The Rabbit Hutch – Part 7

Sigh…. It seems that anytime I write a post this year, I have to start with the disclaimer of why I haven’t posted for X number of months.  Life gets busy.  I finished this rabbit hutch project in April, but still haven’t managed to put the final few posts together.  I think I need to just buckle down and write a couple of posts.

I spent the summer restoring an old fishing boat and an RV that I bought at the beginning of 2017.  It was a lot of work (cleaning, polishing, caulking), but nothing really woodworking related other than a RV dining table that had to be rebuilt.  Even if I had photographed the process, its clear from my inability to finish the rabbit hutch series, that I would now be sitting on a bunch of images that would also not be in blog post form.

My last post was in July, so I fully understand if you had completely forgotten that I ever started a rabbit hutch series.  In fact, It would be far more surprising if you actually remembered.  In any case, let’s get back to where I left off….

The rabbit hutch project is finally looking like a rabbit hutch.  I got a lot done in the last post, but the hutch still doesn’t have a roof.  Time to remedy that.

You can see the earlier posts in this series here:

In the last post, I made the pull out drawers that I hope will make cleaning out the hutch easier. Now the hutch needs a roof.  This thing is getting heavy, so the roof needs to be removable.  Lets get started:

I milled some Douglas fir and cut it into a trapezoidal shape.  I can’t remember the exact angle (it’s been nearly a year), but lets estimate 10-15°.  Either way, the angle here needs to match the pitch of the roof.  The front and back pieces are trapezoidal, the sides are square.

I milled some stock to make the roof.

I milled some stock to make the roof.

I figured that I would join the pieces with some chunky dovetails.  Overkill?  Sure, but what about this rabbit hutch hasn’t been?

All of the parts were beveled to match the slope of the roof.

All of the parts were beveled to match the slope of the roof.

I used some cardboard to design a template for the dovetails.

I used some cardboard to design a template for the dovetails.

I traced the template onto the workpiece and cut the dovetails.

I traced the template onto the workpiece and cut the dovetails.

Not perfect, but close enough for a rabbit hutch.

Not perfect, but close enough for a rabbit hutch.

I used my twin tail vises and bench dogs as clamps for the glue-up.

The assembly was glued up and left to dry.

The assembly was glued up and left to dry.

I then planed all of the surfaces flush.

I then planed all of the surfaces flush.

The main part of the roof is made of ⅝” plywood.  The Doug Fir frame that I just made is to stiffen the plywood and to serve as a fascia.  I suppose the plywood could have been attached directly to the top of the Doug Fir, but I thought it better if it were installed with screws and glue in a rabbet.  Nice and neat.

I used to my laminate router to cut a rabbet on the inside of the roof assembly.

I used to my laminate router to cut a rabbet on the inside of the roof assembly.

I had to make multiple passes with the trim router to remove such a large rabbet.

I cut a piece of ⅝-inch plywood to fit inside the rabbet.

I cut a piece of ⅝-inch plywood to fit inside the rabbet.

The plywood was attached to the frame with glue and screws.  After that, it was time for a quick test fit.

That should be big enough to keep the rain off most of the hutch.

That should be big enough to keep the rain off most of the hutch.

A quick test fit before proceeding any further.

A quick test fit before proceeding any further.

I gave the roof several coats of good exterior paint and then the next step was to install some 30 lb roofing felt (tar paper) and a meal drip edge.

I installed drip edge and roofing felt.

I installed drip edge and roofing felt.

I painted the roof assembly.

I painted the roof assembly.

Roofing indoors was a wholly new experience .  I never thought I’d be using my bench like this when I built it.

Installing the shingles.

Installing the shingles.

The last strip will be glued on to cover the nailheads.

The last strip will be glued on to cover the nailheads.

Wow… I found that this thing was really heavy when I went to remove it from the bench.  I had to get a neighbor to help me move it.  I set it outside where it can wait for final installation.

Time to turn my attention to building a ramp that the rabbits will be able to use to go from the lower to upper sections of the hutch.

Starting to layout the parts for the ramp.

Starting to layout the parts for the ramp.

Cutting into the line was quicker than setting up the miter saw.

Cutting into the line was quicker than setting up the miter saw.

The ramp was really simple.  Two rails made from Doug Fir and rabbeted to receive a ¼” plywood surface.  I added glue and brad nails, and then used my holdfasts and cauls to apply clamping pressure.

I'm glued up the ramp assembly and used my holdfasts as clamps.

I’m glued up the ramp assembly and used my holdfasts as clamps.

When I made the upper poop drawer, I mis-measured where the opening for the ramp sat.  This meant that I had to notch the edge of the ramp to allow the drawer to fully close.

I had to notch the side of the ramp to allow the drawer to fully close.

I had to notch the side of the ramp to allow the drawer to fully close.

I screwed up a little here we're making the drawer. It should not have extended past the edge of the frame.

As seen from above: I screwed up a little here we’re making the drawer. It should not have extended past the edge of the frame.

The critters will need something for their feet to grip when using the ramp so that I doesn’t become a slide.  I accomplished this by cutting a ton of little pieces and gluing them on.

Chamfering the small traction pieces.

Chamfering the small traction pieces.

Glueing on some traction.

Glueing on some traction.

Painted and installed.

Painted and installed.

I just hope they'll use it. It is a rather long climb.

I just hope they’ll use it. It is a rather long climb.

Fantastic, we’re nearly there.  The last part of my plan was to make a small insulated box that the critters can go inside of in the worst of the cold weather.  In the wild, they’d be able to burrow underground to escape the worst of the cold and wind, so it seems only fair that I give them something similar in this hutch.

In the next post, I’ll make the insulated box.

Stay tuned.

 

– Jonathan White

 

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