Mt. Washington water tower birdhouse

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Project by hairy posted 07-15-2011 09:33 PM 3654 views 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Or, How I went crazy in 732 easy steps.

This almost didn’t happen. When this contest was announced I gave birdhouse ideas a lot of thought. I had no clue. I was sure that I didn’t have a birdhouse in me. I did turn a mushroom kinda birdhouse ornament kinda thing, but decided against it. Then I hollowed out a cedar log. It didn’t do a thing for me. When the idea hit me to do this, it was like getting dopeslapped by all 3 Stooges at once. I have lived the majority of my life a few miles from this local landmark. When the leaves are off the trees, I can just see the top from home.

I had never made a coopered project before, but I knew it was the right way to do it. I would make up the rest along the way.

I was able to dry fit the clamps by myself, but had my wife assist me in the glueup. I put on the glue,and she wrapped some masking tape around it to hold it all together. She put waxpaper under the strap clamps as I put them on. A few taps with a mallet, and I tightened the straps. Doing that by myself would have been like mudwrestling an octopus.

I made this jig to turn it from hexagon to round.

For the fluting, I used the lathe index to locate , and the toolrest as a guide for the dremel. The blue tape is a visual reference for when it’s turning

I made another jig to mount it between centers after it was parted off of the first jig. I needed it to fit the top piece.

Part of that jig was used to hold the top piece for turning and drilling, and also to fit the finial. There is 2 sided tape holding the workpiece on.

Here’s a handy little jig I used to drill the cross ventilation holes in the finial.

Or, you could just drill those holes while the blank is still flat and square and skip this easy step.

A midway design change had me change the base from square to round. That meant I had to make a bandsaw circle jig to fit . Another easy step that could have been avoided with a plan.

This picture does show how the birdhouse fits onto the base. It just lifts off for easy cleanout.

I designed this piece inside out. What I mean is, I made the design fit the dimensions for the birds I want to attract.

The inside is a 5” x 5” hexagon. The nest platform is 6 and 1/2” below the opening. The opening is 1 and 1/2”, drilled at an upward angle. This should shed rain, and if a predator reached in through the hole, its arm would be deflected up and away from the nest. The nest platform is bowl shaped, with a 3/4” hole in the center for drainage, along with 4 drain and ventilation holes drilled at 3/8” .

The finial is drilled at 1 and 1/8” , with 4 cross holes drilled at 3/4”.

This is more of a caricature, not a portrait. It’s not built to scale. Here's a good look at the real tower. Click on the pic to magnify.

It is mounted on a fence post, 6 feet 6 inches above ground level, and I can change the height if needed. It is located in an open area out of direct sunlight, facing North.

I used bald cypress for all of it. I used Titebond III glue, and there is no finish.

-- My reality check bounced...

5 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20275 posts in 3069 days

#1 posted 07-15-2011 09:58 PM

Very nice. I hope you are entering it in the July contest!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14171 posts in 3946 days

#2 posted 07-15-2011 11:00 PM

well done Buddy … got my vote

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3636 days

#3 posted 07-16-2011 05:43 AM

Nice looking birdhouse.

View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2767 days

#4 posted 07-16-2011 11:27 AM

nifty Hairy. how the heck did you cut those straight lines using that Dremel? nice birdhouse by the way
after posting this, I am thinking you used the tool rest as a guide, yes ? maybe? lol

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View hairy's profile


2654 posts in 3495 days

#5 posted 07-16-2011 02:20 PM

Thanks fellas!
Roger, the toolrest was my guide. I had to keep it level, and control the depth, but the toolrest kept me straight. I had the bit laying on the rest, and moved it from end to end.

-- My reality check bounced...

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