Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Monday, July 02, 2012

Chickie house update

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've mostly finished the chicken coop.

I still need to take some good photos of the chicken house -- but here's some views of some of the specific components that I finished after getting back from our road trip. Basically, over this weekend:  and today I started on the major ''shed tidying'' project.

The first photo (below) is of the sliding latch.  This has been installed for a while -- but I came across this photo that I hadn't yet used, so I'll raise the topic again.  Basically, because there's some ''play'' in the latch, I intentionally installed it at a 30 degree angle, so that it always falls to the left.  This allowed me to be more precise with its placement. 

Also, instead of using the loop that came with the latch assembly to keep the shaft from pulling **away** from the doorframe, I reversed the position, hammered the loop flat, and used it as a wear plate (i.e. to keep the wood on the door from wearing away).  The shaft of the latch now forces the door closed:  this is a more structurally sound arrangement, as the four screws holding the shaft mounting are bearing the load, rather than just two screws for the loop.

That photo was taken a fair while ago:  before I installed the screening, as well as the handle.

Below is a photo of the door handle that I constructed for the outside of the door:

It's made of two pieces of wood -- an L-shape for the top and vertical portions, and a short, angled segment for the ''spacer'' at the bottom.  I designed it to be weather-resistant:  there are no gaps in the top portion, and there is no place for water to get stuck (and cause rot) where the lower segment connects to the vertical. Plus, I gave it a few coatings of Danish oil (finishing oil).

And here is the door handle for the inside of the door:

This handle is a simpler design: three pieces, with the two shorter ''spacer'' pieces notched into the vertical section.  Since this handle is under shelter (i.e. inside the chicken coop), I didn't worry about weather resistance as much -- although it still has a few layers of Danish oil (finishing oil), as well.

Both are made from lagistromia branches, from The Lady's grandmother's front yard. I've had the branches for two or three years, and I still have some segments that I'll eventually use to make other things.

This windowsill protects the chickies' feet when they roost there.  During an earlier phase of construction I'd borrowed my brother-in-law's angle grinder and cut this window in the front of the metal shed that I was converting into the chicken coop.  I did this for ventilation:  it gets hot around here during the summer.  I didn't have time to install the windowsill before we left, so I just draped several layers of newspaper and cardboard over the bare sheet metal edge -- so they wouldn't hurt their feet -- and held it all in place with a small C-clamp.

The window still involved my cutting a two-by-four into an L-shaped cross-section, and leaving parts of it long, for aesthetic purposes.  You can see the parts that have been left long -- it's the far left and far right of the windowsill.

This is the inside view:

You can see that the **inside** of this piece of wood is even with the verticals of the window hole -- in contrast to the horizontal extensions that I retained for the outside.

This is a closer view of the outside of the window sill.  I added the little plus-signs to the photo to illustrate that I've ''clocked'' the screws.  This is a practice that my dad showed me when I was a kid, helping him around the house:  orienting the heads of screws in the same direction is a subtle sign of professionalism.  And once you know about ''clocking your screws'', you'll notice this (or the lack thereof!) in a lot of places -- such as the switchplates and wall outlets around your home.

And finally, here are the happy residents!

Three browns and a black one.  The browns in the rear are standing on a two-by-four screwed to two upturned plastic flower pots -- a little perch that I'd whipped up for them a few months back.  The feeder (foreground) and watering trough (behind it) are hanging from wires that are tied to the two-by-four beam that supports the tin roofing overhead.

So, except for two tasks, the chicken house is completed!  The chickie house is still operational -- but I can't cross it off my list until I (1) install a turnbuckle to keep the front frame from sagging (the weight of the door is skewing it sideways), and (2) move the pile of ''Grandad metal pieces'' from the back left corner of the chickie house, so I can then properly bury the anti-predator mesh.


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