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Updated: 20 min 16 sec ago

The Rabbit Hutch – Part 6

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 1:00am

The rabbit hutch project is finally looking like a rabbit hutch.  I got a lot done in the last post, but now I need to make the two poop drawers that will sit beneath the wire mesh floors.

You can see the earlier posts in this series here:

In the last post, I painted the hutch, installed the floor frames, fitted and installed the back panels, installed the doors, and made a piece to fill the gap at the top of the front.  Wow, that’s a lot for one post.  Time to make the poop drawers.  Again, I’m skipping photos of me milling wood.

Oak, milled to make the bottom drawer.

Oak, milled to make the bottom drawer.

Laying out tails for the oak drawer.

Laying out tails for the oak drawer.

Cutting the tails.

Cutting the tails.

Chopping out the waste.

Chopping out the waste.

Time to cut the pins.

Time to cut the pins.

Glue up time.

Glue up time.

I found that there was a slight inward bow in the long sides of the draw frame.  I cut a piece of scrap to temporarily keep these pushed out straight while I nailed the bottom on.

The drawer frame ready for the bottom to be nailed on.

The drawer frame ready for the bottom to be nailed on.

For the bottom I decided to use a ¼ plywood that is faced one side with paper.  I think that it is designed to be used as an underlayment for tile.  To attach the bottom, I used Titebond III and nails.

Ring shank nails to attach the bottom.

Ring shank nails to attach the bottom.

Rounding over the edges.

Rounding over the edges.

Flush trimming the drawer bottom.

Flush trimming the drawer bottom.

Flush trimmed, rounded over, and sanded.

Flush trimmed, rounded over, and sanded.

With the bottom drawer made, I gave the outside a couple of coats of paint. Not the inside, that’s getting different treatment.

I applied a couple of coats of paint.

I applied a couple of coats of paint.

So that  the drawer doesn’t slide directly on its plywood bottom, I added an oak runner or wear strip to the bottom edges.

¼" Oak wear strips added to the bottom of the drawers.

¼” Oak wear strips added to the bottom of the drawers.

I applied a heavy coat of paraffin wax to the wear strip.

I applied a heavy coat of paraffin wax to the wear strip.

The bottom drawer was fairly simple.  The upper drawer is a little more complicated as it needs to have a notch cut out of the back to account for the ramp that links the upper and lower levels of the hutch.

I milled up a bunch of oak stock and cut all the pieces to length to make the drawers.

I milled up a bunch of oak stock and cut all the pieces to length to make the drawers.

I’ll skip all the photos of the dovetailing this time as it is exactly the same as the first drawer.  In the bellow (after) photo, you can see the joints all finished.  This one took a little longer because of the notch.  As you can see, it has eight dovetail joints instead of four.

After much sawing and chiseling, I had this frame assembled.

After much sawing and chiseling, I had this frame assembled.

I cut an appropriately sized piece of ¼-inch ply for the bottom of the drawer. This was glued and nailed in place.

I cut an appropriately sized piece of ¼-inch ply for the bottom of the drawer. This was glued and nailed in place.

I did the same flush-cut and round-over with the trim router before painting.

After softening all of the edges with a ⅛-inch round over bit, I painted the drawer.

After softening all of the edges with a ⅛-inch round over bit, I painted the drawer.

My next-door neighbor had some left over countertop laminate that he gave me.  This will make a great waterproof liner for the drawers.

Glueing laminate to the inside of the upper poop drawer.

Glueing laminate to the inside of the upper poop drawer.

I didn't get all of the parts to align perfectly, but a good application of silicone caulking will take care of that later.

I didn’t get all of the parts to align perfectly, but a good application of silicone caulking will take care of that later.

After the glue had cured, I trimmed the edges flush with the laminate trim router and a block plane.

I made a quick jig for installing drawer pulls.

I made a quick jig for installing drawer pulls.

This will ensure that the holes are drilled in the right place.

This will ensure that the holes are drilled in the right place.

I bought these drawer pulls at a clearance sale at the Lee Valley store when I took a trip to Kelowna, BC last year.   I knew they would come in handy at some point.

Not bad for a 12¢ drawer pull.

Not bad for a 12¢ drawer pull.

I caulked all the seams and painted the top edges of the oak.

I caulked all the seams and painted the top edges of the oak.

