Making Scrap Wood Projects from Pallets, Reclaimed Wood and Salvaged Lumber


Building this hanging wooden birdhouse requires only basic woodworking skills and hand tools, and re-using old wood helps to reduce the expense and keeps useable lumber out of the landfill.

An exterior cedar trim board rescued from a remodeling job provided enough material to make several small birdhouses.

The roofing and entrance hole guard was cut from the hardwood slats of a discarded shipping pallet.

To build this little birdhouse, start by cleaning off the old wood with a stiff bristle brush to remove any dirt or loose paint, and let it dry indoors for several days before beginning the wooden birdhouse project. Most re-used wood has already lost its original moisture, but may be damp from exposure to rain or snow.

Inspect the wood for nails, screws or any other foreign objects which can damage cutting edges and cause injuries. A metal detector is very useful for finding and removing bits of steel and iron. Mark the useable sections of lumber, and cut away split or damaged sections.

Cut the wood stock into the following dimensions. The cedar board used to build this birdhouse was 1″ thick (known as a 5/4 thickness). If using ¾” thick stock, increase the width of the side pieces to 4-¾” wide.

Birdhouse Dimensions:

Front: 5-½” L x 5-½” W

Back: 5-½” L x 5-½” W

Sides: 4-½” W x 5-½” L (Qty of 4 needed)

Roof Sections: 8-½” L x 3/8″ Thick (widths vary from 1-½” to 4″ W and cut to fit)

Entrance guard: 3″ L x 3″ W (1-½” diameter entrance hole)

Position the sides together to form a square as shown in the diagram. Nail or screws the side pieces together.

Center and drill a 1-½” hole through the front section and the entrance guard. Position the front section in place, and attach to the sides with nails or screws. Attach the entrance guard on a bias to form a diamond shape. Then attach the back section of the wooden birdhouse.

Lay out the first layer of roof slats, starting at the peak of the birdhouse roof and then working down towards the side. The roof slats should overhang the side by about ½”. Depending on the width of the slats, it may be necessary to cut the width of a slat to fit properly. Nail the slats into place.

Repeat the lay out of the slats on the second side, overlapping the edge of the top slat on the first side as shown in the birdhouse diagram.

Lay out the second layer of roofing slats, using care to overlap any joints on the lower level. Repeat with the third layer, again using care to overlap and joints in the layer below.

Hang the finished wooden birdhouse using two galvanized eye bolts, screwed into the roof peak approximately 1-¾” from each end. Use a short section of reclaimed and stripped copper electrical wire to hang the birdhouse from a tree or pole.

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