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It’s been months since I posted here, the longest gap since I started my blog. I have continued working on the rabbit hutch as time allowed, but after looking back at some of my earlier posts, realized that I have been on this project for over six months now. Yikes! I have continued to photograph the build as I progressed, but I haven’t had time until recently to edit photos or try to put them into a blog post format. I now have about five posts in the pipeline, so hopefully you should see more from me soon.
I doubt that any of you can remember what I had already done (I had to go look at my earlier posts myself), so I will add links for you to re-acquaint yourselves if you so wish.
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 1 (Front frames and doors)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 2 (Sidewalls)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 3 (Carcase assembly)
The last post ended with the main carcase of the rabbit hutch glued up into a single unit. It’s nice to see the plan coming together. The hutch is divided into an upper and a lower section. Both of these sections will have a wire floor, and the wire will need to be supported by a wooden frame. So, the two floor frames will be the next part of my build.
Generally, I’ve stop taking photographs of me milling stock. It’s the same in every post so I’ll just skip to the end result. I wanted frames that are both light and strong, and Douglas Fir will be just fine for that.
I could have just assembled these with pocket hole screws, but why not practice good furniture building skills while making this project? Bring on the dovetails.
The top frame needs to have an open section for a ramp to connect the two levels of the hutch. The bottom frame is a simpler design, so I’ll start with that one.
With all four corners fitted, I had to decide where to place the cross rails.
After being left for a day to dry, I flushed all the joints.
Now for that upper frame. This one will be a little bit trickier.
Cutting the pins proved to be a bit of a challenge. They are on the end of pieces that are five feet long. There’s no easy way to do this without having a 60″ hight on the workbench top.
The layout of the upper frame was different and I ended up needing three cross rails instead of two. I chose my design and then cut all the mortise and tenons.
It is much easier to paint all of these sub-assemblies now rather than at the end. Also, this allows me to paint surfaces that will be covered or inaccessible later. I want all wooden surfaces of this project to be painted, with no bare wood exposed anywhere. I did not use a timber known for rot resistance as it was really expensive. Several coats of good paint should add some rot resistance and longevity to the project.
The frames will screw into the main carcase of the hutch from inside. I added some countersunk pilot holes before adding the wire to make the job a little easier later.
In the next post, I’ll install the two floor frames and do some more work on the hutch carcase.
– Jonathan White
It’s been a long time since I posted here. Work, family, and other things have been taking up all my time and I just haven’t had time to write. I have been plodding along with the rabbit hutch build and I’m progressing well, but the blog has fallen way behind my actual progress in the project.
If you need a refresher of where I’m up to, here are the earlier posts:
I ended the last post with the hutch assembly in dry-fit to see that It would all go together as planned. I could have proceeded to glue-up at this point, but there is still a lot of work to be done on the inside of the side pieces. It is far easier to do this work with the hutch sides flat on the workbench than after assembly.
I disassembled the test fit and trimmed the bottom of the legs to their final length. I had laid out these knife-lines in the beginning stages of the build when all four legs were clamped together.
I decided to use a galvanized lag bolt as the foot of each leg. The bolt heads can be positioned on a brick or paver when I move the hutch outside. This will keep the wooden legs away from the ground and (hopefully) prolong the life of the wood and stop them rotting. I can also turn the lag bolts to independently adjust the height of each leg and make sure the hutch doesn’t rock. Screwing a big lag bolt into the end grain of the legs would split the legs for sure. To prevent this, I predrilled holes for the lag bolts using a doweling jig.
Next, I needed to install some hardware cloth to the inside of the hutch sides.
I squared up the corners with a chisel before installing the hardware cloth.
As the hutch is a split level unit, it will feature two drawers for capturing rabbit poop. Since it is outdoors, I decided against using any metal drawer slides. Instead, I will use wooden strips of oak that will act as drawer runners.
I then realized that the gap just above the drawer slide would allow the drawer to wrack in its opening and bind. I milled a small piece of Douglas fir to fill this gap.
Next, it was time to cover up the edges of the hardware cloth.
To seal the wood and help protect it, I painted the backside of the strips and the frame underneath before installing the strips with a brad nail gun.
I then turned my attention to the oak drawer runners for the bottom drawer. These would also need something to prevent the drawer from wracking so I cut, glued, and clamped a piece of Douglas fir to the back of the oak runner.
Once the glue was dry and all the clamps removed, I painted all of the parts that would be inaccessible after assembly.
I repeated this whole process for the other side of the rabbit hutch. Once both sides were finished, it was finally time for a big glue-up.
I started the glue up process using Titebond III. As this is an outdoor project, a waterproof glue is important.
The only real tricky part of the glue-up was the back stretchers. I had to use two clamps hooked to each other to pull the joint closed tight up against the shoulder. Once the joint was closed, I hammered in some oak wedges to keep everything locked in place.
In the next post, I’ll make the frames that will support the two floors of the hutch.
– Jonathan White