Building 70birds Nest Boxes

 

Build nest boxes according to 25 nest box plans which are derived from USFWS and USGS recommended basic dimensions. These nest boxes simulate tree cavities in which more than 50 North American bird species will nest.

Just two dimensions define shape and volume: Inside square base and inside floor to ceiling height. Entrance opening measurements are diameter and height above the floor. A few species-specific entrance openings are not circular and have measured shapes.

a   floor dimensions
b   inside front floor to ceiling
c   inside floor to top of hole
d   hole diameter

Build nest boxes according to species dimensions provided by USGS and USFWS

Always Wear Eye Protection!
Eye injuries are the most common serious injury and the most easily prevented.

The plans and instructions on these pages aid understanding of shapes and measurements, how work pieces fit together, which materials might be used and where nest boxes might be located.

They do not explain how to operate manual or power saws and screw drivers to cut wood and drill holes, or how to position and climb ladders. These are trades crafts which require expert adult training and experience.

Power Tools Are Not Necessary!  Carpentry requires years of apprenticeship. You cannot learn to safely operate dangerous power saws, drills and sanders from the internet. Only professionals should cut and drill these wood work pieces. Even professionals sometimes lose fingers in a fraction of a second operating power saws.

70birds Nest Box Design

The 14º roof angle used in 70birds nest box plans corresponds to what framers and roofers often refer to as a "3:12 pitch", 3 units of rise (inches, feet, cm, etc.), to 12 units of horizontal length. It is a convenient ratio often used in simple carpentry.

A 3:12 pitch then is the same as 1:4, 1" of rise to 4" of horizontal distance.

Knowing the 1:4 rise to length ratio, one can easily determine the rise on any side panel using the floor dimensions, which are equal to side panel widths.

The height of the back edge of a side panel of 4" width is exactly 1" greater than the height of the front edge (1/4" rise for each 1" of width).

A side panel of 5" width differs from front to back by 1 1/4", one of 6" width rises 1 1/2" front to back, and so forth.

The inside height of the front panel is identical to the front edge height of a side panel.

This is where they are fastened together and the 14º planar surface of the side panel continues on to the front panel.

All dimensions except the long back panel and entrance opening can be arrived at knowing only the floor size and inside front ceiling height.

Side panel dimensions.
Front panel dimensions.

These plans are flexible. Depending on climate and sun exposure, the top of the front panel can be cut at 90º and 1/2" or 3/4" shorter to create a gap under the roof, which provides extra ventilation.

Tolerance on a birdhouse, which needs ventilation, is not very critical. Minor mistakes, gaps, etc. are not always a bad thing.

Be precise where panels are joined at right angles (90º), the four sides and the floor, where precision is easiest to accomplish. A good fit and fastening there will make for a very sturdy box.

Dimensions such as 31/64" are not meant to indicate the need for low tolerance. For simplicity, adjust to the next larger or smaller increment.

For example, adjust 31/64" to 32/64", which is equal to 1/2". Similarly, consider 27/32" to be between 13/16" and 7/8". This is plenty precise wood working for birdhouses.

For increased ventilation in warmer climates, floor and side panel corner gaps can be larger than plans specify. Some woodworkers may prefer strategically located holes for ventilation and leave wood panels whole.

Roof dimensions
Nest box floor dimensions

Hinges are suggested for easy access. Other methods for attaching roofs are just as good. However, most nest boxes are mounted out of reach for most people. Birdhouse mounting, monitoring and maintenance on ladders are awkward chores that require "three hands". Convenience increases safety when working at heights.

Original 50birds designs included hinged roofs secured with shutter hooks, although you may prefer Side Opening Doors, which are just as simple and possibly more convenient to work with on tall, deep duck, owl and woodpecker boxes.

Always use corrosion resistant screws and hardware. Drill countersunk pilot holes in primary work pieces (first piece the screw is inserted into). Drill regular pilot holes in secondary work pieces.

70birds nest box made with cedar.

Make pilot holes slightly larger in the primary work piece such that screws can be turned in easily without leaving room for movement. Screws should be more snug in secondary work pieces so that screws can be tightened, but not so tight as to split the wood or to strip the hole and loosen the screw.

Use a hand held screwdriver to assemble work pieces. This allows the crafts person to feel and better judge appropriate hole sizes and snugness.

Use softwood. Cedar is beautiful, easy to work with, is often rough-cut, or simulated so for fencing, which is good for grip, and it endures. When fresh, it has a repellant effect on some insect pests. Pine is also a good, abundant softwood.

Hardwoods are difficult to work with, heavier and more suited to fine joinery used in furniture. It's more work and not necessary.

3/4" stock is the most common. 5/8" stock where called for can be supplied with fencing material from most lumberyards. 5/8" stock is used on the smaller nest boxes because 3/4" stock is too thick and makes them look odd.

Watch for wood scrap piles at fence and home construction sites. These are good sources for the small sizes usually called for. You shouldn't have to pay for any wood if you keep your eyes peeled.

Where extra wide panels are required, fasten batten strips or chamfer strips perpendicular to two lesser-width vertical panels.

The wood layers of plywood will peel eventually as moisture will degrade a glue's adherence qualities. If you use plywood, paint the edges. Outdoor plywood contains chemicals, which may be release toxic odors.