This should keep any liquid from getting at the wood.

This should keep any liquid from getting at the wood.

The top and bottom drawers were done the same.

The top and bottom drawers were done the same.

Here are the drawers installed in the hutch.

Here are the drawers installed in the hutch.

 

Well, that’s the drawers done.  Now this thing needs a roof.  More on that in the next post.

 

– Jonathan White

The Rabbit Hutch – Part 5

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 1:00am

The rabbit hutch project is finally taking shape.  I usually don’t paint or finish a project until the very end, but this one really calls for painting along the way.  Painting many of the inside parts would be difficult later, but easy if done now.

In the last post, I made the floor frames for both levels of the hutch.   I need to install these, but first I’m going to paint the inside of the hutch while I can still get in there.

Starting the painting process.

Starting the painting process.

I left the top of the drawer runners unpainted and gave them a heavy application of paraffin wax.

I left the top of the drawer runners unpainted and gave them a heavy application of paraffin wax.

I also applied some wax to the side of the hutch where the drawer makes contact.

I also applied some wax to the side of the hutch where the drawer makes contact.

The two floor frames were installed with screws.  I had drilled countersunk pilot holes in the last post, and they made installation must easier now.

I installed the two floor frames.

I installed the two floor frames.

You may remember way back to my first post in this series when I made the doors.  Now it is time to install and paint them.  I also installed galvanized latches.

Installing the doors.

Installing the doors.

I gave a little thought to the inside of the hutch and decided that it would be pretty dark in there once the back and the roof are on.  I decided that I could lighten it up a little, by painting the interior surfaces gloss white.  This will help to reflect what light does come in through the wire mesh doors.

Cutting the plywood for the back of the hutch.

Cutting the plywood for the back of the hutch.

Due to the dimensions, the back had to be made from two sheets of plywood.

Due to the dimensions, the back had to be made from two sheets of plywood.

Testing the fit before painting.

Testing the fit before painting.

I beveled the top edge of the plywood.

I beveled the top edge of the plywood.

After testing the fit off the back, I prepped it for painting.

Filling the worst of the defects on the plywood.

Filling the worst of the defects on the plywood.

White pain on the inside face.

White paint on the inside face.

With the back installed, I moved on to fixing an oversight in my design.  There is a large gap above the front face frame and below the roofline. I decided that I could fill this with a piece of plywood, but needed some backing support to attach it to.  I cut three pieces of douglas fir and beveled the tops to match the pitch of the roof.

I cut and fitted some backer blocks.

I cut and fitted some backer blocks.

These will allow me to attach a plywood piece to fill the gap.

These will allow me to attach a plywood piece to fill the gap.

I cut a plywood piece to fill the opening.

I cut a plywood piece to fill the opening.

I screwed the backer blocks to the hutch and painted them before installing the plywood board.

I painted the backer parts.

I painted the backer parts.

That will keep the wood protected.

That will keep the wood protected.

Painting the plywood.

Painting the plywood.

Installed with some screws.

Installed with some screws.

I countersunk the screws.

I countersunk the screws.

I filled the holes and calked the edges.

I filled the holes and caulked the edges.

After the caulk had cured, I painted.

After the caulk had cured, I painted.

Another part done.

Another part done.

With that, the main body of the hutch is done.  Now I need to build two poop drawers, a roof, a ramp, and a small insulated box that the rabbits can go into to avoid the worst of winter.

In the next post, I’ll tackle the drawers.

 

– Jonathan White

The Rabbit Hutch – Part 4

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 1:00am

It’s been months since I posted here, the longest gap since I started my blog.  I have continued working on the rabbit hutch as time allowed, but after looking back at some of my earlier posts, realized that I have been on this project for over six months now.  Yikes!  I have continued to photograph the build as I progressed, but I haven’t had time until recently to edit photos or try to put them into a blog post format.  I now have about five posts in the pipeline, so hopefully you should see more from me soon.

I doubt that any of you can remember what I had already done (I had to go look at my earlier posts myself), so I will add links for you to re-acquaint yourselves if you so wish.

The last post ended with the main carcase of the rabbit hutch glued up into a single unit.  It’s nice to see the plan coming together.  The hutch is divided into an upper and a  lower section.  Both of these sections will have a wire floor, and the wire will need to be supported by a wooden frame.  So, the two floor frames will be the next part of my build.

