Monday, November 30, 2015

G.H. Models 3

Making Good Progress

"12 cedar slats + a top (and a few other bits) = a G.H. BH"

I will try to finish three white cedar flat-top birdhouses (of the six) by Friday and take them to my last sale of the year. Sometime next Saturday or Sunday I will be locking up the workshop for 2015, the earliest date in quite a few years.

I know that leaves a few projects in limbo 'til springtime but I have a pile of writing projects that need attention. I think that in the future I will try to have a high and low season, in alternating fashion, with the workshop and writing projects. That's what I say now : )

"The roof supports and interior skeleton are visible above"


Link to G.H. Models 2

Photos GH

Funky Birdhouses - For Hobbits 6


"All the trim is in place except for the support stick at back"

Once the trim dried I attached all the pieces in less than ten minutes. The chimney took more time to get into the right position than anything else but I think the final wonky angle suits the Hobbit house just fine.

I will not attach the support stick to the back - I'll let a buyer do that job, if it's desired - because then the birdhouse is harder to store on a shelf or pack into a box.

Hobbit house Number 2, with varnished cedar roof, should be finished by Friday. Maybe.

So, 'maybe' more to follow in 2015.

Link to For Hobbits 5

Photos GH

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Funky Birdhouses - For Hobbits 5

Two Hobbits, Two Coats

The two Hobbit houses not only need two coats of paint (or varnish on one's roof) but two coats of paint on a bucketful of pieces of trim. I'll let the trim dry overnight, then return to the workshop tomorrow for about 10-minute's work with completed trim. I think the finished product will certainly be unique.

More to follow.

Link to For Hobbits 4

Photos GH

Friday, November 27, 2015

Funky Birdhouses - For Hobbits 4

Table for One?

I have two Hobbit houses on my paint table but only enough trim for one of them. Trim for one takes up all the space! No wonder I only make a few of these 'funky houses' at a time.

Progress is slow but my boss is easy to get along with most days.

Link to For Hobbits 3

Photos GH

G.H. Models 2

One Step Closer

An original J.R. birdhouse. From teak w 1/4" aluminum plate roof.
Photo credit -

I know that early J.R. birdhouses (above) look like an easy type to build - a rectangular box with a flat, sturdy roof - but they were not. Start looking for teak, aluminum plating and chromium screws and you'll see why.

The ones I'm building - from rescued cedar slats - are perhaps just a touch easier to put together, and I call them the G.H. with a tip of the hat to J.R. Davidson. That being said, mine do require a lot more parts (20 in all) and therefore more sanding and assembly time than my standard birdhouses.

Thankfully, the sander makes my job easier.

"12 rectangles, 1 roof, 2 roof supports, 1 base and
4 interior braces per G.H. house. Lots to sand"

More details to follow.

Link to J. R. Models

Photos GH

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Funky Birdhouses - For Hobbits 3

First Coats AOK

"The Marine varnish shows off the rich western cedar slats"

With first coats done I have the feeling the Hobbit houses look AOK - I may do more in the future - and at least one may be ready by Saturday.

That being said, I also get the feeling, when I look at them straight on, there's a guy or gal somewhere with a bad '60s haircut that is saying, "That birdhouse looks like me!"

: )

 So, one psychiatrist says to the other, "How are you today?"

And the other one says, "What did you mean by that?"

Link to For Hobbits 3

Photos GH

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Funky Birdhouses - For Hobbits 3

I Like These Cedar Roofs

Count 'em. The roofs are tricky because 18 of the 20 cedar slats have to be angled, sometimes on both sides, in order to fit properly and tightly into place. (A standard birdhouse has two or four slats). On a Hobbit house, 30 - 60 minutes per roof is the norm. Why, I could make a giant snowman and grow carrots for its nose in that amount of time!

That being said, I like the final result and will paint one roof and coat the other with Marine Varnish. Then I'll work on the trim. I'm pretty sure the trim will take more than the standard amount of time too, what with the curved chimney and all!

Link to Funky - For Hobbits 2

Photos GH

Dusty Duplexes 3

Dressed Up For Going to Town

"All dusted off and ready for a trip to town"

Four to five years ago I was given some pretty scruffy looking lumber and with it I fashioned 6 - 8 duplexes. I recall selling a couple then stashing the rest while I went on with several other projects. Busy times meant the duplexes gathered dust for a long time!

Two are now dressed up a bit and ready for my next sale. It's time they found a home other than a back shelf.

: )

Link to Dusty Duplexes 2

Photos GH

Monday, November 23, 2015

Little Library 13

Have Shovel, Will Travel

"Everything is in place and books/items are ready to be traded"

Recently I was asked to install a little free library in front of Elmwood Avenue's 'childrens' learning centre' and once the support pole was in place the rest was easy.

The children at the centre were ready for me and watched me while I attached the library to the support pole and platform. When I finished several wee ones placed an object inside. In other words, the library and swap box is ready for receiving and trading.

I say, "Have fun!"

Link to Little Library 12

Photos GH

Funky Birdhouses - For Hobbits 2

Yellow Paint

Because the process of cutting cedar slats, angling them properly so the roof won't leak and then attaching each slat perfectly into place will take a bit more time than work on a standard birdhouse, I only built two Hobbit houses. And as you can see, they are now covered with their first coat of yellow paint and waiting for a second.

