I’ve had this post written and sitting in my drafts folder for over a month now. I wanted to wait to post it until I finished the window screens which I did today, so I’ve added that part to the end of this post. I could have done the screens a couple of months ago but got side-tracked. Last year, after a long search, I bought my dream car but couldn’t do anything with it as I was busy trying to finish the chicken coop. The last two months have been all about in-depth car detailing and polishing. That’s why my blog has gone quiet of late. I haven’t posted anything about it here as this is supposed to be about woodworking. I know it’s my blog, but I started it for a reason, and my chicken coop project has already sidetracked the blog enough. At least the coop is made (mostly) of wood and documenting the build isn’t too far of base. I felt I’d be better off saving this space for when I get back to some tool restoration and woodworking.
This post should be the last in my chicken coop series. The chicks are now fully grown and eggs are dropping fast and furiously. At the time I first wrote this, they weren’t laying yet and I was feeling the stress of needing to get this done quickly.
When I framed the walls of the coop, I left openings for the nesting boxes, and in a later post, I made doors to cover the openings. My design for the nesting boxes is to have an outer box that attaches to the walls of the coop and an inner box that pulls out on full extension drawer slides. This will make it easier to clean out the nesting boxes and to collect the eggs.
To make the boxes, I bought a sheet of 3/4″ Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). I had forgotten just how heavy this stuff is. I think it is nearly 100 lbs. for a 4×8 sheet. I cut the pieces for the outer boxes and rabbeted them at the table saw.
MDF is good stuff, but splits easily when you screw into the ends or edges. This is preventable by pre-drilling and counter sinking.
I used TiteBond III on all the joints and assembled the boxes. I then filled all the counter sink holes with painter’s spackle.
Time to move on to the pull-out inner boxes.
It took a little time to perfect the set-up, but I cut a rabbet/dado joint for the rear of the boxes. I notched the side and center pieces to accept the front, and then rabbeted everything to accept a 5mm plywood drawer bottom.
The inner boxes were glued and screwed together.
These boxes are rather heavy. I removed the inner boxes from the assembly and then lugged everything out to the coop. I inserted the outer boxes into the openings that were built into the coop. Once I was satisfied with the alignment, I screwed through the MDF boxes and into the framing of the coop.
Here’s how it looks inside.
The last part of the chicken coop build is to make screens for the windows. Having the windows wide open is great for ventilation and really helps to prevent respiratory problems with the birds. The problem is that it also serves as a place for the birds to get out or for predators to get in. When I special ordered the windows, I got all the cheapest options I could. I also specified no window screens as the fabric screens aren’t going to keep a determined critter out. I decided to make my own out of wood and hardware cloth.
The wood I used was a stick left over from my workbench build project. It is air dried douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). At the band-saw, I ripped four strips and then gang fed them through the planer to clean them up. They ended up at about 7/8″ x 1-1/4″.
I cut the pieces to length.
I very briefly thought about a single dovetail joint at the end of each piece. I quickly realized that I was out of my mind and got out my pocket hole jig.
This went pretty quickly.
I even resisted the urge to fill the pocket holes with spackle. I just want this done.
I then took a piece of 120 grit paper and eased all the edges by hand.
I cut the hardware cloth to size with some tin snips and used my narrow crown air stapler to attach it to the wooden frames.
Well.. that’s it. I’m done! The coop still needs a coat of paint, but I’m going to wait for summer to do that.
If you’re interested, you can read the earlier posts in this series here:
- Chicken Coop Project – Part 1
- Chicken Coop Project – Part 2
- Chicken Coop Project – Part 3
- Chicken Coop Project – Part 4
- Chicken Coop Project – Part 5
- Chicken Coop Project – Part 6
- Chicken Coop Project – Part 7
Thanks for sticking with me while I diverted my woodworking blog for the better part of a year. I’ll get back to “proper” woodworking again soon.
– Jonathan White