How to build a hanging birdhouse
Author: Les Kenny
This is an hexagonal shaped hanging birdhouse with a pyramid style roof.
These instructions will take you through the complete process of making this birdhouse, step-by-step. The job basically involves cutting all the pieces and gluing them together.
Some tricky compound angles are required. You will see how to cut them to make a perfect fit.
For this project you will need a compound miter saw.
See picture below
That is because this birdhouse has an hexagonal pyramid roof that requires compound cuts.
A compound cut consists of two angles: A bevel angle and a miter angle.
Compound miter saws can cut a miter, as well as a bevel (sloped cut) together.
That is a compound cut.
A compound miter saw
The blade on a compound miter saw can be both tilted (sloped) and swivelled (turned).
The tilt is the bevel angle.
The blade can also be turned to the left or the right (swivelled).
That is the miter angle.
Anyway the gist of this page is to point out the need for a compound miter saw for this project.
With one, the job will be much easier than without one. Sure, you can still do it with an ordinary power saw, or even a hand saw – but it would need a higher level of expertise.
Materials and tools:
FOR THIS PROJECT YOU WILL NEED
Materials you will need
● 1800mm (6ft) length of 140×19 (3/4″ x 5-1/2″) wood.
● 19mm (3/4″) dowel (round wood) about 100mm (4″) long.
● Piece of 9mm (3/8″) thick plywood, 250mm (10″) square.
● 12 blocks of wood for holding the pieces together while the glue sets.
● 3m (10ft) long of 6mm (1/4″) macrame type exterior rope.
● 6 screws for the base, 12 nails to hold the blocks in place while the glue dries.
● A good exterior glue.
Tools you will need:
A compound miter saw, measuring tape, pencil, hammer, sandpaper, drill and bits.
The size of it
This birdhouse is approximately 225mm (9″) high, and 265mm (10-1/2″) wide at its widest point.
It has a hexagonal shape with a hexagonal pyramid roof.
The making of it – overview
It is a straight forward build if you have a compound miter saw.
The saw blade angles are given in the appropriate section.
The build basically entails
simply cutting all the pieces (roof and wall pieces) according to the instructions.
Then gluing the sides of all the pieces and holding them in place with holding blocks until the glue dries.
Then gluing the roof to the wall, and when that has set –
drilling the rope holes and threading the rope.
And finally, screwing the base (floor) to the walls.
And then hang it up
Cutting the 6 wall pieces:
Set the saw blades tilt angle to 30°.
The tilt angle is the bevel angle. That is where the blade tilts or slopes. Not turns.
Cutting the wall panels
The wall panels will be 140mm (5-1/2″) high and 112mm (4-3/8″) wide. The sides of each wall panel will be angled in
Using your saw with the bevel (tilt) angle set to 30°, cut the end off a length of 140×19 (3/4″ x 5-1/2″) wood.
Turn the wood over (upside-down).
Make another cut 112mm (4-3/8″) along from the first. It is a good idea to clamp a stop-block to the saw to ensure all the panels will be the same size. As shown in the picture below.
Remove the new-cut wall panel, flip the remaining length of wood over (upside-down it), slide it along to the stop-block and cut again. So on and so on until six
wall panels are cut.
Cutting the 6 roof pieces:
Set the bevel (tilt) angle on your saw to 14.4° and the miter (swivel, turn) angle to 26.6°.
Using your saw with the bevel (tilt) angle set to 14.4° and the miter (swivel, turn) angle set to 26.6°,
cut the end off a length of 140×19 (3/4″ x 5-1/2″) wood.
Flip the wood over (upside-down it),
and make another cut 137mm (5-3/8″) along from the first.
Remove the new-cut wall panel, flip the remaining length of wood over (upside-down it), and so on until six
roof panels are cut.
Assembling the walls
Instructions for assembling the walls
Place the wall pieces together with all the edges evenly against one-another. (Fig 1.)
Nail some wooden blocks around the perimeter to hold the shape.(Fig 2.)
Then remove the wall pieces but leave the wooden blocks intact.
Cut the holes (entry and perch) according to the plans. (Fig 3.)
Lay a thin piece of plastic bag on the workbench between the blocks (so the wall pieces do not stick to the work-bench).
