Hello my fellow Instructapeeps,
I found a birdhouse very similar to this on the internet somewhere, ..theirs had a tractor, ...all very nice. However, I saw the potential for more. I have an adult son with moderate Asperger's and well, he just loves his computer time. I like to engage him in the shop on fun projects and the idea of us swapping out the tractor for a pair of four wheelers that matched ours really lit an interest in him.
Step 1: The Outer Birdhouses
The project itself is pretty straight forward I think.
We started with making the mirrored lower end units first with a 20 degree slope. The front pieces were about 6" x 7" from the barn board I had laying around. Once we had the sides cut, we cut a half inch in by 2 inches long a notch out of the longest sides of the front/back pieces. The ends for each sections worked out to be 4" wide by 5" long. Before assembly a point was marked at about 3/4 the way up the front of the front side and drilled (1 3/8") for the entry hole and the perch (1/4") about an inch below the entry hole. Nailed the sides and ends together with 1 3/4" finishing nails. We decided these parts didn't need bottoms as they would be fastened to the base anyway. We left the roof off for now.
Step 2: Top Section
We made the top section wider so that there was good room to display two four wheeler toys inside, the front/back were approximately 8" wide by 10" high. with a 45 degree roof slope. We first assembled the front/back to the end walls with 1 3/4" finishing nails. We measured, cut and assembled the bottom piece which was about 4" by 6".
Next, we attached the three birdhouses together with 2" wood screws that we predrilled for through the top angle of the lower mirrored birdhouse components. We left the roof boards square edged and cut an old broomstick for a top perch. The roof boards were visually aligned and predrilled and screwed to the front and back gables using 2" screws. By filling in the small gap under the broom stick perch with a smaller dowel and loads of sawdust and glue makes for a pretty water tight peak. The final securing of the broomstick peak was using two screws per side, pulling the top perch down tight. I do think my son enjoyed the sawdust and glue part as we made sure it was water tight with no cracks anywhere.
Step 3: Attaching the Base
The base is about 4" wider and 4" longer than the actual outside dimensions of the birdhouses. Set the birdhouse on the base, taking time to center it best you can and mark a line around the birdhouse as it sits on the base. Remove the birdhouse and predrill 1/8" holes in areas that are going to attach the birdhouse to the base.
Return the birdhouse to the base and drive a few screws up into the birdhouse to hold it fast. Now that has been secured it is ok to go ahead and attach the lower roofs (each roof piece has a 20 degree angle on one edge) to the birdhouse being careful to predrill and use 2" wood screws.
We found a few random do-hickeys and wood branch bits to add to it to dress it up a bit. If you want to use branches as well, be sure to predrill them before attaching so you don't split the stick.
The little slope roof covering the front side was an added touch and took a bit of creative cutting on the band saw so it fit there without looking bulky from a lower angle. We should have took pictures of how we managed that, but we were having too many laughs and we rolled right along. With the top three houses screwed together we set it on our intended base and marked its location on the base.
With it finally done and the acrylic gel medium securing the four wheelers in place all we had to do was find a spot for it. All in all it was as much a great experience and memory of time together.