Generally, I’ve stop taking photographs of me milling stock.  It’s the same in every post so I’ll just skip to the end result.  I wanted frames that are both light and strong, and Douglas Fir will be just fine for that.

I milled some more pieces of Douglas Fir to make the bottom floor frame.

I milled some more pieces of Douglas Fir to make the bottom floor frame.

Two ends, two sides, and two cross rails.

Two ends, two sides, and two cross rails.

I could have just assembled these with pocket hole screws, but why not practice good furniture building skills while making this project?  Bring on the dovetails.

The top frame needs to have an open section for a ramp to connect the two levels of the hutch.  The bottom frame is a simpler design, so I’ll start with that one.

Laying out a single tail on the ends of the sides.

Laying out a single tail on the ends of the sides.

7 tail layout.

I used a 1:7 tail layout.

Once all four tails were cut, I had to transfer the marks for the corresponding pins.

Once all four tails were cut, I had to transfer the marks for the corresponding pins.

Good enough for a rabbit hutch.

Good enough for a rabbit hutch.

With all four corners fitted, I had to decide where to place the cross rails.

I experimented with the spacing of the cross rails.

I experimented with the spacing of the cross rails.

Wedged mortise and tenons will keep the cross rails in place.

Wedged mortise and tenons will keep the cross rails in place.

I chopped the mortises and kerfed the tenons.

I chopped the mortises and kerfed the tenons.

Time for a glue-up.

Time for a glue-up.

Checked for square and left to dry.

Checked for square and left to dry.

After being left for a day to dry, I flushed all the joints.

Trimmed and planed back flush.

Trimmed and planed back flush.

Quick round-over using the laminate trim router and a ⅛" round-over bit.

Quick round-over using the laminate trim router and a ⅛” round-over bit.

 

Now for that upper frame.  This one will be a little bit trickier.

I milled some more stock to make the upper frame.

I milled some more stock to make the upper frame.

A slightly wider tail this time.

A slightly wider tail this time.

Cut to the base line.

Cut to the base line.

I trimmed off the sides with a small crosscut saw.

I trimmed off the sides with a small crosscut saw.

Cutting the pins proved to be a bit of a challenge. They are on the end of pieces that are five feet long.  There’s no easy way to do this without having a 60″ hight on the workbench top.

Cutting pins on the end of pieces over 5 feet long is a pain.

Cutting pins on the end of pieces over 5 feet long is a pain.

The layout of the upper frame was different and I ended up needing three cross rails instead of two.  I chose my design and then cut all the mortise and tenons.

A much different cross rail design was called for on the upper frame.

A much different cross rail design was called for on the upper frame.

I used the same wedged mortise and tenon joinery for the cross rails.

I used the same wedged mortise and tenon joinery for the cross rails.

A quick dry fit to make sure that it will all go together.

A quick dry fit to make sure that it will all go together.

Glue-up time once more.

Glue-up time once more.

Oak wedges secure the joinery.

Oak wedges secure the joinery.

Flush trimming the wedges.

Flush trimming the wedges.

A final cleanup with a block plane.

A final cleanup with a block plane.

That should stay nice and tight for a long time to come.

That should stay nice and tight for a long time to come.

Once more, I used the round-over bit to soften all the edges.

Once more, I used the round-over bit to soften all the edges.

It is much easier to paint all of these sub-assemblies now rather than at the end.  Also, this allows me to paint surfaces that will be covered or inaccessible later.  I want all wooden surfaces of this project to be painted, with no bare wood exposed anywhere.  I did not use a timber known for rot resistance as it was really expensive.  Several coats of good paint should add some rot resistance and longevity to the project.

The frames will screw into the main carcase of the hutch from inside.  I added some countersunk pilot holes before adding the wire to make the job a little easier later.

The frames needed paint and some pilot holes for later installation.

The frames needed paint and some pilot holes for later installation.

I used a special rubber/vinyl coated hardware cloth for the floor. This is supposed to be gentler on the feet of the rabbits than regular hardware cloth.

I used a special rubber/vinyl coated hardware cloth for the floor. This is supposed to be gentler on the feet of the rabbits than regular hardware cloth.

 

In the next post, I’ll install the two floor frames and do some more work on the hutch carcase.

 

– Jonathan White