What you see here is a custom-made birdhouse. This was actually made out of one of the various carrying crates I’ve acquired recently.
I wasn’t originally planning on building a birdhouse. In fact, I’m not really sure what my plans were when I acquired this Canadian Coca-Cola crate.
All I know is that when I tried to initially take the boards apart… I screwed up.
And no, I don’t mean I used a screwdriver in the up position.
Unlike most of the crates I’ve recently acquired, this Coca-Cola crate – a neat one that was manufactured in Sherbrooke, Que. – was difficult to tear apart. The boards were not only nailed together, the nails were intertwined with wires and metal cords. And they weren’t coming apart any time soon.
In fact, as I tried to tear the crate apart, some of the wood started to split. Ugh.
If I was going to salvage this crate into something tangible … I needed some power tools. Saws, in particular.
Thankfully, I have a nice working relationship with Sliver Fox Salvage in Albany’s warehouse district. I’ve purchased several window frames from them, frames that I’ve converted into Dream Windows. And they were also the store where I purchased the frame that eventually became the K-Chuck Cabinet.
I spoke with Camille, the proprietor of Silver Fox Salvage, about whether I could make an appointment to use their power tools in their workshop. This isn’t normal practice – you can’t just walk into a salvage yard and grab a Sawz-all. However, Camille and I reached an agreement. I would be responsible for any work that I do, and I would be trained on the use of every tool that I needed. I also provided Silver Fox with some items they could use for their sales floor. So it was a win-win for all concerned.
Yesterday, I brought over the Coca-Cola French Canadian crate. Originally the plan was for Camille to have her son – who also works at Silver Fox – to train me. But her son hadn’t started his shift yet, so Camille instead offered to show me the workshop herself. “I’ve had my own power tools ever since I was a kid,” she smiled.
Works for me.
First she showed me the proper and safe use of a jigsaw. “This will be the fastest way to separate the boards without tearing through the corner nails,” she said.
After a couple of initial tries, I sawed through those boards with precision. And yes, I still have all ten of my fingers. And yes, they’re still attached to my hands.
After I measured the pieces, Camille took them over to the miter saw and trimmed them to length. She then helped me drill a hole in one of the boards so that the birds would have ingress and egress.
I thanked Camille for all her help, and then took the boards and fragments home. Now it’s time for me to use my tools and build this birdhouse.
First off – some Titebond wood glue to tighten up some of the cracks and splits. I then drilled some pilot holes in the wood, and inserted some screws. At some point in time, I’ll graduate to using vintage wood screws rather than the distinctive store-purchased screws, but this piece is going on a tree rather than for a display.
And once I finished the birdhouse – which looks like it’s very inviting for Canadian birds flying south for the winter … so long as those birds don’t partake of Pepsi … I took it over to Silver Fox to show off the completed project.
Am I planning on building more birdhouses? I don’t know. This was just a fun project to turn a wrecked crate into something artistic and functional.
Thanks much to Camille and the people at Silver Fox Salvage for helping me with this project. And who knows? The more comfortable I get with power tools … maybe the more creative I can become.
And there’s always the possibility of learning a new trade, just in case this writing / photography / trivia career doesn’t pan out. 😀