The Rabbit Hutch – Part 8

The rabbit hutch project is just about complete, but before I wrap things up there is one last element that I want to add.  I decided as part of my design to include an insulated box that the rabbits could go into in the worst of the cold weather.  In the wild, they’d be able to go underground to escape the worst of winter’s bite and it doesn’t seem fair to stick them in a wire cage above ground without adding a little extra protection from the elements.  I wanted to make a small box that was somewhat insulated and that their body heat will keep the box warm.  Sort of a hutch within a hutch.

Before I get any further, if you are so inclined, you can see the earlier posts in this series here:

With the roof made, I started on the insulated box.  I’ll make a frame from 1-inch square Douglas fir and skin it inside and out with ¼-inch ply.

Starting to cut the pieces to make the insulated box.

Starting to cut the pieces to make the insulated box.

I milled up some stock, cut it to length, and then cut bridal joints to fit the frames together.

All the stock, ready to go.

All the stock, ready to go.

Bridal joints, cut at the table-saw.

Bridal joints, cut at the table-saw.

When assembled, the parts make three rectangles.

When assembled, the parts make three rectangles.

Each was glued and clamped.

Each was glued and clamped.

One end will be a solid wall, but the other needs to have an opening for the rabbits to get in and out.  Since the opening will always be open, I’m not sure quite how effective the insulation will be, but it can’t hurt.

I added some dividers to frame the will become the entrance.

I added some dividers to frame that will become the entrance.

Starting to cut the quarter-inch ply that will become the walls of the box.

Starting to cut the quarter-inch ply that will become the walls of the box.

The plywood gets glued and nailed on, and some spacers were installed with pocket hole screws.

The plywood gets glued and nailed on, and some spacers were installed with pocket hole screws.

I added some isolation from left over batting from my chicken coop project.  I realized that there wasn’t very many points to attach the floor, so I added some scrap blocks with glue.

Preparing to install the floor.

Preparing to install the floor.

 

After the floor, was the panel for the inside roof.

A piece of plywood added the inside roof.

A piece of plywood added to the inside roof.

Followed by the inside back wall.

More insulation into the back of the box.

More insulation into the back of the box.

Covering the inside end.

Covering the inside end.

Now it's starting to look like a box.

Now it’s starting to look like a box.

Installing some scrap pieces to support the inside end plywood.

Installing some scrap pieces to support the inside end plywood.

More insulation.

More insulation.

The end piece of plywood gets glued and nailed on.

The end piece of plywood gets glued and nailed on.

I’m not sure if the insulation will help, but it is easy to add.

Now for the other end.

Now for the other end.

I added the left end, which covers the door opening.

I added the left end, which covers the door opening.

You can see where the plywood covers the door.

You can see where the plywood covers the door.

I added the outside roof panel.

Things are progressing nicely.

Things are progressing nicely.

Cutting out the excess plywood from the door opening.

Cutting out the excess plywood from the door opening.

With everything assembled, I rounded over all the edges with a trim router then spackled and sanded the whole box.

I used a round over bit in the palm router to soften all the edges of the box.

I used a round over bit in the palm router to soften all the edges of the box.

After some spackle and sanding.

After some spackle and sanding.

I decided that since the end would be open all the time, I should add a small divider to the inside of the box.

I installed a removable divider.

I installed a removable divider.

The divider is held in place by some wooden strips that are glued to the inside of the box.

The divider is held in place by some wooden strips that are glued to the inside of the box.

I didn’t have enough 1″ Doug fir stock to make the doors, but I did have some appropriately sized Cedar in the lumber rack, and used that for some of the pieces.

Time to make some doors for the box. Bridal joints again.

Time to make some doors for the box. Bridal joints again.

Glued and clamped.

Glued and clamped.

These will get plywood door skins.

These will get plywood door skins.

Here's where they will fit.

Here’s where they will fit.

The inside plywood skin is installed flush with the frame.

The inside plywood skin is installed flush with the frame.

These doors are also skinned with plywood.  On the inside of the door, the plywood is flush with the frame.  However, on the outside, the skin overlaps the edge of the frame.  This meant of the outside skin had to be quite accurately positioned.

Glueing on the plywood skins.

Glueing on the plywood skins.

I’m really starting to like the technique of using your bench and holdfasts as a giant clamp.  It works great.

Holdfasts provide great even clamping pressure.

Holdfasts provide great even clamping pressure.

Laying out the hinges.

Laying out the hinges.

Since this is an outdoor project, I used galvanized hinges with brass pins.

Hinge mortises cut.

Hinge mortises cut.

First door installed.

First door installed.

Chopping more hinge mortises.

Chopping more hinge mortises.

Insulated doors installed.

Insulated doors installed.

They just need a bid of paint.

They just need a bid of paint.

A wooden spacer on which to mount the catch.

A wooden spacer on which to mount the catch.

Installing some door latches.

Installing some door latches.

That’s about it for the insulated box, but before I install it, I decided to make a barrier for the ramp opening on the upper level.  This was quick and simple from a couple of pieces of ply and Doug Fir.

A quick barrier to go around the ramp opening.

A quick barrier to go around the ramp opening.

A lick of paint.

A lick of paint.

Ready to install.

Ready to install.

Nailed in place.

Nailed in place.

With that done, I can install the insulated box that sits above it.  In the below image you might just make out my pencil marks.

Marking screw locations on the inside back wall of the hutch.

Marking screw locations on the inside back wall of the hutch.

Drilling a quick pilot hole from the inside.

Drilling a quick pilot hole from the inside.

And then a countersunk hole from the backside.

And then a countersunk hole from the backside.

Installed on the back wall. Now it just needs a ramp.

Installed on the back wall. Now it just needs a ramp.

All the screws installed. That box isn't going anywhere!

All the screws installed. That box isn’t going anywhere!

As the box sits up above the main floor, the rabbits will need another ramp to get into it.  I used the same method as on the earlier ramp.

Time to make another ramp.

Time to make another ramp.

Nothing fancy, just side rails and plywood.

Nothing fancy, just side rails and plywood.

And some glued on bits for traction.

And some glued on bits for traction.

The ramp was screwed to the side of the box.

The ramp was screwed to the side of the box.

Here's where it sits.

Here’s where it sits.

And some guide rails.

And some guide rails.

And that’s all folks!  The rabbit hutch is done.

In the next post, I’ll clear and level a spot of ground to install the hutch and show all the final reveal photos.

More soon.

 

– Jonathan White

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