The timber used in the ‘natural wood’ bird houses is all recycled; most from old pallets but also from house demolitions, scrap piles, rubbish, you name it and we’ll use it. The only exceptions are treated pine (treated anything actually) and wood that is rotten beyond redemption.
We will happily use Tasmanian specialty timbers; no problem with milled timber but we like character in wood and, unfortunately, quite a lot of milled timber is quite boring to look at.
All the natural timber bird houses and dovecotes are designed to look ‘rustic’. They’ll develop a grey patina; this is completely normal and, in fact, is the look most people are after. They are finished with boiled linseed oil and our own natural beeswax polish. If kept under cover the original look can be retained by simply re-applying some wax polish or oil. Avoid using vegetable oil though; there is the possibility that it will go rancid under certain conditions – which is not so great.
The houses are jointed using exterior PVA glue, occasionally we’ll use nails or screws but mostly just glue and, sometimes, dowels.
Timber will expand and contract to varying degrees depending on the moisture content of the wood. This will cause cracking in the timber over time and is also quite normal. If you feel the integrity of the house is under threat just contact us and we’ll see what we can do to fix it up.
If your house gets seriously weathered and you want to return it to its original look then all you need is some sandpaper (and a bit of work). Use course sandpaper initially (like 60 or 80 grit) then move to finer stuff; for an outdoor birdhouse there is no need to go beyond 240 grit. This will still give you a nice smooth finish for you to re-apply linseed oil to. You can apply a varnish or polyurethane finish to freshly sanded timber; we don’t like it much but in some situations it can be good. From experience, varnish tends to flake and peel off after a while outdoors so there is no real advantage over a plain oil finish.