Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Swap Box Scene 2.

Ready for the Sanding Table.


Though the finished white pine for three swap boxes looks like it is as smooth as can be, the edges require sanding after passing through a table and chop saw.

And, just to make life interesting when I soon set up the sander, I cut stock yesterday for four "stately and rare" log cabins from my healthy supply of old western cedar. Again, the shop smells like the deep woods.


 Busy times, w three swap boxes, four cabins and a LFL* (back corner)

The plans are a little bit fussy.

I call the cabins "stately" because a fair amount of red paint will be involved later in the game, in order to provide an attractive contrast to the dark, rich grains at play in the logs. And "rare", because cabins are a complicated and time-consuming business, so I don't make a batch of them very often.

More to follow.

*LFL = Little Free Library

Please link to Swap Box Scene 1.

Photos GH

Monday, July 17, 2017

Swap Box Scene 1.

One Pile of Pine.


Not only does finished white pine stack up nicely, it is as smooth as can be, and takes two coats of paint nicely.

However, before I get out my paint brushes, there are several tasks to perform, starting with measuring, cutting, sanding and assembling several items that make up a swap box, including a five-sided box, front face, a door with plexiglass, signage.... and more.

Progress to date:



Front door coming up!

Once the front face and door are assembled, the project will start looking more like an actual swap box.

A finished model - Please link to Swap Box Project 3

Photos GH

Busy, Dusty Times 4.

Wanted: Six Wrens (or Chickadees).


Yesterday I finished adding perches to six small houses, along with fish-eye screws and fishing line so they could each hang from a tree branch.

"They're 2-minute birdhouses," I say to clients. "Once you're home, it can be hanging in your yard in two minutes."

Some people are very impressed with my witty observations. : ) Okay, 'few' people are.

Whatever the case, thanks to the lovely western cedar that makes up most of these models (the back is rescued plywood), my shop still smells like the great outdoors, BC-style.

More photos from the workshop:






More to follow.

Please link to Busy, Dusty Times 1.

Photos GH

Busy, Dusty Times 3.

Fresher, No Pressure.

[Photo: New paint matches the bright hop vines in background!]

I am working on some small birdhouses, nice and easy, and while the paint cans were handy recently I added fresh coats to a yellow and green model that - in my opinion - needed a bit of a face lift.

The bird likes it!

I added a bench and wee birdhouse out front as well, to catch your eye. As people look over my birdhouses (at sales, bazaars, etc.), some ask if they can put birdseed on the bench and I reply in the affirmative.

That being said, I suggest that folks try setting up a bird feeder. Once birds locate it, they will return again and again, and soon folks will know which types of birds live in or near their neighbourhood.

Below: This is currently my last log cabin in stock, and I recently felt it needed a picket fence. I think I'll build another few cabins - and add the same features - in preparation for Gathering on the Green II (GOTG2), August 20.



More cabins to follow.

Please link to Busy, Dusty Times 2.

Photos GH

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Custom Project - "Play Ball!"

[Photo: Cheerful four-plex is in a sweet spot in Labatt Park]

A well-travelled baseball-themed birdhouse now sits atop a sturdy pole beside a historic clubhouse in one of the finest ballparks in North America.

Fresh paint shows off well in heavily-treed surroundings overlooking the park's concession stand, home of the world's finest hotdogs, says this well-fed birdhouse builder.



 Cheerful face of the two-bedroom unit looks into the trees

High security. Heavy screws attach unit to sturdy pole.

Units are now for rent, especially to local songbirds.

Swallows catch some sun outside the ball park! ("Go inside, guys!")


Two more makes a ball team.

Please link to Birdhouse Repair: Labatt Park Custom Model 7

Photos GH

Busy, Dusty Times 2.

[Photo: All dressed up with some place to go]

Between now and August 20 (date of 'birdhouse sale' at Gathering on the Green 2 - GOTG2) I will add details to a few birdhouses while making a few more from scratch.

Painted white pine catches the eye.

