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Updated: 1 hour 23 min ago

The Rabbit Hutch – Part 8

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 1:00am

The rabbit hutch project is just about complete, but before I wrap things up there is one last element that I want to add.  I decided as part of my design to include an insulated box that the rabbits could go into in the worst of the cold weather.  In the wild, they’d be able to go underground to escape the worst of winter’s bite and it doesn’t seem fair to stick them in a wire cage above ground without adding a little extra protection from the elements.  I wanted to make a small box that was somewhat insulated and that their body heat will keep the box warm.  Sort of a hutch within a hutch.

Before I get any further, if you are so inclined, you can see the earlier posts in this series here:

With the roof made, I started on the insulated box.  I’ll make a frame from 1-inch square Douglas fir and skin it inside and out with ¼-inch ply.

Starting to cut the pieces to make the insulated box.

Starting to cut the pieces to make the insulated box.

I milled up some stock, cut it to length, and then cut bridal joints to fit the frames together.

All the stock, ready to go.

All the stock, ready to go.

Bridal joints, cut at the table-saw.

Bridal joints, cut at the table-saw.

When assembled, the parts make three rectangles.

When assembled, the parts make three rectangles.

Each was glued and clamped.

Each was glued and clamped.

One end will be a solid wall, but the other needs to have an opening for the rabbits to get in and out.  Since the opening will always be open, I’m not sure quite how effective the insulation will be, but it can’t hurt.

I added some dividers to frame the will become the entrance.

I added some dividers to frame that will become the entrance.

Starting to cut the quarter-inch ply that will become the walls of the box.

Starting to cut the quarter-inch ply that will become the walls of the box.

The plywood gets glued and nailed on, and some spacers were installed with pocket hole screws.

The plywood gets glued and nailed on, and some spacers were installed with pocket hole screws.

I added some isolation from left over batting from my chicken coop project.  I realized that there wasn’t very many points to attach the floor, so I added some scrap blocks with glue.

Preparing to install the floor.

Preparing to install the floor.

 

After the floor, was the panel for the inside roof.

A piece of plywood added the inside roof.

A piece of plywood added to the inside roof.

Followed by the inside back wall.

More insulation into the back of the box.

More insulation into the back of the box.

Covering the inside end.

Covering the inside end.

Now it's starting to look like a box.

Now it’s starting to look like a box.

Installing some scrap pieces to support the inside end plywood.

Installing some scrap pieces to support the inside end plywood.

More insulation.

More insulation.

The end piece of plywood gets glued and nailed on.

The end piece of plywood gets glued and nailed on.

I’m not sure if the insulation will help, but it is easy to add.

Now for the other end.

Now for the other end.

I added the left end, which covers the door opening.

I added the left end, which covers the door opening.

You can see where the plywood covers the door.

You can see where the plywood covers the door.

I added the outside roof panel.

Things are progressing nicely.

Things are progressing nicely.

Cutting out the excess plywood from the door opening.

Cutting out the excess plywood from the door opening.

With everything assembled, I rounded over all the edges with a trim router then spackled and sanded the whole box.

I used a round over bit in the palm router to soften all the edges of the box.

I used a round over bit in the palm router to soften all the edges of the box.

After some spackle and sanding.

After some spackle and sanding.

I decided that since the end would be open all the time, I should add a small divider to the inside of the box.

I installed a removable divider.

I installed a removable divider.

The divider is held in place by some wooden strips that are glued to the inside of the box.

The divider is held in place by some wooden strips that are glued to the inside of the box.

I didn’t have enough 1″ Doug fir stock to make the doors, but I did have some appropriately sized Cedar in the lumber rack, and used that for some of the pieces.

Time to make some doors for the box. Bridal joints again.

Time to make some doors for the box. Bridal joints again.

Glued and clamped.

Glued and clamped.

These will get plywood door skins.

These will get plywood door skins.

Here's where they will fit.

Here’s where they will fit.

The inside plywood skin is installed flush with the frame.

The inside plywood skin is installed flush with the frame.

These doors are also skinned with plywood.  On the inside of the door, the plywood is flush with the frame.  However, on the outside, the skin overlaps the edge of the frame.  This meant of the outside skin had to be quite accurately positioned.

