The Rabbit Hutch – Part 4

It’s been months since I posted here, the longest gap since I started my blog.  I have continued working on the rabbit hutch as time allowed, but after looking back at some of my earlier posts, realized that I have been on this project for over six months now.  Yikes!  I have continued to photograph the build as I progressed, but I haven’t had time until recently to edit photos or try to put them into a blog post format.  I now have about five posts in the pipeline, so hopefully you should see more from me soon.

I doubt that any of you can remember what I had already done (I had to go look at my earlier posts myself), so I will add links for you to re-acquaint yourselves if you so wish.

The last post ended with the main carcase of the rabbit hutch glued up into a single unit.  It’s nice to see the plan coming together.  The hutch is divided into an upper and a  lower section.  Both of these sections will have a wire floor, and the wire will need to be supported by a wooden frame.  So, the two floor frames will be the next part of my build.

Generally, I’ve stop taking photographs of me milling stock.  It’s the same in every post so I’ll just skip to the end result.  I wanted frames that are both light and strong, and Douglas Fir will be just fine for that.

I milled some more pieces of Douglas Fir to make the bottom floor frame.

I milled some more pieces of Douglas Fir to make the bottom floor frame.

Two ends, two sides, and two cross rails.

Two ends, two sides, and two cross rails.

I could have just assembled these with pocket hole screws, but why not practice good furniture building skills while making this project?  Bring on the dovetails.

The top frame needs to have an open section for a ramp to connect the two levels of the hutch.  The bottom frame is a simpler design, so I’ll start with that one.

Laying out a single tail on the ends of the sides.

Laying out a single tail on the ends of the sides.

I used a 1:7 tail layout.

I used a 1:7 tail layout.

Once all four tails were cut, I had to transfer the marks for the corresponding pins.

Once all four tails were cut, I had to transfer the marks for the corresponding pins.

Good enough for a rabbit hutch.

Good enough for a rabbit hutch.

With all four corners fitted, I had to decide where to place the cross rails.

I experimented with the spacing of the cross rails.

I experimented with the spacing of the cross rails.

Wedged mortise and tenons will keep the cross rails in place.

Wedged mortise and tenons will keep the cross rails in place.

I chopped the mortises and kerfed the tenons.

I chopped the mortises and kerfed the tenons.

Time for a glue-up.

Time for a glue-up.

Checked for square and left to dry.

Checked for square and left to dry.

After being left for a day to dry, I flushed all the joints.

Trimmed and planed back flush.

Trimmed and planed back flush.

Quick round-over using the laminate trim router and a ⅛" round-over bit.

Quick round-over using the laminate trim router and a ⅛” round-over bit.

 

Now for that upper frame.  This one will be a little bit trickier.

I milled some more stock to make the upper frame.

I milled some more stock to make the upper frame.

A slightly wider tail this time.

A slightly wider tail this time.

Cut to the base line.

Cut to the base line.

I trimmed off the sides with a small crosscut saw.

I trimmed off the sides with a small crosscut saw.

Cutting the pins proved to be a bit of a challenge. They are on the end of pieces that are five feet long.  There’s no easy way to do this without having a 60″ hight on the workbench top.

Cutting pins on the end of pieces over 5 feet long is a pain.

Cutting pins on the end of pieces over 5 feet long is a pain.

The layout of the upper frame was different and I ended up needing three cross rails instead of two.  I chose my design and then cut all the mortise and tenons.

A much different cross rail design was called for on the upper frame.

A much different cross rail design was called for on the upper frame.

I used the same wedged mortise and tenon joinery for the cross rails.

I used the same wedged mortise and tenon joinery for the cross rails.

A quick dry fit to make sure that it will all go together.

A quick dry fit to make sure that it will all go together.

Glue-up time once more.

Glue-up time once more.

Oak wedges secure the joinery.

Oak wedges secure the joinery.

Flush trimming the wedges.

Flush trimming the wedges.

A final cleanup with a block plane.

A final cleanup with a block plane.

That should stay nice and tight for a long time to come.

That should stay nice and tight for a long time to come.

Once more, I used the round-over bit to soften all the edges.

Once more, I used the round-over bit to soften all the edges.

It is much easier to paint all of these sub-assemblies now rather than at the end.  Also, this allows me to paint surfaces that will be covered or inaccessible later.  I want all wooden surfaces of this project to be painted, with no bare wood exposed anywhere.  I did not use a timber known for rot resistance as it was really expensive.  Several coats of good paint should add some rot resistance and longevity to the project.

The frames will screw into the main carcase of the hutch from inside.  I added some countersunk pilot holes before adding the wire to make the job a little easier later.

The frames needed paint and some pilot holes for later installation.

The frames needed paint and some pilot holes for later installation.

I used a special rubber/vinyl coated hardware cloth for the floor. This is supposed to be gentler on the feet of the rabbits than regular hardware cloth.

I used a special rubber/vinyl coated hardware cloth for the floor. This is supposed to be gentler on the feet of the rabbits than regular hardware cloth.

 

In the next post, I’ll install the two floor frames and do some more work on the hutch carcase.

 

– Jonathan White

About Jonathan

I am a woodworker and hand tool restorer / collector. I buy too many tools and don’t build enough – I need help!

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6 Responses to The Rabbit Hutch – Part 4

  1. Heh, glad to see you are back 🙂
    Yes, as we both know, life gets in the way of our blogging at time… Such is life 🙂
    This rabbit hutch is gonna turn out as swanky as the chick’s coop.. 🙂

    Bob, with Rudy napping nearby

  2. jefski says:

    It’s great to hear from you again. Nice looking joinery — every rabbit should have such a quality home.

  3. Gavin says:

    Hi Jonathon,
    Looking nice, although the guinea pig hutch I made had some major differences it is surprising that some of the similar construction problems have been encountered on yours as well. Some of the longer lengths can be awkward. Although a pain to work due to the timber I was fortunate in having ample recycled mixed tropical hardwood to use that has good durability. Made easier with a natural oil finish used for decks etc. Slop it on and wipe off the excess! Correction, carefully load up your brush excessively , apply to saturation point and buff off excess making sure used cloths do not self ignite. I would add, ‘Hopefully rabbits do not eat joinery’ Keep on plugging away, some of these projects just like taking their time, it’s out of our hands.

    Gav

    • Jonathan says:

      Hey Gav,

      These things sure can take a long time. I’ve been getting a little more shop time this past week and hopefully I’ll have this project wrapped up soon. When I’ll manage to get the blog posts done is another issue.

      I hope you are well, it’s good to hear from you.

      All the best,

      Jonathan

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