Bird Houses

Row of Bird Houses

One of the joys of working with pallet timber is you never really know what you’re going to get. From the outside a lot of the timber looks the same; it has weathered, it’s dirty and damaged and sometimes it is even hard to tell what sort of timber it actually is. Several times now I have mistaken pine for hardwood and then, depending on where the pallet originated, the type of pine or hardwood. Ultimately though, I don’t really care what the actual species of timber is as it all seems to come up OK in the finished product.

I’ve just finished a few hanging bird houses; they have a hardwood base, pine sides and a variety of roofs. One has a pine roof from a species I am not familiar with at all; it has fine grain but is quite light in colour, another is made from laminated hardwood. I use laminating a fair bit; it looks good but, more importantly, I can use smaller pieces of scrap including some pieces with significant faults.

Sparrow House 03
Laminated roof

The finishing is something I have been experimenting with; normally I use a cloth to rub on pure boiled linseed oil, let it soak for a while, then rub it off and finish with a coat of my own recipe beeswax polish. I found this to be too time consuming; OK if you’re only doing one or two but when you start making a few at once it is just too slow.

So I have started using a spray gun and diluting the linseed oil with some turps, straight linseed oil is too ‘thick’ to spray effectively so it has to have a carrier that has a lower viscosity – hence the turps. I’m really pleased with the way it works; it gives a nice even coat and having it more ‘watery’ allows the oil to soak into the wood more. I usually leave it to soak for an hour or so then I buff off the excess then hit it with the beeswax polish.

Sparrow House 04
The unknown pine roof – whatever it is – looks good.

All up I was really pleased with this first ‘batch’; each one is different, each has its own character and that is really what I want – every piece I make should be unique in its own way.

Steve Brookes

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