My First Woodworking Project - Carolina Wren Bird House

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Project by WoodGoddess posted 10-11-2012 07:14 PM 3365 views 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first woodworking project was a success! With the help and guidance of my husband I was able to make my own cuts, experience “kick back” of the wood I was cutting, and learned that a firm grip and a bit of determination will get me through this journey I’ve decided to undertake.

I documented my entire experience (with pictures) on Twitter. If some of you seasoned woodworkers have the time please take a look at my pictures from the beginning and tell me how to avoid the splitting you will see as well as proper hand placement. That would be really helpful for my next project.

The Challenges:

The wood splitting because of the kick back issue really made me disappointed.
The slanted cuts were harder for me on the table saw. I did the first side piece on the table saw and couldn’t get it cut completely so switched to a hand saw. (I was scared of the kicking back.) But for the second side I overcame my fear and told myself to “man up” and I got the second side done with ease. (See the picture!)
The entrance was easier said than done.
The hinge was a bit tricky.

The Successes:

I worked with drier wood purchased from Lowes, so I didn’t have moisture content to be concerned about.
I was able to build something with my own hands.
A neighbor came by and was “shocked” that I’d built my very own birdhouse.
It’s lovely on my fence and I get to see it from my office window.
The “upgraded” hinge and longer roof sort of makes my birdhouse a bit more weather resistant and should keep a lot of the water out.

19 comments so far

View Kopac's profile


79 posts in 3782 days

#1 posted 10-11-2012 07:21 PM

Nice! Glad to see you enjoyed making this and also learned many things! It’s the small projects that mean the most as it is how you learn more and grow bigger in terms of woodworking.

-- Follow me to see more at Instagram.Com/KopacDesign !

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30599 posts in 3348 days

#2 posted 10-11-2012 07:33 PM

Kick back can scare the best of them. Justifiable. Good job.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Devin's profile


166 posts in 4538 days

#3 posted 10-11-2012 07:39 PM

Nice to see someone jumping into this craft we all love so much. And a very nice first project.

Now, please, do not ever freehand cut wood on your tablesaw again!
You will get hurt, possibly seriously hurt.

I see in your twitter feed that you have a mitre gaugefor you tablesaw but you don’t appear to use it.

Please, please do some research, watch a couple youtube videos about how to safely crosscut and rip on a tablesaw.

Best of luck!

-- If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 4218 days

#4 posted 10-11-2012 08:12 PM

Nice job on the bird house. It’s a great first project. I can feel your pride… well deserved, I might add.

However, as Devin pointed out… please learn how to use your table saw safely or you will get hurt!! Always use the miter gauge for cross cuts and the fence for rip cuts. Never just try to control the board with just your hands! You were lucky this time. When you use your fence or miter gauge properly, you’ll not only come away with all of your fingers still attached, you’ll also have an accurate cut first time. :)

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 3234 days

#5 posted 10-11-2012 08:42 PM

Glad to see another gal take the plunge, WoodGoddess! You have a project you can be proud of and you have learned a few things. That sounds like a great success to me!

If you are afraid of the table saw, a hand saw is a perfectly acceptable alternative – and might even be easier for small projects like this. As those above say, be sure to use all safety devices and procedures when you use your table saw or any workshop tool (power or otherwise).

I hope you have a good pair of safety glasses or goggles – if not, put that first on your list.

I’ll be watching for your next project.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View WoodGoddess's profile


100 posts in 3077 days

#6 posted 10-11-2012 08:53 PM

@Pittman…thanks for addressing my shame. lol
@Devin,Mary Anne, and Kookaburra…I wear glasses…do those count as safety glasses? I will do as I’m told and think “safety first”. I felt in control…so I guess that’s why I never thought of it. Buy you guys are right! I will use the table saw right or not at all. ;-)

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 3234 days

#7 posted 10-11-2012 08:58 PM

Some glasses are safety glass but if these are just your normal prescription, they probably do not provide enough protection. You can get some goggles that fit over your glasses – goggles are better anyway as they provide more protection from flying bits.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 3183 days

#8 posted 10-11-2012 09:07 PM

Too good for the first time!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View WoodGoddess's profile


100 posts in 3077 days

#9 posted 10-11-2012 09:30 PM


@Surfside…Not true. I made mistakes and the wood split…you can see it on my Twitter. How dare you insult my woodworking ability. Maybe I’m a natural? ;-)

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3700 days

#10 posted 10-12-2012 01:00 AM

I have used this same general design for bluebird houses. If you nail/glue/screw a piece of wood that just fits inside the box to the underside of the top you can forego the hinge and have a lift off top and no hinge to rust. Just a thought for the future. Also I can’t help adding: NEVER FREEHAND CUT ON THE TABLESAW! Yes, I am shouting. That’s why you have a rip fence and miter gauge. Nice bird cottage and please WORK SAFELY.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View patron's profile


13716 posts in 4351 days

#11 posted 10-12-2012 01:33 AM


here is a safe way to cut those angles

use a straight piece of ply or wider board
and lay your work at the angle you want to cut
over the edge
and use nails or stops to secure it there
(around the edges)

holding both firmly
and pushing forwards and to the fence too
run it through the saw

viola !
smooth and safe
and ready for more all the same

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View WoodGoddess's profile


100 posts in 3077 days

#12 posted 10-12-2012 11:50 AM

@gvadvm…Thanks for the tip and concern. I won’t do that again.

@Patron…Thank you times 100,000!! ;-) I see what you mean and best of all…I understand. I appreciate the time you took to show me how to cut an angle. How sweet!!! Thanks so much again!!!!

View patron's profile


13716 posts in 4351 days

#13 posted 10-12-2012 03:23 PM


do i get 100,000 kisses
or just one per post lol

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View terry603's profile


321 posts in 3923 days

#14 posted 10-14-2012 08:50 PM

looks good,always nice to see what people make for the 1st ime

-- may not always be right,but,never in doubt.

View Robert Tutsky's profile

Robert Tutsky

58 posts in 3060 days

#15 posted 10-15-2012 03:03 AM

Nice project completion! You’ve been introduced to the slippery slope of the woodworking realm. I have built a few bird houses in the past and they’re fun, especially when birds actually make a home out of your creation. One thing I would add is a 1/4” dowel, 2” long, about 1” below the house entrance for a bird perch.


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