Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mid Century Modern Bird House (Part 2 - Roof, Assembly, Finishing)

I love Mid century modern architecture. Flat roofs are one my favorite design elements. The mix of experimental materials like steel and plywood also produces fantastic results.

In my last post, Mid Century Modern Bird House (Part 1 - The Floor/Walls), we used Proxxon Micro Tools to build the walls and floor of the birdhouse. In this post, we'll finish up the roof, assemble it and finish it with paint and linseed oil.

Proxxon tools make it easy to work on a small project like this. The scale of the tools is perfect for a project this size.

What You'll Need

Steps To Follow 

1. The first step is to drill holes through the roof and in to the house for the supporting dowels. The challenge is that the roof is raised up off the birdhouse and sits at an angle. I knew I wanted it to be about 1" off the front of the house and about 1/2" off the back of the house, but didn't want to think about the math to calculate the angle. Then it hit me - just make a "tool" out of SmoothFoam to hold the roof in place while the holes are drilled!

Rest a piece of SmoothFoam on the top of the house. Mark the front and the back edges. Then measure up 1" from the front and 1" from the back. Draw a line connecting those dots. Now you have the exact angle you need, without doing any trigonometry! By the way, it turns out to be about 5 degrees.
2. Cut the SmoothFoam using the Hotwire Cutter.

3. Use glue dots to temporarily attach the SmoothFoam to the base of the house and the roof to the SmoothFoam.

4. Use a pencil and mark where the holes for the 4 support dowels need to be drilled. Use the rotary tool and a small bit to drill through the marks, past the SmoothFoam and in to the base of the house.

5. Now you can remove the roof and SmoothFoam from the base of the house. Be careful to only remove those two pieces as a unit. Keep them together. Now use the Proxxon Bench Drill Press TBM 115 with the chuck and 1/4" bit to drill the holes in the base. You only need to go in to the base about 1/4-1/2". Drill the holes in to the roof as well. Keep the roof sitting on the SmoothFoam so you're sure you're drilling at the correct angle.

6. Put the SmoothFoam and Roof back on to the house.

7. Cut 4 lengths of 1/4" dowel using the Proxxon Chop and Miter Saw KGS 80. I used (2) pieces that were about 2" long and (2) pieces that were about 3" long.
8. Put some wood glue in to the holes in the roof and insert the 4 dowels all the way in to the base. We want to glue the dowels to the roof (but NOT to the base). Put a weight on top to hold the roof down while the glue sets. The dowels will be sticking up above the roof. Let the glue set completely.

9. Use a rotary tool with a cutting wheel to trim the dowels as close to the roof as possible.

10. Take the roof off of the house and remove the SmoothFoam jig. Save it so you can make more houses in the future! Sand the dowels smooth against the roof using the Proxxon Disc Sander TG 125/E.

11. Spray paint the roof with . Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area. If you're inside, it helps to spray this piece inside a cardboard box to catch any over-spray. Now you see why we didn't glue the roof to the house! Let dry completely.

12. Seal and protect the outside of the house with linseed oil. Rub it in using a cotton cloth (rag). Don't apply it to the inside of the house. Let dry completely.

13. Put some wood glue inside the 4 holes in the house and then put the roof in place. Weight the top to hold it down until the glue sets. Remember, you access the house through the flip-up side for cleaning, so this roof can be put permanently in place.

Your Mid Century Modern Bird House (improved design) is now ready for renters! You can attach it to a post or a wall using pipe fittings you would find at a hardware store, like this flange.

Enjoy your birdhouse!

Look for more projects on my website at

Happy crafting!

Joe Rotella


Barbara Moore said...

Great tutorial Joe! I love birdhouses and have several for decor and also several for the outdoors. This looks like fun to make too!

Misty said...

Really a nice bird house and different , and
I really like things that are a little on the unique
Excellent directions and neat project. Our yard has
maybe no less than 15 birdhouses, maybe more.
Thank you for sharing this one.