use. Always wear proper safety equipment and be sure to keep your children safe as well. When using spray paint and other solvents, always work in a well ventilated area.
Step 1: Cut the Flange Off of the Bushing
To allow for more interior room, and to make it possible to insert the bushing backwards with the ribbed side toward the interior of the house and make the exterior look a little cleaner.
We used a machinists lathe to take the thickness of the pipe bushing down to about 3/4".
The most important part of this process is the teaching aspect. Teaching the safe and proper way to use tools.
Do not stand in line with the material spinning on the lathe, wear your safety glasses and do not force the cutting tool.
The removal of the flange can be accomplished with a saw, but in our case, using a power saw is a little more dangerous for my daughter to help and using a hand powered hack saw is a little too tedious and likely to lose her interest. So when you throw all of that together, with the better finish created by the lathe, that made the decision for me.
Step 2: Install the Back Wall of the House.
Install the cap on one end of the pipe segment. Using a rubber mallet allows for a complete installation without damaging the exterior surface of the house.
PVC cement is not required for this project. When assembling fittings of this size, the friction fit is enough to provide a secure attachment.
Step 3: Install Front Door Frame.
Install the PVC coupling on the opposite end of the pipe segment. Invert the assembly onto a solid surface with the coupling facing down. This will allow you to use the rubber mallet on the pipe cap to assemble the coupling.
Step 4: Install the Eye Bolts to Hang the House.
Using the 3/16" drill bit and drill (my "Lily size" 12V compact drill in this case), drill two holes on the same center line of the pipe, about an inch from the inside edge of the coupling and cap.
Install the eye bolts and nuts (nuts were supplied in the hardware pack from home depot). Tighten the bolts.
Step 5: Install the Entrance Perch.
Drill a 5/16" hole in the bushing approximately a half inch below the entrance hole.
Using a piece of 5/16" dowel create and install the perch. My daughter decided to use a stick because that is what the birdies sit on when they are in the trees. We found a good size forked stick so the mommy and daddy bird would both have a place to sit. Using a carving knife we whittled the end of the stick down to the correct size to wedge into its mounting hole.
Step 6: Install the Hanging Chain
Using a pair of pliers open a link at either end of the chain (or if you are using welded chain, install S hooks by bending the hook closed to the chain link). Insert the eye bolts into the open chain links and bend them back closed.
Now you are ready to hang the birdies' new home. Enjoy watching your new neighbors enjoying their new home!