2 x 4 Birdcage with bird

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Project by GaryK posted 01-26-2008 06:00 PM 47571 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


4928 posts in 5499 days

#1 posted 01-26-2008 06:10 PM

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


2389 posts in 5844 days

#2 posted 01-26-2008 06:15 PM

Nice work Gary!! ,that is cool

View rikkor's profile


11294 posts in 5337 days

#3 posted 01-26-2008 06:18 PM

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

View gizmodyne's profile


1785 posts in 5553 days

#4 posted 01-26-2008 06:21 PM

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 5242 days

#5 posted 01-26-2008 06:21 PM

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


203 posts in 5459 days

#6 posted 01-26-2008 06:34 PM

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


2964 posts in 5457 days

#7 posted 01-26-2008 06:35 PM

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 5402 days

#8 posted 01-26-2008 06:49 PM

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

27248 posts in 5285 days

#9 posted 01-26-2008 07:41 PM

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


1130 posts in 5364 days

#10 posted 01-26-2008 07:47 PM

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 5516 days

#11 posted 01-26-2008 08:02 PM

Pretty nice!

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14193 posts in 5446 days

#12 posted 01-26-2008 08:32 PM

terrific execution … great design and methods

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

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 5343 days

#13 posted 01-26-2008 08:38 PM

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

View TonyWard's profile


748 posts in 5791 days

#14 posted 01-26-2008 09:43 PM


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

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 5317 days

#15 posted 01-26-2008 11:39 PM

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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