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Project Information

This is my submission for the birdhouse contest. I decided to do something different and miniaturize it. I had been thinking about trying to build a miniature bandsaw box around the same size, and also wanted to build a birdhouse for the contest. The bandsaw box fell by the wayside, but I decided to make the birdhouse as small as I could and still include certain details, like mitered joints and miter keys. It is too small to actually be inhabited by any birds, as the smallest bird in the world is the Bee Hummingbird, which is much larger than this birdhouse.

With that being said, I built this as if it were going to actually be used. I did not finish the inside. I put a drain hole in the bottom to allow any errant water to drain out. I made a removeable, but secure top, so that the inside can be cleaned out.

Before this project, I had not used any miter joints on projects. So, I decided to use miter joints to hold the box together, and then also used a coping saw to create the kerfs for the miter keys, another new technique for me. Believe it, or not, I actually ripped the miters on a strip to use for the carcass on the tablesaw, then sanded the stock progressively thinner. It was somewhere around 1/8" thick when I ripped it.

Wood: Edge grain hard maple for the carcass, walnut for the miter keys, ebony for the top and bottom, cork attached to the top with a maple toothpick dowel (the toothpick was too big, so I sanded it even thinner) to secure it all.
Glue: Titebond III to hold the miter keys in place, CA glue used on all other joints.
Finish: Several coats of rattle can Bullseye shellac (outside only), maple dowel not finished so it does not bind in the hole
Total Height: 49/64"-tall
Outer Width: 23/64"-wide
Outer Depth: 11/32"-deep
Inner Dimensions: 1/4", by 1/4"-square, 9/16"-tall, from floor to bottom of cork lock (living space is .0351-cubic inches)
Ebony Floor/Bottom: 3/32"-thick
Roof: 11/128"-tall at the center (registers slightly taller than the floor), by 9/16"-wide, by 1/2"-deep
Maple Dowel: 1/16"-wide, by 9/16"-long
Wall Thickness: varies slightly, but all walls are under 1/16" thick
Entry Hole: 3/32"-wide
Dowel Lock Holes 1/16"-wide

Miter Keys: 1/32", ripped strips on tablesaw, then cut individual pieces on bandsaw
Carcass sanded up to 320-grit, then burnished with steel wool. Top and bottom sanded up to 600-grit, then burnished with steel wool.

I will come back and add more details, but I waited until the last possible minute to post this for the contest, so I have to get it submitted! I need to get a picture of the roof off so you can see how it is secured. I basically glued a small piece of cork to the ebony, then put the lid in place and drilled a hole through the cork and sides for the maple dowel to slide into, locking it all together.

Here's the Miniature Birdhouse Build blog, with numerous in-progress pictures, and all the "little" details.

Photo 1: Birdhouse next to a penny
Photo 2: Birdhouse on an Incra ruler
Photo 3: Birdhouse on my iPhone
Photo 4: Miter key glue-up (The maple sides are much thinner than this now, after sanding everything down.)
Photo 5: Birdhouse with a 0.5mm pencil
Photo 6: Birdhouse taken apart, showing drain hole on bottom, plus cork "lock" that secures the roof to the house. (That is cork dust on the maple dowel from removing it from it's slot. The dowel was sanded to 320-grit and is nice and smooth.)

Gallery

Comments

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Do you need biofocals yet?? Wow that is tiny… Love that mitered joints…
 

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I did use a magnifying headset to double check everything. There was certainly a bit of eye strain involved on this project.
 

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Cute, but very tiny. I'd be afraid it might vanish into my vacuum cleaner! Nice job on the splines.
 

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That's not a birdhouse; it's a MOSQUITO house! Large congratulations on a piece of well done work; Just don't put it up near my back yard!
 

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Wow this looks great Jonathan! This must have made your wood pile much smaller with all that wood you used. HAHAHA
Thanks for Sharing,
Kyle
 

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Art, I did set it down a couple of times and lose track of it temporarily. I made sure to not turn on any vacuums for the dust collector while I was working on this!

acducey, thank you for the kind words. Although it is a birdhouse, it would definitely fit a mosquito better than any bird out there. I don't know where I'm going to display this as it's so small, it could easily get blown over by a ceiling fan, or maybe just from walking by it!
 

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I don't have tree trunks for fingers, but my hands aren't exactly small either.
 

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Bill, this was actually made using little pieces I cut out from a pen blank of ebony I purchased from Rockler when they were on sale for $0.99/each. When I purchased the blanks, I figured I could make drawer pulls or other small accents out of them, since I haven't started turning yet. The Kamagong is still sitting there looking at me, waiting for a bit of inspiration. Believe me, I am not in a hurry to use it!
 

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How much lumber have you used.
Boy you have small birds around your place.
 

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It's going to be hard to trim my favorites down to five to vote in this contest… sigh…
Great idea and execution Jonathan!!
 

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No matter, you did a wonderful birdhouse. Great idea and will a great conversation piece
 

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Nice job with the miniature. I really wanted to finish my miniature but it just didn't happen. Way to go.
 

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Pretty slick, I like it. Very well done.
 

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Thank you all for the kind comments. I'm flattered by the amount of feedback I'm getting on this piece. Maybe I can get a blog on this started today? I'll see what I can do. I'll also try to get some more measurements up. It's funny with a piece this small, when removing 1/64"-1/32" is a very noticeable amount!

@GMman and Kyle, Unfortunately I'll be going back to the lumberyard, as I completely depleted my reserves on this one! Actually this was made from cutoffs, and I'd guess I used about 1-Board Inch of wood, maybe 2-BIs, especially if you count the kerf lines!

@Mike (littlecope), I'm flattered there's a possibility of this making your top 5, if that's what you meant by that. Thank you.

@NormG, Thank you and it'll certainly be a conversation piece, provided I can keep track of it!

@rance, Thank you. Are you going to finish yours and post it anyway? I'm curious to see it. How small are we talking here?

@devann, Thank you for the compliment.
 

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I think that kamagong will endure the wait. I'll say tough you have redefined 'small project'. Do you have a microscope for your next one?
 

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Those splines are friggin awesome!
 

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Bill, I hadn't even thought of trying to use a microscope. That's a good idea though! Maybe I could make something that fits inside this birdhouse? Some sort of chair, or something? :)

Bertha, I'm glad you like them. Thank you!
 

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You might try a dovetailed port-a-potty to go inside.
 

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Hi Jonathan, maybe my wooden rotten tooth/box fits in there? nice work!!
 
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