During my spring pruning, I cut off a large limb from an apple tree. At that time, I cut the limb down into sections of varying lengths and varying diameters. Leaving the natural bark, I turned tenons on each end and drilled out the centers. I placed the apple cores in a plastic bag with shavings to let them dry. After several days, I mixed up the shavings and wood again and let the plastic bag slightly open to allow moisture to escape. The wood stayed underfoot for a couple more weeks during which I “stirred” the wood and shavings. Then I moved the wood out to a shed making sure not to seal the plastic bag and left it alone for several months.
Since the wood is much thinner, the wood is dry. Since the pith has been drilled out, there are no radial checks.
1. Mount the wood using the best original tenon.
2. Remove the opposite tenon and drill out the wood as much as possible.
3. Cut a groove inside the wood for an expansion mount. Remount the wood with an expansion mount.
4. Dress the opposite end and fit a mortise and tenon joint and turn the roof section.
5. Turn a disk to serve as the floor.
6. Drill for entrance and perch.
7. Turn a perch and glue the pieces together.
8. Finish with an oil finish to brighten the bark and finish the turned sections.
My birdhouse is six inches tall and three inches in diameter finished with walnut oil. The natural bark is perfect for the main section.
Music: Traumerei by Shumann performed by Becky Schlappi. Used with permission.