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Building 70birds Nest Boxes

25 nest box plans are derived from USFWS and USGS recommended basic dimensions to simulate tree cavities in which more than 50 North American bird species will nest.

Build nest boxes according to species dimensions provided by USGS and USFWS

a   floor dimensions
b   inside front floor to ceiling
c   inside floor to top of hole
d   hole diameter

Just two dimensions define shape and volume: Inside square base and inside floor to ceiling height.

Entrance opening measurements are diameter and height above the floor. A few species-specific entrance openings are not circular and have measured shapes.

Always Wear Eye Protection!
Eye injuries are the most common serious injury and the most easily prevented.

The plans and instructions on these pages aid understanding of shapes and measurements, how work pieces fit together, which materials might be used and where nest boxes might be located.

They do not explain how to operate manual or power saws and screw drivers to cut wood and drill holes, or how to position and climb ladders. These are trades crafts which require expert adult training and experience.

Power Tools Are Not Necessary!  Carpentry requires years of apprenticeship. You cannot learn to safely operate dangerous power saws, drills and sanders from the internet. Only professionals should cut and drill these wood work pieces. Even professionals sometimes lose fingers in a fraction of a second operating power saws.

70birds Nest Box Design

The 14º roof angle used in 70birds nest box plans corresponds to what framers and roofers often refer to as a "3:12 pitch", 3 units of rise (inches, feet, cm, etc.), to 12 units of horizontal length. It is a convenient ratio often used in simple carpentry.
Side panel dimensions.

A 3:12 pitch then is the same as 1:4, 1" of rise to 4" of horizontal distance.

Knowing the 1:4 rise to length ratio, one can easily determine the rise on any side panel using the floor dimensions, which are equal to side panel widths.

The height of the back edge of a side panel of 4" width is exactly 1" greater than the height of the front edge (1/4" rise for each 1" of width).

A side panel of 5" width differs from front to back by 1 1/4", one of 6" width rises 1 1/2" front to back, and so forth.

Front panel dimensions.

The inside height of the front panel is identical to the front edge height of a side panel. This is where they are fastened together and the 14º planar surface of the side panel continues on to the front panel.

All dimensions except the long back panel and entrance opening can be arrived at knowing only the floor size and inside front ceiling height.

These plans are flexible. Depending on climate and sun exposure, the top of the front panel can be 90º and 1/2" or 3/4" shorter to provide a gap for extra ventilation.

Tolerance on a birdhouse, which needs ventilation, is not very critical. Minor mistakes, gaps, etc. are not always a bad thing.

Be precise where panels are joined at right angles (90º), the four sides and the floor, where precision is easiest to accomplish. A good fit and fastening there will make for a very sturdy box.

Nest box roof dimensions

Dimensions such as 31/64" are not meant to indicate the need for low tolerance. For simplicity, adjust to the next larger or smaller increment.

For example, adjust 31/64" to 32/64", which is equal to 1/2". Similarly, consider 27/32" to be between 13/16" and 7/8". This is plenty precise wood working for birdhouses.

Nest box floor dimensions

For increased ventilation in warmer climates, floor and side panel corner gaps can be larger than plans specify. Some woodworkers may prefer strategically located holes for ventilation and leave wood panels whole.

Hinges are suggested for easy access. Other methods for attaching roofs are just as good. However, most nest boxes are mounted out of reach for most people. Birdhouse mounting, monitoring and maintenance on ladders are awkward chores that require "three hands". Convenience increases safety when working at heights.

Original 50birds designs included hinged roofs secured with shutter hooks, although you may prefer Side Opening Doors, which are just as simple and possibly more convenient to work with on tall, deep duck, owl and woodpecker boxes.

Always use corrosion resistant screws and hardware. Drill countersunk pilot holes in primary work pieces (first piece the screw is inserted into) and regular pilot holes in secondary work pieces.

Make pilot holes slightly larger in the primary work piece such that screws can be turned in easily without leaving room for movement. Screws should be more snug in secondary work pieces so that screws can be tightened, but not so tight as to split the wood or to strip the hole and loosen the screw.

Use a hand held screwdriver to assemble work pieces. This allows the crafts person to feel and better judge appropriate hole sizes and snugness.

Use softwood. Cedar is beautiful, easy to work with, is often rough-cut, or simulated so for fencing, which is good for grip, and it endures. When fresh, it has a repellant effect on some insect pests. Pine is also a good, abundant softwood.

Hardwoods are difficult to work with, heavier and more suited to fine joinery used in furniture. It's more work and not necessary.

3/4" stock is the most common. 5/8" stock where called for can be supplied with fencing material from most lumberyards. 5/8" stock is used on the smaller nest boxes because 3/4" stock is too thick and makes them look odd.

Look for wood scrap piles at fence and home construction sites. These are good sources for the small sizes usually called for. You shouldn't have to pay for any wood if you keep your eyes peeled.

Where extra wide panels are required, fasten batten strips or chamfer strips perpendicular to two lesser-width vertical panels.

The wood layers of plywood will peel eventually as moisture will degrade a glue's adherence qualities. If you use plywood, paint the edges. Outdoor plywood contains chemicals, which may be release toxic odors.

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