From WoodworkersZone WoodWiki
Building a round stave constructed birdhouse by Router Jim
What started as a personal challenge to build a round birdhouse several years ago has led me to build these bird houses. The construction technique is a good use of shop cutoffs and they make a very unique gift. A bird house is also good for the enviroment and a source of entertainment to the end user.
We need to start off with deciding what diameter we want to end up with. I chose roughly 5 1/2"s.
Draw a 5 1/2" circle and divide it into equal segments. In this case I found that by measuring from point to point on my circle that I could utilize my face frame cutoffs ( 1 3/8") if I use 12 of them.
Determining the bevel angle
The bevel angle is determined from a simple formula:
[360º/# pieces]/2= bevel angle. In my case that would be [360º/12]/2 =15º
Here is a chart with some other common angles:
4 sides = 45º
6 sides = 30º
8 sides = 22.5º
12 sides = 15º
16 sides = 11.25º
24 sides = 7.5º
Cutting and glue up
I chose 12 pieces that are at least 8"s long, set the blade to 15º and cut. Then I lay out the pieces (widest side up) and determine a pleasing layout. I then apply 2 strips of painters tape to keep the pieces aligned and then flip the whole assembly over. It's similar to a tambour door at this stage.
Gather up your clamps. I used Band clamps from Rockler and Merle clamps. Tape, rubber bands, inner tube, large band clamps, and even shrink wrap would all work. Choose a good exterior glue and apply. I used Titebond II.
While the glue dries I cut out the pieces for the top and bottom. I want 2 - 6" circles and 5 slightly smaller. I found it helps with alignment to drill a 1/8" hole through all the circles. I only drill 1/2 way through the very top circle. When I drew my circles with a compass I deliberately push in the point to leave a refernce mark for drilling. I then insert a 1/8" dowel and apply glue. I stack each circle so that the grain direction is perpendicular to the previous circle. This method gives a very pleasing glow to the alternating layers. Three clamps evenly spaced does a good job when I use the dowel method as it keeps the pieces from sliding.
Now that the cylinder has dried I cut the ends square using the miter guage. I then set the cylinder on a piece of ply scrap and trace the inside profile onto the scrap. I then cut the scrap ply to form a plug insert for each end.
The centers are marked on the inserts. One insert is mounted to a face plate which also contains an additional scrap to allow me to turn a tenon on the face plate end. The cylinder is then turned round and sanded on the lathe. I turn a 3/8" long tenon on each end.
Next I mount one of the 6" circles on the face late and turn into a perfect circle. I then create the mortise 3/8" deep and test fit with the matching tenon on the cylinder.
The glue up for the top is first mounted on the face plate and turned to be somewhat round and the end is rounded to enable a lathe chuck to be used. The top is then removed from the face plate and mounted to the chuck. This allows the mortise to be created. Once I have the perfect fit of the matching mortise and tenon, I remove from the chuck and reinstall the face plate. I then mount between centers and turn to whatever shape I find pleasing. I found adding a 3/4" strip of copper adds to the overall look.
I then drill a 1 1/4" hole centered on one of the staves and install an eyescrew that I have painted black.
The top is now glued and clamped to the cylinder. The holes on the bottom piece that were left from the face plate are enlarged to 3/16" to provide ventilation and drainage. I then attach the bottom using 3 screws and no glue. This allows for cleaning of the house yearly. I finish by applying about 4 coats of Valspar Exterior Spar polyurethane.
The finished picture shows the glow created by aternating grain direction on the top pieces.
That's it! Hope you enjoy this project.