Turned Birch Birdhouse

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Project by Stonekettle posted 07-23-2011 05:41 AM 2806 views 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Turned Birdhouse for the Lumberjocks Birds of a Feather contest.

As a turner, I love making birdhouses on the lathe, so when I saw the Birds of a Feather contest I knew I had to enter.

The body is made from Alaskan birch heartwood, turned end grain and hollowed on the lathe. Then I relief carved it to bring out the interesting highlights of the heartwood. The roof is spalted Alaskan birch sapwood, turned and decorated with a knurled texturing tool. The perch and hanging finial are walnut. The roof, perch, and finial are finished in bird safe walnut oil and bee’s wax to make them weather resistant, the body is finished in walnut oil only. It’s about 8” tall.

I make these primarily as hanging decorations. Birch won’t stand up to the elements for more than one season, unless you use something more robust than walnut oil and wax for a finish. Typically, if I’m making a birdhouse intended for outdoor use, I make it out of a naturally weather resistant wood such as red cedar and forgo the finish completely. Also one thing to note, birdhouses intended for actual use shouldn’t have a perch, the resident doesn’t need it and it serves only as a convenient place to stand for predators after the eggs and chicks.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

13 comments so far

View rrdesigns's profile


515 posts in 2225 days

#1 posted 07-23-2011 05:54 AM

If I were a bird, I’d hang out in there. Nicely done. The relief carving adds beautifully to the look of the piece. Good job.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

View DinoWalk's profile


29 posts in 1598 days

#2 posted 07-23-2011 06:01 AM

I love it! It’s a great thing when you can fuse the essence of nature with man made inventions.

View murch's profile


1238 posts in 1664 days

#3 posted 07-23-2011 08:16 AM

Very classy looking job Jim. I didn’t know that about the perch. Makes sense.
Thanks for posting.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

1811 posts in 2723 days

#4 posted 07-23-2011 09:33 AM

Nice one Jim. like the effect of the carving. Best of luck in the contest.

-- Bob C, Australia. I love sharing as long as it is not my tools

View MasterSergeant's profile


1323 posts in 1727 days

#5 posted 07-23-2011 03:31 PM

I like! I like a lot!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3749 posts in 2204 days

#6 posted 07-23-2011 04:46 PM

Pretty darn cute, great idea.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Roman Hrytsak's profile

Roman Hrytsak

625 posts in 1725 days

#7 posted 07-23-2011 07:49 PM

Nice work! You just love working too much!!! Thanks for sharing. RH

-- Roman:... FIGHT HUNGER ----- DON'T EAT!

View Stonekettle's profile


129 posts in 1943 days

#8 posted 07-23-2011 07:52 PM

Thanks for the kinds words all.

These are the kind of birdhouses I do for actual use: they’re made from red cedar with white cedar roofs. They should last for a number of years in the elements

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View spunwood's profile


1194 posts in 1875 days

#9 posted 07-23-2011 07:53 PM

That’s a beaut!

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View grizzman's profile


7619 posts in 2343 days

#10 posted 07-23-2011 09:24 PM

i love this one…i love alaska birch…and your turning is very beautiful…i lived in alaska for 15 years and it will always be home for me…ive got a nice table here that is made from flame birch…good luck with the contest…youve made a beauty…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View learnin2do's profile


878 posts in 1891 days

#11 posted 07-24-2011 09:47 AM

I love that!

-- christine

View rance's profile


4196 posts in 2200 days

#12 posted 08-02-2011 07:02 PM

Nice house there. Interesting thing about the perch. It make sense, but I can’t get past having never heard that before.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3339 days

#13 posted 08-03-2011 09:59 PM

Also very cute, the birds should LOVE it.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

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