The last Grassroots session before Xmas and everyone was in a festive mood and before heading out to the poly tunnel to continue making there was just time to try on a policeman’s hat to see who it suited best?
Hat hijinks finished the group swiftly divided into teams. Kenny, Nathan, Paddy, Mason and Loz set to work with Jacqui and Andy adding more reclaimed timber cladding to two of the bird box sides, By the end of the morning they were looking great with a variety of colours and textures making a really striking finish. Neil, Nathan and Kelly worked especially hard with the complicated task of building the curved roof from old floor boards, the measuring ad cutting involved a bit of a guess so we hope it fits better than the policewoman’s hat!
The last making day (and last session before Christmas) for DSYR was held at Oldham Civic Centre which proved to be a tight squeeze for the group and all the equipment needed for making Art Birdboxes. The group endeavored in the small space and by the end of the session most of the bird boxes where assembled and ready for decoration which will commence after the holidays. Holly cut out her very detailed Dragon from plywood ready for sculpting low relief 3D detail as well as drilling and cutting the crenelations for the top of her castle nest box. Bronagh shared her circle cutting skills with Lily and helped her cut all the parts for her Lego Iron Man bird box’s head using the trammel jig. Izzy added some fine detail to the Disney Fire station, while T-Jay battled to cut complicated angles on the twelve sided Globe Theatre roof. Katie made some detailed windmill sails whilst Georgia took on the role of group photographer and documented all the hard work. All this and some Christmas inspired fun made for a great last making session (just don’t ask why Dylan was doing wearing that hat as we have absolutely no idea!).
architectural bird box basics
Just a spot of glue…
Hannah and her ghosts
abirdabode’s second week at Grassroots and the group worked hard to get the big abirdabode standing. Neil, Kelly, Nathan and Kenny built up the last two side frames and covered them in exterior ply whilst Mason and Paddy set to work ‘carefully’ dismantling some old wooden doors. By the time the ‘destruction duo’, working with hammer, crow bar and great gusto had converted the doors into a pile of useable pieces the rest of the group had the bird box sides ready to assemble. Working in pairs the group drilled pilot holes and bolted the box together using long bolts, an impact driver and a handful of t-nuts, NOT as Neil hoped peanuts!
The next day’s job was to take the pile of dismantled doors and sort the pieces into colours and start cladding the bird box wall with them in a decorative manner. Darren proved a dab hand at drilling and screwing the pieces in place, whilst Mark worked with Darian and Ben on the complex task of cutting curved eaves for the bird box roof. Kenny, disguised as a Russian, helped both teams complete their tasks.
By the end of the day the Big abirdabode was standing and of course we had to test how many of us could fit in it!
We all fit!
Nathan and Kelly team up
Neil nails it
to me, to you
From Russia with gloves
Kenny and Andy do the drill
Darrens drills it
Bronagh’s Bird Box
My bird box is of Jack Skellington and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I chose this because I love the film as it interests me because it is very unusual the animation is unique. Also every Christmas Eve I watch it before I go to sleep. I am also a fan of the creator, Tim Burton.
First things first I made my maquette which was completely different to my practical work ; this was because you could not bend the wood as my bird box is circular.
This is one of the more complex art bird boxes to construct as it is spherical in shape. Building it involved calculating the sizes of a series of circular layers required to build up the contours of the head using measurements taken from the maquette. The head required ten discs of 18mm plywood each cut to a specific size. Using the band-saw and a trammel jig cutting ten discs didn’t take too long.
The layers were then laminated with waterproof PVA glue in two sections so the inside Jack’s head will be accessible for cleaning! Once the glue had dried Richard turned the pile of discs into a rough sphere shape using the lathe and sander.
layers and layers
ready to turn
The DSYR’s last day at Rock Street and the bird box making was really hotting up (despite the freezing weather outside).
Time is of the essence and the massive pile of plywood is swiftly being turned into the structures for some amazing Art Bird boxes. T-Jay discovered that his Globe Theatre Birdbox was even more complex than he’d realised and enlisted Greg’s help to glue the multitude of pieces together to form the twelve sided structure. Tori has converted her Hobbit House Art Birdbox into a communal nets box for house sparrows as they are a particularly endangered species in the UK (and so they can live in true Hobbit style as friendly neighbours). She also showed us the set of CAD plans she’d produced of the bird box!
Luckily Dylan rejoined the group this week and proved an dab hand at birdbox construction and an invaluable assistant for both Holly and Hannah. Hannah proved her bandsaw skill by showing Holly how to use the new bandsaw safely and accurately.
Georgia’s pyramid box looked amazing and just required a few gaps to be filled to ensure it’s waterproofness and Zak’s Art Deco snail took form with the assistance of Kayleigh and a spot of bendy ply wrestling.
Jake fitted his cube box together and started cutting the large number of parts required for decoration pieces.
The group are working as a great team and all in all it was a great last day at Rock Street; with another similar afternoon of hard work all the DSYR’s Art Birdboxes will be made and ready for decoration by Christmas!
All time low bird box basics
are you sure?
The start of December and the abirdabode project landed at the Grassroots Community Orchard. Thursday was cold and dry so we were treated to a quick tour of the allotment and orchard (which has almost 200 fruit trees!) and saw the chickens, ducks and bees.
The first group task was to assemble a work bench. Everyone got involved and by the time the bench was assembled it was time for a well earned tea break so we headed inside and started making plans for the Grassroots abirdabode.
The Grassroots abirdabode will be a human size Big Art Bird Box to form the centerpiece of the abirdabode exhibition and which can be used at Grassroots for storage or shelter (and for Andy to hide in!). The group decided to build it using reclaimed materials as this suits the ethos of Grassroots.
On Friday the sun came out and we started building the Big abirdabode in the very warm poly-tunnel. Some new participants and some old friends joined us and with the use of the newly built work bench work proceeded splendidly and by lunch time we had planned the bird box build and had two side frames complete!
The Dovestone Youth Rangers’ Art Birdboxes are really taking shape following last weeks plan drawing and dimension sorting session. Working from their cardboard maquettes some of the designs needed to be adapted slightly from the to make sure they worked as Bird boxes – we followed the criteria offered by the RSPB and BTO for the entrance holes sizes and heights.
The Birdboxes are in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles as expected and all are made from a base of exterior 18mm plywood. Parts for the Birdboxes were cut from the plywood by the group using their newly acquired band-saw and scroll saw skills but some of the parts which required the use of a table saw were cut by Richard in his studio working from the scale plans ;especially those requiring compound mitres and much head scratching.
The Bird boxes now consist of a large pile of parts ready for assembly and decoration.
work cut out
scroll saw details
pyramid bird box
scroll saw skills
an art bird box studio
cutting curves on the bandsaw