Miesel Creature Birdhouse
I bought these plans from Meisel and thought I would review building this funny birdhouse. My bird house is called “City Beatnik” and there are two different plans included for $15. They have many “old man” type plans. Even more animals. These are full size drawings. Here is a book by the same designer on Amazon, but they are not full size drawings except for the smaller parts.
I found the full size plans useful and they include a cutting guide to get the most from your wood. It can be cut from a 1″x 10″x 8′ piece of pine or cedar. I used rough-cut reclaimed lumber, which caused me a bunch of headaches, because it was cupped. I did like the rough surface.
Let me first say I use power tools that I have acquired over the years. I understand that many do not have the room or money for these. I think this birdhouse can be built using a jigsaw. With it use a straight edge and a protractor to set the angle of the blade for the bevel cuts. Sandpaper, glue, nails and a way to bore the 1 1/4″ hole and you are set. It would great to build with a kid . I still remember building a birdhouse with my grandfather and that was long ago.
I started by cutting all my pieces to the correct length. Using a crosscut sled I made for my table saw made this easier. Remember to cut to the waste side. Then cut to width. Theses are your blanks to cut the required angles and bevels on. I used my miter gauge to cut the angles for the end pieces. I actually cut the first end, then traced it on the second blank, cut it on the band saw to save time. Since I made mine out of reclaimed lumber and had to glue two pieces together to get the width, I needed to keep the seam centered so it looked right. This made it more difficult.
To cut the bevels on the sides, I set the bevel on my saw and used the sliding mitre gauge with an extended wood fence to get the piece close to the gauge while keeping my hand far away. Since the piece was already the correct length, I gradually cut the bevel with repeated passes until the bevel was completed.
I found it easiest to work directly off the main drawing. I got a bit confused how they measured the angles, so I just used a protractor to measure them.
Assemble the sides and ends. I used 18 gauge nails and glue. Titebond II is weather resistant. As you can see my sides are cupped. Custom fit the bottom. If you are going to actually use it for birds to live in, then you need to be able to remove the bottom to clean out the old nests. I put a screw in each side to hold it in place. In the picture, the bottom is square, the sides are not. Drill the hole next.
Next comes the part that makes this more than just an ordinary birdhouse–adding the face. I had read about using Glad Press’n Seal to transfer patterns to wood and gave it a try. It worked great! Posted about it here. Using a scroll saw, I cut out the pieces, sanding them smooth on a 1 inch belt sander.
After I had all the parts cut, I rounded the edges slightly. I used a 1/4″ router bit to round over the nose. Looking back, I wish I had rounded it over more. A file and sandpaper can get the same results. Now it is time to attach the face. I had an uneven surface to attach the pieces to. I glued the nostrils and the bottom of the eyes to the nose first. I actually drilled two holes and used screws and glue to attach the nose. I worked from inside the house using a stubby screwdriver. If you have a smooth surface, the screws probably are not necessary. Attach the rest of the parts as in the plans. I didn’t use the ears, because I did not like them.
After the glue has set, attach the roof. I found it easier to join the two roof pieces before putting them on the house. Lastly, attach the two acrylic eyeballs. These you have to buy from Meisel when you buy the plans.
In the end I am pleased with the results. The plans include a second birdhouse. I will make that one too, using new wood, saving me a lot of headaches.
Hope this has been helpful. Please post comments below. Especially if you have built a character birdhouse.