I have always loved log cabins........big cedar logs, huge stone fireplaces, and a pleasant outdoorsy feel. There's just something special about log cabins. Someday I hope to build a log cabin of my own somewhere out in the middle of nowhere! But until then, I'll have to keep it small scale and build mini cabins. Like well...a log cabin for birds!
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Step 1: Cut Out Patterns
Print and cut out the patterns. Trace the patterns onto wood, and cut the shapes out. Depending on the thickness of your wood, you'll have to adjust these patterns a little bit.
Step 2: Glue Together
Glue the walls to the base, and glue the gables to the walls. I used Tightbond wood glue, if you plan on hanging it outside, you'll want to use a waterproof wood glue, like Tightbond 2. I made mine mainly for decor, and it turned out too nice to hang outside. But it's up to you.
Step 3: Gather Logs
While your waiting for the glue to dry, go and gather your "logs". Find dead branches 1"-2" in diameter. Cedar, pine, and oak are all very pretty woods. For log cabins and log furniture, I prefer cedar.
Step 4: Prep the Logs
I have tools for creating cedar log furniture, so I am fairly well set up for preparing the logs. If you have tools to makeshift what i'm doing then do it! But if not the logs look great with bark on too.
1. Get eye protection and work gloves (I know i'm not a big fan of eye protection either...trust me though, if you don't your eyes will be glazed with saw dust)
2. Take off the knobby parts, and pointy parts off the log using a band saw
3. Using a grinder with a sander adapter further smooth out the roughness of the log
4. Using a draw knife take the rest of the bark off the log (turns out I ended up using just the grinder for most of the finishing)
Once your log is finished it should be smooth and without bark.
Step 5: Split the Logs
Now use the band saw to split the log in half. This half of a log will be what you glue to the outside of the birdhouse to give it the log cabin look. Test the split log on a flat surface to make sure it sits level on the surface. Next cut the split logs down to the right size.
five 7" split logs
three 5 1/2" split logs
two 6" split logs
five 7 1/2" split logs
three 6" split logs
two 5 1/2" split logs
The differing lengths is for alternating overlap. The amount of logs you'll need will also depend on the diameter of the logs you get.
Step 6: Glue on Logs
Now start by gluing the 7" logs to the front of the house. If you need to, sand the edges of the logs flat so they fit to each other. I overlapped the logs to make it look more like a cabin. Next glue a short 5 1/2" log to the right side, then overlap the short end with a long 7 1/2" log on the back, then overlap the back side's short end with a long 6" log on the left side. Then start over on the right side with a 6" log, then this time the long board on the back will overlap the left side, and so on all the way up. If it is not clear exactly how to do the overlap look at the pictures for further clarity.
Step 7: Detailing the Front
After the logs are glued to the cabin use a 1 1/2" forstner bit to drill out the entry. Then find a small stick for the perch, and drill out a hole large enough for it to barely fit inside. Spread wood glue on the perch and slide it into the hole.
Step 8: The Porch
Now you are going to assemble the porch, start by cutting out a slot for the porch posts out of the base. The slot should .5" x .5", just wide enough for the post to fit in. Glue the porch post in place and your ready for a porch roof! Spread some glue on the top of the porch posts, and on the far edge of the porch roof. Put the roof in place and either clamp it down or hold it until the glue sets.
Step 9: The Front Roof
Next spread glue on the front of both gables and glue the front roof down.
Step 10: The Back Roof
Now spread glue on the back of both gables, and put the back roof in place.
Step 11: Paint and Finish
Now you can paint the roof, or if you prefer the wood color, you can just leave it. Traditional colors for log cabin roofing is red or green. I choose red, if you are going to spray paint, then do it before you glue the roofing on. But if your doing regular paint and brush, then it's fine after the gluing. To finish the logs, you can either just leave them alone, or to bring out the color a little more, you can apply several coats of polyurethane. Brush it on and wipe off the excess. Also now is a good time to add on any extra decor like I added some supports on the gables, or you might want to add some railing to the porch, whatever it might be now is a good time. If you plan on hanging it add several eye hooks to the roof.
Step 12: Finished!
Your finished! Give yourself a pat on the back...enjoy your handiwork...but don't take too long cause then you gotta go clean up the mess you made in the workshop.
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