This hydrant is strictly for the birds.
SHOP OWNER: Aurèle Delaurier
LOCATION: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I actually tag-teamed this project with my brother, Armand. Each year one of our city’s health care facilities has its annual fundraiser. Individuals or organizations are invited to build birdhouses, which in turn are auctioned off to the general public. Birdhouse submissions are in one of several categories - contemporary, rustic, open, or student. For the open category, the birdhouse’s design can be wild and wacky. Since my brother and I have been in the field of municipal engineering for nearly 20 years, we decided to build a fire hydrant birdhouse. We called it “flyer hydrant” for our flying feathered friends.
This picture shows the upper part of the hydrant, which will ultimately become the bird’s home quarters. We modeled our birdhouse after an actual hydrant that is octagonal in shape. We used red oak for the various parts.
We felt that cutting the three nozzle holes into the upper body of the hydrant would be the most challenging part of construction. This was especially true of the front nozzle since the nozzle’s diameter is considerably larger than the front face of the hydrant. We weren’t convinced that making a circle template for the router would effectively work and thought a simpler approach might work better. Sure enough, our cheap wheel cutter performed magnificently. Here we are finishing the large hole.
Like the main hydrant body, we assembled the three nozzles using eight pieces. They were turned round on the lathe until the diameter matched the drilled holes. Here’s the front nozzle without the cap.
In addition to the glue, we installed dowel pins within the hydrant’s wall to secure the three nozzles.
We used a piece of plywood to join the upper and lower hydrant parts together. Here, the plywood is being fastened to the lower part.
We then installed moldings around the middle of the hydrant. We also installed moldings at the base of the hydrant, as shown in the first picture.
After all assembly, the hydrant was finished with a golden oak stain and polyurethane. We stained the three nozzles and hydrant top with an ebony stain. Like an actual hydrant, the top cap is secured to the upper flange with nuts and bolts and can be removed. This will allow for inspection and cleaning of the birdhouse.
Here’s a close-up of the top of the hydrant.
This little yellow finch is about to inspect its new home.
. . . Armand Delaurier & Aurèle Delaurier
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