Then apply glue to the sides of the wall pieces and put them back in position between the blocks. (Fig 4.)
Assembling the roof
Instructions for assembling the roof
Place the roof pieces together with all the edges evenly against one-another. The pyramid will form automatically.
Nail some wooden blocks around the perimeter to hold the shape.(Fig 1.)
Then remove the roof pieces but leave the wooden blocks intact.
Lay a thin piece of plastic bag on the workbench between the blocks (so the roof pieces do not stick to the work-bench).
Then apply glue to the sides of the roof pieces and put them back in position between the blocks. (Fig 2.)
Sand it – and add the perch
Remove the roof section and the wall section away from the holding blocks
and sand away the excess dried glue.
Then glue the 19mm (3/4″) dowel (round wood) into the perch hole.
Note: Sometime a perch is not a good idea. If your birdhouse is subject to predators that could possible use the perch to get into the birdhouse, then omit it. Otherwise, the birds love it.
Mark and cut the floor.
Sit the wall section on a piece of
9mm (3/8″) thick plywood and pencil the shape of the wall onto the plywood.
Remove the wall section and make another pencil line 10mm (3/8″) out from the first. That will be the cut line
which means that the floor will protrude from the wall, 10mm (3/8″) all the way around.
Cut the floor out – cutting along the outer pencil line.
Mark the floor for screw holes.
Sit the wall section back in place on the floor.
Pencil mark the floor, around the inside of the wall.
Remove the wall.
You now have the inner and outer wall lines penciled on the floor.
Later on, the floor will need to be screwed to the wall.
This will allow the floor to be easily removed when cleaning is required.
It is between the penciled lines (inner and outer) where the screw holes will be drilled.
Glue the roof to the walls
Pack the roof level (in upside down mode)
Then apply glue to the top of the wall, turn it upside down and sit it in place in the upside-down roof. (fig 1.)
Because the roof is angled and the top of the wall is flat, there will be a gap between the roof and the inside
top of the wall. So cut some little wedge shaped pieces of wood to fill in part of the void. (fig 2.)
Apply glue to the wedge shaped pieces of wood and place them gently into the void. It doesn’t matter if they are not flush or neat as they wont be seen. (fig 3.)
Prepare the floor.
Drill holes for the screws around the perimeter of the floor in between the inner and outer wall pencil lines.
Also drill random holes through the floor for water drainage. (fig 1.)
Glue some small pieces of wood up to the inside pencil line as shown in the picture below. (fig 2.)
This is optional, but it does help to align the floor when you place it onto the wall in upside-down mode, in readiness for screwing.
Drill the rope holes.
Using a drill bit slightly
bigger than the rope thickness, drill holes up through the roof from the underside, at the centers of the relevant wall sections. (fig 1.)
Three altogether, every second wall section around the birdhouse.
Also drill adjacent holes through the wall just below the roof line. (fig 2.)
I used 6mm (1/4″) macrame type exterior rope and an 8mm (5/16″) drill bit.
Thread the rope.
Using 6mm (1/4″) macrame type exterior rope
cut three lengths about 1m (40″) long.
Thread the rope through the roof holes and then the wall holes. Pull the rope through, and tie a knot at the ends big enough so that the rope will not pull back through the holes.
Attach the floor.
Sit the floor on the walls.
There are already screw holes drilled in the appropriate places. They are the holes around the perimeter of the floor.
Drill another hole through each existing screw hole, but with a smaller drill bit. I.e., a drill bit smaller than the diameter of the thread, so the screws can grip
but have less chance of splitting the wood.
Note: The screw holes are the holes around the perimeter. The other holes are random drainage holes.
Now put in the screws.
The idea of screwing the floor on, is so that it can be removed for cleaning.
And here it is, all ready to hang…
Hanging the birdhouse.
Will a hanging birdhouse sway and swing too much?
This birdhouse is designed to be held in a tree by its three ropes. This is for ease of placement.
But will the birdhouse twirl, swing or sway too much?
Not at all. It can be positioned against a tree, or in between branches, or positioned in a fork.
The fact is, it can be as steadfast as any birdhouse put in a tree – subject only to the movement of the tree itself.
It is probably more easy to position and move than most bird houses.
Have a great day!