Dovecotes are not all that easy to build; technically they aren’t difficult but there are a lot of pieces that must all fit together like some giant jigsaw puzzle. We use jigs like we do with the bird houses but a dovecote can’t be completed in a single glue-up, they are slower to construct and each piece must be spot on as any errors are really hard to hide.
Although they may be considered ornamental, they are also functional. Every dovecote, from the smallest to the largest, have access doors or hinged panels to allow cleaning and maintenance.
There are a couple of materials are used depending on the particular design.
Pallets and Recycled Timber:
Part of our philosophy is to re-use and recycle wherever we can; we scrounge pallets and old wood from all over and anything that is destined for the dump or the fire is perfect for us.
We love pallet timber for the beautiful patterns and textures; but we really don’t like pallet timber when it has damage or faults. Repairs can be frustrating and time consuming but that is the price you pay to ensure you get the look you want. Splits can be glued with PVA but some areas need to be filled with epoxy; it is strong and clear (so it retains that nice distressed look we are after) but is slow to cure and a bit of a bugger to work. If left for 24 hours or so the excess can be pared off with a sharp chisel; sanding is problematic though as it often leaves it with the appearance of foggy glass (not so great).
Generally these are made to order and we prefer to use Tasmanian timbers and then only scraps or offcuts; popular choices are Huon Pine, Myrtle, Blackwood, Celery Top Pine, Cypress and Sassafras.
For a whole lot of information on the types of finishes we use (and a great recipe for natural beeswax polish) – click here.