Doors and sidewall gap filler

  • Posted on: 29 March 2016
  • By: Jay Oyster
Parent Project: 

All of the door parts dimensioned and organizedAnother weekend, another update. I'm getting into a rhythm here.

This weekend's goal was to build the front and side doors. Unlike the main structure, which is out of southern yellow pine (SYP), I'm building the doors out of whitewood, which is significantly lighter. I don't want the doors to sag. 

Crosscut sled set up to cut half-lap joints on the door frame partsI ripped an 8' 2x6 down into 1" by 1 ½" strips on the table saw, then cut them to length on the chopsaw. The plan is to half-lap the corners for strength. The doors should be light enough, even with the cage material attached, to stay square. I set up the crosscut sled on the table saw to cut the half-laps. This took some dialing-in. I set it up for less than half the depth and then inched up on the correct fit. I didn't bother installing the dado stack, I just nibbled away with multiple cuts. (AKA, 'The I'm too lazy to set it up' method, or better known as the Norm Abrams method.) Here, you can see that the depth is *not quite* deep enough. Another half-turn on the blade height knob and it was perfect. I also tweaked the location of the stop block a touch to make the overlap perfectly square.

First fitting of the half lap joints on the lower side door. Still a little shallow. I'll need to raise the blade just a touch.AHalf-lapped joint on the corner of the lower side door. Still dialing in the length of the tenon at this point.fter cutting the joints, I then went back and touched them up with a sharp bench chisel to remove any loose cruft between adjacent 'nibbles'. This also smoothed the cheeks of the inside joint enough that the glue joint should be strong. I glued up all of the doors and allowed them to dry for about three hours.

I'm using the quick clamps for everything these days, since most of my nicer clamps are all still packed away in a box somewhere. The sad part about that is that I built a really nice wall-mounted clamp rack for all of my clamps back in Florida, but I just don't have the wall space in this shop to put it up. (Not that I want to drill any more holes in the rented walls in any case.)

Gluing the small side doorsWhile the glue dried, I went back to working on the main structure. One of the quirks of the design is that the modular front, side and roof create a gap between the side walls and the roof. Since I didn't include a separate roof on the aviary 'cage', I'm counting on the roof to provide the top enclosure. Gap-filler part attached to the top of the side wall, filling the space between the wall and the roofSo I need to cover any gaps through which the finches could escape. So I went back to the SYP and cut two pieces to fill that gap above the side walls. The 10" tall by four feet wide rooflines result in a 22.6° pitch on the roof. So I cut the gap filler at a 22° angle and then chopped it to length.

After taking the doors out of the clamps, I sanded them down quickly, and worked to fit them accurately to the door openings in the structure. They need a good fit, so the birds can't get out of aviary. Fitting was mostly the oscillating spindle sander and the hand sander, with a little bit of hand planing for the one large front door that needed a bit more material removed for the fit. Once everything fit well, I wiped the sawdust off the doros and then stained them. At the same time, I took the opportunity to stain the gap filler parts and the bottom frame.

On Sunday, with the door glue well set, and the stain dry on the doors and the gap fillers, I installed the gap fillers. Then I installed the two smallest doors on the side wall. With the hinges in place, they still need a bit of planing to fit. But I had to stop at that point. We planned to take the boys to an Easter egg hunt. Even though it was raining slightly all day, they had a good time and got lots of Easter goodies.

One last shot today, showing the gap fillers installed and the two small doors mounted. The doors still need a couple of tweaks to open and close freely, but this has been a really productive weekend. Thanks for looking.


Up next? Well, I'm to the point where I need to finish installing the doors, then I can start attaching the grid material to the side walls, the front doors, and the bottom. Finally, I'll need to cut the plywood for the back and the roof. I should be done with this project in the next week. (Knock on wood.)




Progress has been made. Started mounting the doors.