The Rabbit Hutch – Part 3

It’s been a long time since I posted here.  Work, family, and other things have been taking up all my time and I just haven’t had time to write.  I have been plodding along with the rabbit hutch build and I’m progressing well, but the blog has fallen way behind my actual progress in the project.

If you need a refresher of where I’m up to, here are the earlier posts:

I ended the last post with the hutch assembly in dry-fit to see that It would all go together as planned.  I could have proceeded to glue-up at this point, but there is still a lot of work to be done on the inside of the side pieces.  It is far easier to do this work with the hutch sides flat on the workbench than after assembly.

It still needs a lot of work, but you can finally see it starting to come together.

This is where I ended the last post, with the hutch frame in dry fit.

I disassembled the test fit and trimmed the bottom of the legs to their final length.  I had laid out these knife-lines in the beginning stages of the build when all four legs were clamped together.

I decided to use a galvanized lag bolt as the foot of each leg.  The bolt heads can be positioned on a brick or paver when I move the hutch outside.  This will keep the wooden legs away from the ground and (hopefully) prolong the life of the wood and stop them rotting.  I can also turn the lag bolts to independently adjust the height of each leg and make sure the hutch doesn’t rock.  Screwing a big lag bolt into the end grain of the legs would split the legs for sure.  To prevent this, I predrilled holes for the lag bolts using a doweling jig.

I trimmed the bottom of the legs to final length and used a dowling jig to drill a hole for the lag bolt.

I trimmed the bottom of the legs to final length and used a doweling jig to drill a hole for the lag bolt.

The lag bolt will serve as the foot and keep the wood a few inches off the ground.

The galvanized lag bolt will serve as the foot and keep the wood a few inches off the ground.

Next, I needed to install some hardware cloth to the inside of the hutch sides.

I cut a ½ inch wide by 1/16 inch deep rabbet for the hardware cloth.

I cut a ½ inch wide by 1/16 inch deep rabbet for the hardware cloth.

I squared up the corners with a chisel before installing the hardware cloth.

The pneumatic narrow crown stapler is the perfect tool for this job.

The pneumatic narrow crown stapler is the perfect tool for this job.

Hardware cloth stapled into the rabbet.

Hardware cloth stapled into the rabbet.

As the hutch is a split level unit, it will feature two drawers for capturing rabbit poop.  Since it is outdoors, I decided against using any metal drawer slides. Instead, I will use wooden strips of oak that will act as drawer runners.

I screwed a strip of oak to the inside for the poop drawer to ride on.

I screwed a strip of oak to the inside for the poop drawer to ride on.

I then realized that the gap just above the drawer slide would allow the drawer to wrack in its opening and bind.  I milled a small piece of Douglas fir to fill this gap.

I then added a gap filling strip of doug fir to stop the drawer from wracking.

I then added a gap filling strip of doug fir to stop the drawer from wracking.

 

Next, it was time to cover up the edges of the hardware cloth.

I cut some small strips to cover the edges of the hardware cloth.

I cut some small strips of douglas fir to cover the edges of the hardware cloth.

This is how they look in place.

This is how they look in place.

To seal the wood and help protect it, I painted the backside of the strips and the frame underneath before installing the strips with a brad nail gun.

I painted under the wooden strips and the back side of the covers before nailing them in place.

I painted under the wooden strips and the back side of the covers before nailing them in place.

I then turned my attention to the oak drawer runners for the bottom drawer.  These would also need something to prevent the drawer from wracking so I cut, glued, and clamped a piece of Douglas fir to the back of the oak runner.

I need oak strip runners for the bottom poop drawer.

I made oak strip runners for the bottom poop drawer.

Once the glue was dry and all the clamps removed, I painted all of the parts that would be inaccessible after assembly.

Painted all the edges and end-grain before screwing the runner in place.

Painted all the edges and end-grain before screwing the runner in place.

The oak runner was glued and clamped to the doug fir drawer guide prior to installation.

The oak runner was glued and clamped to the doug fir drawer guide prior to installation.

I repeated this whole process for the other side of the rabbit hutch.  Once both sides were finished, it was finally time for a big glue-up.

Glue up time. The entire edges of the front frames get glue.

Glue up time. The entire edges of the front frames get glue.

I started the glue up process using Titebond III.  As this is an outdoor project, a waterproof glue is important.

Glue ups are always a little stressful, but this turned out ok.

Glue ups are always a little stressful, but this one turned out ok.

The only real tricky part of the glue-up was the back stretchers.  I had to use two clamps hooked to each other to pull the joint closed tight up against the shoulder.  Once the joint was closed, I hammered in some oak wedges to keep everything locked in place.

I wedged the tenons to keep things tight.

I wedged the tenons to keep things tight.

I left it like this overnight.

I left it like this overnight.

The next day I trimmed the tenons flush.

The next day I trimmed the tenons flush.

In the next post, I’ll make the frames that will support the two floors of the hutch.

Stay tuned.

 

– Jonathan White

 

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