Some will say, "Hobbits wouldn't live in yellow houses. The colour would be too easy to spot by malicious Orks and other horrible woodland creatures."

My reply: Harrison Hobbits love yellow houses and simply build escape hatches in the basement.

Link to Funky Birdhouses - For Hobbits 1

Photos GH

Sunday, November 22, 2015

J.R. Models

A Unique Design

"This 'original' is from teak w 1/4" aluminum plate roof. Wow!"
Photo credit to modernbirdhouses

If you google 'JR birdhouse' you will be presented with, in my opinion, interesting information and images related to a unique BH that I have copied now and again. Whereas the original was teak and aluminum with chromium screws (to last 1,000 years maybe!), my copy is made from cedar scraps, pine roof and deck screws. Hopefully, one of mine will last ten to twenty years.

Some cedar slats were given to me recently and I immediately thought, "I'll use them on my version of the JR model - the GH."

I'll cut roofs and bases from white pine and add paint. Not as lovely as teak but with rescued lumber one cannot be too choosy.

Cheers. GH

Link to Specialty Birdhouse PEI Lumber 4 (rescued as well)

Photos GH

Funky Birdhouses - For Hobbits 1

Starts With a Sketch

"Yes, it has wings!"

I have built birdhouses in the past with curved roofs, but not with rounded ones with a 'wee flair' on each side. All the paint work will try my patience, and cutting the roof slats so they fit together tightly on the curve will so the same, but I am down to my last 'funky' on the shelf, so it was really time to try my hand at them again.

"Sometimes I sketch on napkins, other times on sudoku sheets" : )

I think I'll have fun with the chimney and other details, e.g., a rounded door with metal strip overtop, and maybe - okay, maybe - I'll have one done by next Saturday, in time for my next sale.

 "I modified the sides - to 4" Height (H). Shorter roofline now"

"The cedar roof (right) won't need paint if lined up nicely"

Link to Funky Birdhouses 7

Photos GH

Dusty Duplexes 2

New Paint and a Bit of Trim

"And where's the wee cat for the fence?"

Second coats required w 'dynamic blue' and 'wild cherry red' but I think it looks much better already.

Link to Dusty Duplexes 1

Photo GH

Wee Side Job 2

Metal File Cabinets

"This week's side job: Paint over the 'dusty green' w shiny red"

I will still keep the workshop open in order to finish a few birdhouses I have on the go - 'funky Hobbit houses', a few J.R. Davidson models - but a bit of my spare time will also be devoted to painting two rescued file cabinets from an earlier era.

More to follow related to these two rare items.

Link to Wee Side Job 1

Photo GH

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dusty Duplexes 1

These Go Way Back

I have four duplexes that need an update. I made them from rescued lumber - I think about two years ago - but did not dress them up very much, so, they've been sitting on a shelf waiting for a bit of attention.

This week I will tackle two of them. I'll add a front fence, a free 'wee birdhouse', a bit of paint here and there, and hopefully they will be ready for Christmas.

Link to Painted Models 2 (duplexes as well)

Photos by GH

Log Cabins 3

Added Touch

I don't make many cedar log cabins with the butt ends of logs so prominent - like the early settlers used to do - and I had to go back to a July post to link this red-roofed (updated) version to its original photo.

Christmas is coming, I have two final sales for the year, and i wanted to make sure the western cedar caught somebody's eye. My wife says I should add white paint to make it look like a snow-covered roof. Hmmmmm.

Link to Log Cabins 2 (original state)

Photos GH

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Specialty Birdhouse - PEI Lumber 4

Welcome to The Rustic Manor!

This model, with roof angled at 45 degrees, may become the 'go-to' model for me whenever I purchase or rescue a load of gray barnboard.


Faces (front and back) 11" high x 10" wide
If 5-inch wide lumber is used, solid braces can be secured on the inside.
Sides - 5.5" high and 6.25" wide
Base - 12" long and 10" wide
Roof slats - 9.5" long, 8.25" width
I cut three slats per side (the widest was 3"), then covered each side with battens and edging.

"Don't throw out your wooden spoons. Call me!" : )

One more task, related to the wooden spoon - coming up.

Stay tuned.

Link to PEI Lumber 3

Photos GH

Specialty Birdhouse - PEI Lumber 3

The Second Go-'Round

"The roof on the left is angled at 37 degrees; the other is at 45 degrees"

The first PEI model I completed was sold a day or two later and no 'final photo' was taken. However, my second and third models are almost identical so we shall see how they look before they hit the sales table.

The spruce barnboard - all the way from PEI - is gray on both sides and approx. one-inch thick. I trim the boards to five-inches in width and join two pieces together to make faces and backs ten-inches wide and eleven-inches tall. The sides have varied in height because I have tried three different roof angles. The first was cut to a 32 degrees angle, the second at 37 and the third at 45. I shall see what I like best for future models. (I am already leaning toward cutting the roof angle to 45 degrees in others I produce because then the roof slats don't need to be angled before being overlapped).

"With roof at 45 degrees the slats go on square, or overlap easily" 

 "The perch and fence dress up the face in a rustic manner"

"Welcome to The Rustic Manor!"

A fancy-schmancy perch and picket fence seem to look AOK in my opinion. About the only other feature I added was a wooden spoon. Last detail re the spoon - coming up!

Link to PEI Lumber 2

Photos GH