Began Work on the Aviary

  • Posted on: 12 March 2016
  • By: Jay Oyster
Parent Project: 

Prepping the plansAfter I went out last week to buy BORG lumber for this project, I got started this week cutting the 2-by lumber down to more useful dimensions. I had to stack all of my lumber outside on the back porch this time, since I'm out of room in the shop. Hopefully it'll stay dry for a few days until I can bring it in. (Note: It didn't, of course. We had the wettest two weeks of the year so far right after I posted this.)

The lumber for the aviary stacked outside the back window of the shopEven though I dimensioned for 2"x2" legs, I just used the dimensions of the lumber define it. So all of the members actually ended up 1½" x 1¾". (That's ripping a 2" x 8" into four pieces.) Once that was done, I started the process of chopping to length and then butt glueing and screwing into place. The little birds have hatched and I need to get this thing done quickly.

This thing is going to be modular, so if it's too large to fit through a doorway, I can take it apart into four walls, a floor, and the roof pieces. So I started by framing in the front and back walls with their long legs. Building the front wall of the aviary. Butt joints, glued and screwed.I extended the legs 10" below the bottom of the aviary so that it'll sit up higher. I've got a ton of long screws from the outdoor playset I built the boys back in Florida, so I used those with glue to hold the frames together. After the front and back, I built the side walls. The right side is a simple rectangle, but the left wall has members in the middle to support three little doors for feeding and cleaning the cage.

While working on this, I had a little guest in the shop. On my second trip to the BORG store, Lucas had gone along. He begged me for his own power screwdriver. "NOT a toy, Daddy! I want a real screwdriver." Because he was so patient, and Lucas working on his woodworking project on the floor of the shopbecause he's always been so gung-ho about using my power drills (something I've always resisted), I broke down and got him a little handheld, battery powered Craftsman power screwdriver. It'll really underpowered as a drill/driver, which is PERFECT for giving to a horribly persistent young man who insists he get a real tool. It cost $14 and for once I was happy to get a crappy Craftsman tool. He sat on the floor for a couple of hours, drilling little holes into the offcuts from my work, and screwing together pieces. The back wall and two side walls glued and screwed, and leaning out of the wayI watched him like a hawk, and my own work slowed down by about 80%. But he did let me get some work done. I think he had a good time, although he did finally get bored and go upstairs and pester his mother.


After Saturday, I had managed to cut down most of the rough lumber and built the four main walls. At this point, I set them aside and tried working on how to cut a single 8' 2x10 down to form the roofline. It was just barely long enough. Cutting it in half, I then tried to figure out how to clamp it so I could use the circular saw to cut the roof pieces. It went fairly well, although Lucas stole my hearing protection because he knew the big red tools is REALLY loud. Cutting the 2x10 into two rooflinesI managed to cut them almost perfect. One was a little wavy near the peak, but it's close enough that I can work with it. (Did I mention that the birds have already hatched?)

I glued and screwed the roofline parts to the top of the front and back walls. For this, I ended up screwing down from the top, using beefy 4" outdoor screws. I was impressed with the little Bosch drill driver I used for all of this. I had to use the smaller drill, because, the day I started this project, I picked up my 10-year-old, trusty DeWalt 18V drill driver, pulled the trigger, and got a very nasty smelling puff of smoke out of the mechanism. It still runs . . . sort of. But I can't use it until I see if I can fix it. I've been lucky enough not to need to replace the brushes on any of the tools. I'm not sure this model allows it. I'll give it a try when I have a moment.

Rooflines cut and ready to be attached to the top of the front and back walls

On Sunday, I sanded all of the parts down in preparation for a quick finish. I had bought a Minwax Cherry-stain/poly blend.
Attaching the roofline to the front wall


The back wall of the aviary leaning up against the chopsaw station. I was running out of room in the shop on this project.