Wren and chickadee houses are ready to finish:

 Six wren houses need a touch of trim.

 The Workshop is filled w aroma of western cedar.


Fresh paint and a few pieces of trim - coming up!


Second coats will be applied this afternoon.

More to follow as the Aug. 20 deadline approaches.

Please link to Busy, Dusty Times 1.

Photos GH

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Busy, Dusty Times 1.

For Wrens and Chickadees, and More.

[Photo: Six at a time!]

Inside The Annex (aka "The Odds and Sods Dept."), next to The Workshop, I found two cedar boards with damaged edges.

Perfect, I thought.

I was out of a certain type of birdhouse and the two boards - eight feet long - would cut up nicely for six of them, including the trim.

 Western cedar, so lovely to smell and assemble

 Easy paint job, first thing this p.m.

I assembled three before supper and think all six will be finished today except for the trim (all ready for two coats paint). Once finished I'll continue work on many other items standing at the ready as well.

Two birdhouses, a cedar feeder and little free library need work.

Dusty times, for certain.

Please link to The Production Line - Cedar Birdhouse Models (3) 

Photos GH

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Farmhouse - Upscale Paint.

A Little Paint Goes a Long Way.

[Photo: Basic cedar house likes a splash of red.]

No doubt about it. Though I like to have a few unpainted birdhouses in my collection - some folks prefer them that way - even a wee bit of paint can sometimes catch your eye. On one basic cedar model I only painted the window ledges and wee birdhouse roof.

Looks good, in my opinion

On other models, like a sturdy farmhouse (below), formerly all unpainted white pine, I added quite a bit of paint. At a recent birdhouse sale, it was one that caught the eye of many passersby. And two like it sold before the day was done.


Z-Door is now a stand-out.

So, now I need more farmhouses, and I will repeat the 'upscale paint' idea on all future models.

Please link to Birdhouse Repair: One Old Farmhouse (3)

Photos GH

"Tall Boy" Library (6).

Tight Fit.

[Photo: Will it fit inside a Honda Civic?]

My latest model of a 'little free library' is slightly bigger than the previous version but I still drive the same size Civic. And I forgot how tight the fit was when I squeezed the last one into the back seat!

However, yesterday, after a bit of wiggling and wobbling and pushing and pulling, the library was set for delivery to London Parks and Rec.


Note to Self: Subtract one inch from each dimension (i.e., L x W x H) or buy a pickup!

Please link to "Tall Boy" Library (5).

Photos GH

Friday, July 7, 2017

Western Cedar Bird Feeder (3)

Already in the Ground.


A recent project, i.e., a tall cedar feeder, was delivered on Wednesday and - thanks to someone who was very handy with a shovel - this photograph arrived in my mailbox on Thursday.

Hopefully, local birds will find it in short order, and a few more colourful photos will follow.

Please link to Western Cedar Bird Feeder (2)

Photo by Client.

Upcoming Projects: Artsy Slates 1.

Up on the Roof.

[Photo: Natural art work, slate from St. Paul's Cathedral, London]

I was given a number of slates from a local church (roof under repair at the time) and used a few for birdhouse roofs and a mailbox project. None of the slates are as distinctive as the one shown in this short blog entry.


I call this slate "The North Country" and will finish framing it inside a shadow box this afternoon. I will then place it on sale at a Saturday "Art in the Barn" event in Dorchester (tomorrow). If it doesn't sell I will hang it in my house.... because I really do like this artsy fartsy piece of nature's work.

Workshop Process:

 Two coats of varnish will lock in nature's grit and stains.


 Slate rests upon a western cedar platform... seems fitting.

 Slate and platform will be attached to painted (black) plywood backer board

 Western cedar frame will show off "The North Country"


I have more projects like the one above in mind. And don't be surprised if I one day frame the lid to the varnish tin. I'll call it "Moonscape No. 1".

: )

More to follow, once "The North Country" is framed.

Please link to Upcoming Projects: Libraries and a Shadow Box.

Photos GH