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Do-it-yourself nesting box: Upcycling from a wooden clock

A green nesting box is hanging in a tree.
Once a clock, now a nesting box: Upcycling can be a real blast, and it’s easy to boot.
  • Difficulty
    easy
  • Cost
    20-30 €
  • Duration
    4-5 h

Introduction

A small nesting box for various species of birds will make a great addition to your garden. And building it on your own is a simple task. It gets even easier if you reuse an old wooden mantel clock – that’s sustainable living in practice. Our guide will show you all the necessary steps. 

Have you heard about our 18V system yet? It offers a huge variety of devices for many different applications. The thing that makes the project below so special is that you can use the same rechargeable battery for every part of this project. Simply swap out the battery pack, insert it into a different device that’s part of the 18V system and move on to the next step.

 

It should go without saying that your safety is paramount at every stage of the project. Make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. You can find everything you need to know about the protective clothing required for each type of task in our overview.

You need

Let's go - step by step

Step15

Removing the clockwork and sawing a ‘door’

A hole saw drill bit is being used to drill a hole in the front face of the clock.

First drill a hole in the front face of the clock using a hole saw drill bit.

You need:
Cordless combi drill
,
Holesaw Sets
,
Sandpaper and sanding block
,
hammer, small pliers, screwdriver, g-clamps, Old mantel clock

Before you get started with the project, you must naturally first remove the clockwork. This will differ depending on the model. However, armed with a screwdriver, pliers and a small hammer, you should be able to remove it.
Once completed, your clock should be without the clockwork and hands, so that three small holes should be visible on the front near the dial.

Now use a drill with a 30-mm hole saw frill bit and drill an access hole in the upper area of the dial. Consider the type of bird you want to live in your box later on when you decide on the size of the hole. So inform yourself about the size of the future winged tenants you want to attract to the nesting box.

After drilling, you should use sandpaper to sufficiently chamfer and smooth the inside of the hole.

Step25

Closing the openings for the clockwork

Small pieces of round wood are used to seal the holes in the wooden clock.

Make sure that the inserted round rods are flush with the clock’s surface.

You need:
Jigsaws
,
Jigsaw blade, bi-metal, T 101 BF
,
Sandpaper and sanding block
,
g-clamps, wood glue, hammer, Round wooden rods (with a diameter that matches the holes for the clock’s hands)

The small holes of the removed hands are now sealed. Small pieces of round wooden rods are ideal for the job. Make sure that the thickness of the rods matches the diameter of the holes. In our example, we used 10-mm rods.

Cut several small pieces to length and briefly sand the cutting edges.
Then use a little wood glue (sparingly) and a hammer to seal off the holes with the wood pieces.

Step35

Drilling ventilation and weep holes

Small holes are being drilled into the bottom face of a wooden clock.

The holes should be spread across the entire bottom of the clock.

You need:
Cordless combi drill
,
Mini-X-Line Mixed Set 15 Pieces
,
g-clamps, Wooden clock

In the next step, drill a total of ten small holes on the bottom of the clock. These will serve as ventilation and weep holes for the nesting box.

Use a 5-mm wood drill bit for this and distribute the holes evenly, including on all four corners.

Step45

Sawing out the dome

A plywood board is being sawn into a specific shape.
A wavelike shape is drawn on a plywood board.
A plywood board is being sawn into a specific shape.
A wavelike shape is drawn on a plywood board.

You need:
Jigsaws
,
Jigsaw blade, bi-metal, T 101 BF
,
Multi-sander
,
80 to 120-grain sanding sheet
,
g-clamps, pencil, Plywood board (larger than the clock housing)

A proper nesting box also needs to be protected from rain and predators. You can do so by taking a plywood board and cutting it into a small roof. Use a board for this that is quite a bit larger than your clock.

To get the shape of the roof right, place the clock face up on the board and trace the shape of the clock on the plywood board with a pencil (image 1).

Then clamp the plywood board to the workbench and use a jigsaw to cut out the silhouette of the clock (image 2).

After cutting, carefully sand down the edges.

Step55

Mounting the roof to the housing

A shape cut out of a plywood board is being screwed to the housing of a wooden clock.
A plywood board is being pre-drilled.
A shape cut out of a plywood board is being screwed to the housing of a wooden clock.
A plywood board is being pre-drilled.

You need:
Cordless combi drill
,
Brad Point Drill Bit Set 8 Pieces
,
Suitable bit set
,
g-clamps, pencil, pocket rule, paint brush, Wooden clock housing, Sawn plywood board from step 4, M6 screws with nuts, Wood paint

The thin plywood board is flexible, which allows you to adjust it to the wavy shape of the clock. Using screw clamps, first fix the roof in place so that it rests across the entire upper part of the clock.

Then mark a drill hole on the right and left side – symmetrically and centred.

Use a 6-mm wood drill bit to pre-drill the holes for the screws.

Complete the step by firmly attaching the roof with two flat M6 screws and nuts. A word of caution: Do not use sharp wood screws as this type of screw may injure the birds.

If you wish, you can now paint your nesting box with wood paint.

To attach the box to a tree, you may need to screw two square timbers to the back. This largely depends on the shape of your clock and the tree, however.