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What timber and finish for an outdoor hanging birdhouse?

Jim57
Building a Reputation

What timber and finish for an outdoor hanging birdhouse?

Hi I am wanting to build a bird house and hang it from a tree ( for birds to nest).

I just want opinions on type of timber that would last in the weather. I was thinking of Marine ply for part of it or would I be better off using hardwood ?

The other issue is it would be nice to have a natural wood finish and what would I finish the timber with that wouldn’t be harmful to birds.

Any helpful advise would be greatly appreciated.

Regards Jim

KatieC
Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

Re: What timber and finish for an outdoor hanging birdhouse?

Hi @Jim57,

 

Thank you for your question about timber selection and finish for your upcoming birdhouse project, it is great that you are keeping our feathered friends in the forefront of your design. Our resident DIY guru @EricL will be online later this afternoon but let me tag @Jamespeter100 who is an avid birdhouse builder and @JoeAzza who made this great Birdhouse project, as they may have some suggestions for you. 

 

The community would love to see your journey in creating your birdhouse so please update us with photos. 

 

Katie

 

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Re: What timber and finish for an outdoor hanging birdhouse?

Just my opinion.  Have to consider if to use finish at all. If the bird likes doing woodwork as well, with its beak, there is a chance it’s consuming some of the finish. I’ve been working on the idea of using sheet metal as a roof. Bending over the metal at the edges, so no harm to the bird with sharp edges. The sheet metal can overhang so to avoid the wood being wet near the top. If the wood lasts two seasons, that is fine, make another bird house. 

EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: What timber and finish for an outdoor hanging birdhouse?

Hi @Jim57

 

The general rule is to use timber that does not have any chemical preservatives in it. For example, marine plywood is excellent for outdoor use but releases a lot of fumes which is not good when inhaled in an enclosed space. However, untreated pine on the other hand has no chemicals in it but has a finite life when exposed to the outside elements. Its lifespan can be extended if a sealer was applied to it or if it is shaded from the elements.

 

@Jamespeter100 makes an excellent suggestion and that is to use other materials that are strong against the weather to protect the wood underneath. So by combining these elements you can build a safe environment for the bird and at the same time extend the life of the birdhouse. 

 

My number one suggestion is to leave the inside of the birdhouse neutral with no sealer and apply them only to the outside of the birdhouse.

 

This is a fantastic project, please make sure to post an update as you build the birdhouse, I'm sure our members would be keen to see what you create.

 

If you have any other questions, please let us know.

 

Eric 

 

 

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JoeAzza
Amassing an Audience

Re: What timber and finish for an outdoor hanging birdhouse?

Hi @Jim57 when I made my birdhouse I used pine, however for outside, I would have used cedar wood, it should last a long time outdoors, I would love to see your photo's of your birdhouse when finished.

Jim57
Building a Reputation

Re: What timber and finish for an outdoor hanging birdhouse?

Thanks Joe that’s great advise. In your opinion is cedar wood more durable than marine ply and if so what would you recommend for a finish /sealer for cedar.

l have taken the point that James brought up about Marine Pine giving off fumes and birds Peking the wood in the nest but the design I have come up with ( found on net) uses PVC pipe for the actual nesting premises and wood for a decorative A frame roof and opening and back of pvc pipe

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EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: What timber and finish for an outdoor hanging birdhouse?

Hello @Jim57

 

What a beautiful birdhouse design. Let me tag @JoeAzza to make him aware of your kind words and question. For a safe finish, I suggest using either tung oil or linseed oil on the birdhouse.

 

Eric

 

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Jim57
Building a Reputation

Re: What timber and finish for an outdoor hanging birdhouse?

Hi Eric

thanks for the reply.

I chose that design because I thought because it uses PCV pipe for the nesting area it would be safe if birds pecked at it and also less wood to rot or get eaten by termites.

I just wanted to ask if linseed oil and Tung oil will protect the timber long term and do they act as a sealer and are they a better treatment than a water based paint

 

EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: What timber and finish for an outdoor hanging birdhouse?

Hi @Jim57

 

I used tung oil on my son's coffee table and it's made of ordinary plywood. We've had it out for a couple of summers now and it has withstood the elements quite well. It will probably need a new coating at some point but I think it will protect the birdhouse very well. Please note that I was very liberal when I was putting the oil on the table and it took a few weeks for it to dry out. 

 

Eric

 

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