Turning a Segmented Birdhouse

Need a quick project you can turn from some flat scraps of dimensioned lumber? This birdhouse is the answer.

As Tim Yoder shows you in this week’s episode of Popular Woodturning, it’s easy to make this project from a glued-up blank. And with Tim’s innovative hollowing technique, you can create a birdhouse that’s 6 inches deep or deeper without any specialized deep-hollowing tools.

Tim starts by cutting circles from 4/4 poplar. Then the innovation kicks in. Tim mounts the first segment on a worm screw held in his chuck. Then he uses the head stock and tailstock as a clamp as he glues on two additional segments to form the first section of the birdhouse. (He uses cyanoacrylate glue to speed production but you could use a waterproof yellow glue or epoxy for greater strength and durability.) Once the glue is dry, he drills a starter hole with a Forstner bit to speed hollowing and follows up with a round-headed scraper to widen the hole. After the first three segments are done, he glues on several more, hollows them and continues the process until the birdhouse is full length. In this way he only needs to hollow a few inches at a time.

After the inside is finished and he’s glued on a solid base, Tim shapes the outside using careful cuts with a deep-fluted bowl gouge to reduce tear-out. It’s hard to get a clean cut on the exterior because the segments that make up the sides are all end grain. So, once Tim has the shape he wants, he finish-sands the exterior with a right-angle drill and a pad sander to get a smooth surface.

Finally, he turns a removable roof to help protect the birdhouse for the elements and turns a perch to give baby bird secure footing as they venture from the house.

The end result? An attractive yet inexpensive birdhouse that only takes a few hours to make, start to finish.

Kevin Ireland

One thought on “Turning a Segmented Birdhouse

  1. drice847

    Bringing Tim Yoder to Popular Woodworking is the best thing the magazine has done in a long time. He is not only talented, but he is knowledgeable and very entertaining. Keep the video’s coming! I love them.

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