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My psychological oddities include: A fear of being tackled by females in elf suits and enmity toward all birdhouses.

Perhaps my hostility to birdhouses springs from my days as a Cub Scout where I built too many of them. Heck, I’m also still haunted by visions of milking a plywood cow with an udder made from a rubber glove and learning to wring a chicken’s neck. (That is a great-looking merit badge, I tell you what.)

Yet thanks to some enormous sedation, I built a birdhouse during the weekend. Heck, I was inspired and compelled to build this birdhouse using cypress, stainless fasteners and waterproof glue.

The idea for this birdhouse came from an abortive trip to Liberty Tool in Maine in February. Attached to the shop’s building was an enormous birdhouse shaped like a jointer plane. Like the start of any great (read: totally obsessive) project, I knew at that instant that I had to build one.

My design is based off a Marples 14″ razee jack plane. I scaled the plane up to 35″ long so it would look good over the door to my shop at home. It took about three hours of gluing, screwing and nailing.

Plans for this will be featured in the August 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. It might just be the first birdhouse plan we’ve published on my watch.

I expect to catch some teasing from the editors at our competing magazines. But I also bet they’ll secretly wish they had thought of it first.

– Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 22 comments
  • Kirk

    I’ve never posted here because everything has been spot on…until now. I refuse to jump on this bandwagon. Please let it be the last bird house. Good lord.

  • Tom Dugan

    That, sir, is awesome and of course I’m going to have to build one. And to use Kip’s comment as springboard, I’m wondering if there’s a disadvantage to combining a bat house with a birdhouse, ’cause the slot that would be the mouth of the plane has gotten me thinking. And that’s often a bad thing.


  • Eric R

    Gotta make one of those.
    Guaranteed, I’ll be the first on my block with one……

  • Narayan

    I’m surprised no one has asked the most important question: do you sharpen your birds straight or with a camber?

    For the record, I prefer bevel up birdhouses.

  • Peter

    Nice looking birdhouse however before you go public let me offer some suggestions in case you hope to attract actual birds. First and foremost is the need to provide ventilation. Some slits along the side walls up near the ‘roof’ will let heat escape from your glue-tight joints. Also, some holes in the base will allow air to rise through the nesting material and out through the vents and in the event of rain will let water drain out. Finally, add some chicken wire mesh to the inside area below the hole to give birds something to grip as they peer out. I recommend the nest box specs of the North American Bluebird Society at as an example for construction but you might attract more swallows than bluebirds with your work.


  • Christopher Schwarz


    There are both ventilation and drainage holes throughout. You just cannot see them in the photo.


  • Joe Hurst

    A birdhouse? Can a yardbutt be far behind? The Apolocalypse is coming my friends. Only 6 more signs to go.
    …just pulling your leg, Chris. Looks like a fun little project.

  • Kip

    No, no, bat houses are better! Easy to build, help control mosquitoes and add that deserted-looking charm that one house in every neighborhood needs.

  • Swanz

    Some might consider that birdhouse very plane looking. But I like it.

  • Hubert

    Thats funny, being tackled by females in elf suits is my fantasy.

  • George Walker

    You sir are are a piece of work. Please don’t stop.

  • Bruce Jackson

    I don’t how my wife will take this, but I’m thinking about putting this up in our back yard, between the mango tree and the bottlebrush bush. 🙂

  • Jonas Jensen

    Nice looking birdhouse, I’ll consider building one.
    Thumbs up for the courage to admit that you are going to print the plans for it

  • Jonathan

    Very cool. I have actually had the urge to build birdhouses lately.

  • David

    No striking button. For shame. 🙂

  • Christopher Schwarz

    The actual plane is a razee Marples jack (with a shamrock logo) that a friend gave to me years ago. I need to tune up the wedge, which won’t stay in place.


  • Christopher Schwarz


    I’m installing it above the shop door to prevent my neighbors from interrupting my work.

    Think: Wall of poo.

  • Mike Siemsen

    You may not want to install the birdhouse above your shop door as the grateful residents will deposit poop on your stoop in lieu of rent. If this is only an interior decoration then you will have to weather the clucks, hoots and tweets of derision and ungrateful stares as you enter and exit your domicile. Shades of Tippi Hedren!!

  • gdblake


    The birdhouse is great I can imagine it will be a popular woodworking project (almost a pun) once the August issue of the magazine comes out. How about some information on the actual plane sitting next to it?


  • Mark

    Ummm…will the plans for this be available in Sketch Up?

  • Greg

    I seem to remember St Roy having something similar, that holds a bottle or two …

  • Larry Marshall

    Awesome, Chris. Can’t wait for the Aug PW. You need to round over the edges on that tote, though (grin).

    Cheers — Larry "aka Woodnbits" Marshall


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