Not everyone likes pigeons around, but if you do, build them a house!

A Pigeon House

By Robert Baker

Pigeon houses need not be eyesores, as is often the case, but may be made to harmonize with the surroundings, adding beauty to a dull spot, and even making the grounds of a home more attractive. The house described will accommodate 20 pigeons, and additional stories of the same type may be added to provide for more. Nearly all of the wood necessary may be obtained from boxes, and the other materials are readily available at small cost. The construction is such that a boy handy with ordinary carpentry tools may undertake it successfully.

The house is constructed in general on principles used in buildings, having a framed gable roof, rough-boarded and shingled. The interior arrangement is original, being based on the Indian swastika or good-luck sign. While the construction is simple, it must be carried out systematically. The process outlined also follows in general the typical methods in building construction.

The foundation need not be considered, since the house rests upon a post, and the construction thus begins with the lower story. The floor and the ceiling are similar in construction, as shown in Fig. 1. In framing them into the lower story, as may be observed in Fig. 8, the cleats are placed below on the floor and above in the ceiling. The construction is identical, however. The cleats are fastened to the boards with screws, although nails, clinched carefully, may be used. the 4-in. hole at the center should be made accurately, so as to fit the shoulder portion at the top of the post, shown in Fig. 2. The latter may be cut of a length to suit; about 9 ft. will be found convenient. The notches in the top of the post are to fit the ridge pole and center rafters of the roof frame, as shown in Fig. 10. They should not be made until the house is ready for the roof boards.

The pieces for the compartments, as arranged on the floor in Fig. 3, are made next. Figs. 4 and 5 show the detailed sizes of these pieces, of which four each must be made. The sizes shown must be followed exactly, as they are designed to give the proper space for entrances and to fit around the 4-in. square hole, through which the post is to fit. The pieces marked A, B, and C, in Figs. 4 and 5, correspond to those similarly marked in Fig. 3.

The pieces are nailed together to form the swastika in the following manner:

Mark the pieces A, B, and C, as shown. Measure 4 in. from one end of each piece marked A, and square a pencil line across, 4 in. from the end. Arrange the pieces in pairs. Place one end of one piece against the side of the other piece in the pair, so that the pencil line is even with the end, permitting the 4-in. portion to project. Nail both pairs in this position. Then fit the two parts together to form a 4-in. square in the center, as shown in Fig. 3.

Fit the pieces C to the pieces B at an angle, as shown in Fig. 3, trimming off the projecting corners where the pieces are joined. Nail them together, and they are ready to be fixed to the end of the pieces A, already nailed. By nailing the joined pieces B and C to the end of the pieces A, as shown in Fig. 3, the swastika is completed. Fix it into place, with the center hole exactly over the square hole in the floor, by means of nails or screws driven through the floor.

Two small strips must now be nailed to the floor at each side of the swastika. They should be exactly 4 1/2 in. long, and are to hold the slides, Fig. 9, which shut off the various compartments. The slides are shown hanging by chains in the headpiece of this article, and are shown in place in Fig. 8.

Fix the ceiling into place in the same manner, being careful that the square holes fit together, and that the cleats are on the upper side. Turn the construction over and fix into place the small strips for the slides, as was done on the floor.

The fixed screens, Fig. 6, and the doors, Fig. 7, are constructed similarly. They are built up of 1/2-in. wood, and vary in size to fit their respective places in the framework. Observe that the fixed screens are 1/4 in. higher than the doors, and that they are fastened between the ceiling and the floor, bracing them. The wire grating is 1/2-in. square mesh, and is fixed between the pieces of the doors and the screens when they are built up.

The doors are shown secured by combination strap hinges, bent over the baseboard. Plain butts may be used and the lower portion of the hinge covered by the baseboard, a recess being cut to receive the part covered. In the latter instance the doors should be fixed into place immediately after the screens are set. Catches and chains may then be placed on the doors. Next nail the baseboards into place. They are 2 1/2 in. wide and may be mitered at the corners, or fitted together in a square, or butt, joint. The latter joint may be nailed more readily.

The slides, shown in Fig. 9, may now be made and fitted into their grooves. The handles are made of strips of band iron, drilled for screws and bent into the proper shape. It is important that the slides be constructed of three pieces, as shown, so that they will not warp or curve from exposure. The main piece is cut 7 3/4 in. long, and the strips, 1/2 in. square, are nailed on the ends.

The construction of the framing for the roof should next be taken up. This probably requires more careful work than any other part of the pigeon house, yet it is simple, as shown in Fig. 10. Note that the rafters are set upon a frame, or plate as it is called, built up of pieces 3 in. wide. It should be made 1/4 in. wider and longer on the inside than the ceiling board, so as to fit snugly over it. The joints at the corners are "halved" and nailed both ways. This gives a stronger structure than butting them squarely and nailing them. The end rafters should be fitted in before fixing the others. It is best to make a diagram of the end of the roof framing on a sheet of paper, or a board, and to fit the rafter joints in this way before cutting them. The rafters are then nailed into place.

The "rough boards" to cover the rafters may now be nailed down. They are spaced 1/2 in. apart so as to permit thorough drying, as is done in larger buildings. They project 2 in. beyond the ends of the plate frame, supporting the rafters. A 1/2-in. strip is nailed over the ends to give a neat finish. The roof may be shingled, or covered with tar paper, or any roofing material.

Nail a 1-in. strip under each end of the roof and nail the gable ends into place. One gable end is provided with a door, as shown, and the other has an opening fitted with a wire screen of the same size as the door.

The gable story rests on the lower story, and the notches in the top of the post should fit snugly to the ridge and center rafters, as shown in Fig. 10. This will aid in supporting the house firmly. If additional stories are added it would be well to place a post at each corner of the house. the upper story may be removed for cleaning, or for transporting the house.

The post should be sunk into the ground about 2 1/2 ft. and set into a concrete foundation, if convenient. This will ensure a more nearly permanent as well as a more rigid support. Care should be taken that the post is set plumb and this can be accomplished if a plumb bob is used. The post should be braced to keep it vertical, particularly if a concrete foundation is poured and tamped around it.

The construction should be painted two coats, inside and out, of a color to harmonize with buildings or other surroundings.