2 x 4 Birdcage with bird

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Project by GaryK posted 2372 days ago 42084 views 7 times favorited 71 comments Add to Favorites Watch


I struggled for over a week on what to build out of a 2×4! I searched online what other people have
done, and didn’t get any inspiration. Then I was getting ready to fall asleep when it came to me. I
got up and wrote it down so that I wouldn’t forget it in the morning. This always seems like the time
I get my best ideas. I have never seen anything like it before so I knew that it was probably unique.
I figured that to have any chance at all in this contest I would have to make something very different.

I needed a 2×4 with a 20” section of straight grain for the bars of the cage and I found the perfect
2×4 at the first place I looked. A local lumber yard just 1/2 mile from my house. Here is the southern
yellow pine (SYP) 2×4 and only three knots which I could work around.

Here is the complete cutting plan.

You will probably have to click here to see the entire thing:

The bars were the hardest and most boring part of this project. Cutting a 20 inch long piece of 2×4
into 119 long square strips on the band saw didn’t take that long but pulling each one of the through
a series of progressively smaller holes did. I learned this from my model boat making days. I took a
two feeler gauges and drilled a series of holes each about .005 smaller than the last. You start by
taking your square piece of wood and sharpen the end so that you can get it through the first
hole. Then you use a pair of pliers to pull it through the hole. This will shave a little of the wood
off. Then on the the next smaller hole and so one until you get to 1/8 inch bars. I am glad that I
started with about twice as many bars as I would use. The growth rings in the SYP were not perfectly
straight and didn’t make the job easy. I ended up with just 5 more of the 60 long bars I would need.
A lot broke and were messed up in too many ways to describe. But I did salvage enough good sections of
the scraps do the top of the cage.

Here is a bar in process:

Here is a closeup showing the burr created when the hole is drilled. That does all the cutting!

Here are some of the 12 segments that makeup the lower and upper ring:

Here you can see the band clamp holding the lower ring being glued.

I made a hardboard template to route the rings round. I later drilled the 60 holes in the ring to
use for drilling the holes for the bars. This allowed for both rings to have holes in exactly
the same place.

Here I routed the outside:

Here the inside:

And here the completed ring.

I tried to keep the bird theme in everthing. Like the bird toes and claws on the bottom
of the stand, as well a the birds heads and wing feathers on the top of the cage.

The bird sitting on the perch inside the cage was my first ever attempt to do a 3D carving.

The hardest part of the entire thing was to drill the holes on the 6 pieces making up the top.
They had to be drilled at compound angles and figureing them out took some head scratchin’.
They are held in place by the bars extending past the top ring and into a hole.

I made a dado around the inside of the bottom ring to install the floor flush. Even has working door.
The project is about 29” tall.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

71 comments so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 2635 days

#1 posted 2372 days ago

That’s just AWESOME, Gary! Great idea and great build!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View john's profile


2289 posts in 2980 days

#2 posted 2372 days ago

Nice work Gary!! ,that is cool

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 2473 days

#3 posted 2372 days ago

Man, that is wonderful! Heck, it is twoterful.

View gizmodyne's profile


1763 posts in 2688 days

#4 posted 2372 days ago

This came out great Gary. Very creative and detailed.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View FrankA's profile


139 posts in 2377 days

#5 posted 2372 days ago

Great work!!!!! Very inovative. I’m amazed just what lives inside of a 2×4.

-- Frank Auge---Nichols NY----"My opinion is neither copyrighted nor trademarked, but it is price competitive."

View Praki's profile


196 posts in 2595 days

#6 posted 2372 days ago

Very nice! Hard to believe it came out of that 2×4 SYP.

Gary, do you use any special software for planning your cuts? Or, is it just a CAD diagram?

-- Praki, Aspiring Woodworker

View TomFran's profile


2940 posts in 2592 days

#7 posted 2372 days ago

After seeing that Confederate ship you made, Gary, I’m not surprised at this. You are a man of detail! Great work!

Annnnnnnd…...........thanks for sharing some of you process “secrets” with us. It really helps people like me that have a lot to learn.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 2537 days

#8 posted 2371 days ago

Absolutely amazing. Fantastic work. There are other superlatives, but I just can’t think of them now. And all from a 2×4.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2420 days

#9 posted 2371 days ago

Great job, Gary. The detail is just unbelievable. In the short time that I have been involved with this site the innovative ideas and quality of workmanship (workpersonship would be more politically correct) has continued to amaze me. Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have envisioned something like this dormant inside a simple 2×4.

Thanks for sharing. Projects like this really make my day.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1106 posts in 2499 days

#10 posted 2371 days ago

Your censored cutting plan certainly gave us no clues to that one Gary! What immense patience you must have. Thanks for the ‘how it was done’ pics – that dowel jig looks efficient judging by the shavings coming off it.

You know you’re a Lumberjock when you think of wacky wooden birdcages as you drop off to sleep!

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 2652 days

#11 posted 2371 days ago

Pretty nice!

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12841 posts in 2581 days

#12 posted 2371 days ago

terrific execution … great design and methods

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 2478 days

#13 posted 2371 days ago

another one for the lumberjock masters series ! just plain awsome gary .

View TonyWard's profile


748 posts in 2926 days

#14 posted 2371 days ago


That is tremendous, very impressive, makes me re-think what can be done with small pieces of timber.

Well done that man!

Good Health
Tony Ward

-- Bandsawn Box Plans available at ~

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 2453 days

#15 posted 2371 days ago

Extremely well executed. My hat is off to you.

I’d buy that from a store or workshop in a snap.

-- Still learning everything

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