Glueing on the plywood skins.

Glueing on the plywood skins.

I’m really starting to like the technique of using your bench and holdfasts as a giant clamp.  It works great.

Holdfasts provide great even clamping pressure.

Holdfasts provide great even clamping pressure.

Laying out the hinges.

Laying out the hinges.

Since this is an outdoor project, I used galvanized hinges with brass pins.

Hinge mortises cut.

Hinge mortises cut.

First door installed.

First door installed.

Chopping more hinge mortises.

Chopping more hinge mortises.

Insulated doors installed.

Insulated doors installed.

They just need a bid of paint.

They just need a bid of paint.

A wooden spacer on which to mount the catch.

A wooden spacer on which to mount the catch.

Installing some door latches.

Installing some door latches.

That’s about it for the insulated box, but before I install it, I decided to make a barrier for the ramp opening on the upper level.  This was quick and simple from a couple of pieces of ply and Doug Fir.

A quick barrier to go around the ramp opening.

A quick barrier to go around the ramp opening.

A lick of paint.

A lick of paint.

Ready to install.

Ready to install.

Nailed in place.

Nailed in place.

With that done, I can install the insulated box that sits above it.  In the below image you might just make out my pencil marks.

Marking screw locations on the inside back wall of the hutch.

Marking screw locations on the inside back wall of the hutch.

Drilling a quick pilot hole from the inside.

Drilling a quick pilot hole from the inside.

And then a countersunk hole from the backside.

And then a countersunk hole from the backside.

Installed on the back wall. Now it just needs a ramp.

Installed on the back wall. Now it just needs a ramp.

All the screws installed. That box isn't going anywhere!

All the screws installed. That box isn’t going anywhere!

As the box sits up above the main floor, the rabbits will need another ramp to get into it.  I used the same method as on the earlier ramp.

Time to make another ramp.

Time to make another ramp.

Nothing fancy, just side rails and plywood.

Nothing fancy, just side rails and plywood.

And some glued on bits for traction.

And some glued on bits for traction.

The ramp was screwed to the side of the box.

The ramp was screwed to the side of the box.

Here's where it sits.

Here’s where it sits.

And some guide rails.

And some guide rails.

And that’s all folks!  The rabbit hutch is done.

In the next post, I’ll clear and level a spot of ground to install the hutch and show all the final reveal photos.

More soon.

 

– Jonathan White

The Rabbit Hutch – Part 7

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 1:00am

Sigh…. It seems that anytime I write a post this year, I have to start with the disclaimer of why I haven’t posted for X number of months.  Life gets busy.  I finished this rabbit hutch project in April, but still haven’t managed to put the final few posts together.  I think I need to just buckle down and write a couple of posts.

I spent the summer restoring an old fishing boat and an RV that I bought at the beginning of 2017.  It was a lot of work (cleaning, polishing, caulking), but nothing really woodworking related other than a RV dining table that had to be rebuilt.  Even if I had photographed the process, its clear from my inability to finish the rabbit hutch series, that I would now be sitting on a bunch of images that would also not be in blog post form.

My last post was in July, so I fully understand if you had completely forgotten that I ever started a rabbit hutch series.  In fact, It would be far more surprising if you actually remembered.  In any case, let’s get back to where I left off….

The rabbit hutch project is finally looking like a rabbit hutch.  I got a lot done in the last post, but the hutch still doesn’t have a roof.  Time to remedy that.

You can see the earlier posts in this series here:

In the last post, I made the pull out drawers that I hope will make cleaning out the hutch easier. Now the hutch needs a roof.  This thing is getting heavy, so the roof needs to be removable.  Lets get started:

I milled some Douglas fir and cut it into a trapezoidal shape.  I can’t remember the exact angle (it’s been nearly a year), but lets estimate 10-15°.  Either way, the angle here needs to match the pitch of the roof.  The front and back pieces are trapezoidal, the sides are square.

I milled some stock to make the roof.

I milled some stock to make the roof.

