I took a 1x6 pine board and cut it into several equal lengths. Then I glued those pieces together. Which is easier said than it was done. Since the boards slide on the glue so easy when the clamps are applied, I had to glue it in stages. Gluing them two at a time and letting them dry, then gluing those stacks together two at a time and letting them dry. Then gluing the final two together to form one block. I needed two blocks, one larger for the bottom, and one a little wider but not as tall for the top. It took some time. Then I found the center and drilled a hole to accept my chucks worm screw in both blocks. Next I knocked off the corners as best I could with the saw. This makes life a bit safer and easier when turning larger pieces because I don’t have the hard corners to knock down. Plus it keeps the vibration from the spinning wood down.
And then it was time to begin turning the bottom part of the birdhouse. I got it rounded and cut the mortise which the jaws of the Nova chuck would expand into to hold the piece as I hollowed out the inside of the birdhouse out. I must admit, hollowing larger pieces can be a challenge on the Shopsmith lathe because you have to have the support of the live center and tailstock to keep the piece from flying across the room. And that leaves very little room to work with your hollowing tools. I got it done though. At this point I only hollowed part way down.
Next I shaped the outside of the acorn bottom. This was far easier than hollowing it out I promise you. I used the parting tool to get started and cut a gap near the bottom. This way I could use my gouges to shape the bottom easier and not risk catching a gouge. on the wood left on the chuck. Once that was shaped I was able to finish hollowing and I’d know when to stop without going all the way through. Next I used the drill and a paddle bit to make the entry hole for the birdhouse, finished shaping the acorn bottom. Working up as close to a point as I could, and then I separated the birdhouse from the block that remained in the chuck.
I mounted the top of the birdhouse on the Shopsmith lathe and began to rough it down to round and began to shape it to look like the top of an acorn. Once I got a tenon cut on the top side, I flipped the acorn top and mounted the tenon into the chuck. On the opposite end I turned a tenon that would fit into the bottom of the acorn then began to hollow the top out. I didn’t need to hollow it as deep as the bottom so this was a little easier. I cut a stem on the side that was held by the Nova chuck, and drilled some holes in the stem with the intention of running a chain through to hang the birdhouse with. That plan changed later on though.
While my housemate painted the bottom, I used the Dremel rotary tool to stipple the top and make it look rough like the top of an acorn. Then I stained it brown. Once both the paint and stain were dry, I sprayed the birdhouse bottom and top with a couple coats of Polyurethane. Next I drilled a hole through the center of the stem and added an eye bolt with washers and a nut. This allowed me to either hang the birdhouse from a hook or use a chain to hang it from a branch. I drilled pilot hole through the top of the bottom and the tenon on the lid that fit down into the birdhouse and attached the acorn top to the bottom with screws. This way the screws can be removed and the top of the acorn lifted off to allow for cleaning between seasons. The video below is the video I submitted as the entry into the Summers Woodworking Birdhouse Challenge 2018. Please watch and enjoy.