I figured that I would join the pieces with some chunky dovetails.  Overkill?  Sure, but what about this rabbit hutch hasn’t been?

All of the parts were beveled to match the slope of the roof.

All of the parts were beveled to match the slope of the roof.

I used some cardboard to design a template for the dovetails.

I used some cardboard to design a template for the dovetails.

I traced the template onto the workpiece and cut the dovetails.

I traced the template onto the workpiece and cut the dovetails.

Not perfect, but close enough for a rabbit hutch.

Not perfect, but close enough for a rabbit hutch.

I used my twin tail vises and bench dogs as clamps for the glue-up.

The assembly was glued up and left to dry.

The assembly was glued up and left to dry.

I then planed all of the surfaces flush.

I then planed all of the surfaces flush.

The main part of the roof is made of ⅝” plywood.  The Doug Fir frame that I just made is to stiffen the plywood and to serve as a fascia.  I suppose the plywood could have been attached directly to the top of the Doug Fir, but I thought it better if it were installed with screws and glue in a rabbet.  Nice and neat.

I used to my laminate router to cut a rabbet on the inside of the roof assembly.

I used to my laminate router to cut a rabbet on the inside of the roof assembly.

I had to make multiple passes with the trim router to remove such a large rabbet.

I cut a piece of ⅝-inch plywood to fit inside the rabbet.

I cut a piece of ⅝-inch plywood to fit inside the rabbet.

The plywood was attached to the frame with glue and screws.  After that, it was time for a quick test fit.

That should be big enough to keep the rain off most of the hutch.

That should be big enough to keep the rain off most of the hutch.

A quick test fit before proceeding any further.

A quick test fit before proceeding any further.

I gave the roof several coats of good exterior paint and then the next step was to install some 30 lb roofing felt (tar paper) and a meal drip edge.

I installed drip edge and roofing felt.

I installed drip edge and roofing felt.

I painted the roof assembly.

I painted the roof assembly.

Roofing indoors was a wholly new experience .  I never thought I’d be using my bench like this when I built it.

Installing the shingles.

Installing the shingles.

The last strip will be glued on to cover the nailheads.

The last strip will be glued on to cover the nailheads.

Wow… I found that this thing was really heavy when I went to remove it from the bench.  I had to get a neighbor to help me move it.  I set it outside where it can wait for final installation.

Time to turn my attention to building a ramp that the rabbits will be able to use to go from the lower to upper sections of the hutch.

Starting to layout the parts for the ramp.

Starting to layout the parts for the ramp.

Cutting into the line was quicker than setting up the miter saw.

Cutting into the line was quicker than setting up the miter saw.

The ramp was really simple.  Two rails made from Doug Fir and rabbeted to receive a ¼” plywood surface.  I added glue and brad nails, and then used my holdfasts and cauls to apply clamping pressure.

I'm glued up the ramp assembly and used my holdfasts as clamps.

I’m glued up the ramp assembly and used my holdfasts as clamps.

When I made the upper poop drawer, I mis-measured where the opening for the ramp sat.  This meant that I had to notch the edge of the ramp to allow the drawer to fully close.

I had to notch the side of the ramp to allow the drawer to fully close.

I had to notch the side of the ramp to allow the drawer to fully close.

I screwed up a little here we're making the drawer. It should not have extended past the edge of the frame.

As seen from above: I screwed up a little here we’re making the drawer. It should not have extended past the edge of the frame.

The critters will need something for their feet to grip when using the ramp so that I doesn’t become a slide.  I accomplished this by cutting a ton of little pieces and gluing them on.

Chamfering the small traction pieces.

Chamfering the small traction pieces.

Glueing on some traction.

Glueing on some traction.

Painted and installed.

Painted and installed.

I just hope they'll use it. It is a rather long climb.

I just hope they’ll use it. It is a rather long climb.

Fantastic, we’re nearly there.  The last part of my plan was to make a small insulated box that the critters can go inside of in the worst of the cold weather.  In the wild, they’d be able to burrow underground to escape the worst of the cold and wind, so it seems only fair that I give them something similar in this hutch.

In the next post, I’ll make the insulated box.

Stay tuned.

 

– Jonathan White