Martins are very sociable birds, and prefer to nest in colonies. They are not content with one or two compartment houses if larger houses are obtainable. A thirty-room house like that shown in Fig. 702 is none too large. This house has been designed so as to be of the simplest possible construction. The floors and roof are built in sections (Fig. 703), so the house can be erected easily, and so it may be taken apart for cleaning.
In building a house of the proportions of the martin house, where there are so many small parts exposed to the weather, it is worth while to buy good lumber. The best wood for the work is cypress, and the best thickness to use is 5/8-inch stuff. Thicker stock will do, but it will make a heavier house, and that means more to lift when erecting it.
The author’s martin house, from which the drawings have been made, measures 24 inches wide, 30 inches long, and 35 inches high.
First, build The First Story Frame out of boards 4 inches wide (A and B, Fig. 703), then the second story frame out of 8-inch boards (C and D, Fig. 703), and then the third story frame out of 8-inch boards (E and F, Fig. 703). Cut boards A, C, and E 29 inches long, and boards B, D, and F 24 inches long.
Cut the Doorways before nailing the frames together.
Mark off the positions for the partitions, which must divide the frame into nine compartments of equal size (Fig. 703),and then locate the doorways opposite the centers of the compartments. There will be one round doorway in boards A, and three in boards B, 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Unless you own an expansive-bit which can be set to bore holes 2Ó2 inches in diameter, describe the circles with a pencil-compass, bore several holes inside of each circle, and cut out the wood between the circles, and trim up the edges, with a chisel.
There is one square doorway in boards C and E, and three in boards D and F, of the second and third story frames, each 2 inches wide and 3 inches high. After marking them out with a pencil, bore a hole at each corner, and cut from one hole to another with a small saw. Trim up the edges of the openings with a chisel.
After cutting the doorways, Nail Together the Frame Boards, then cut and fasten the partitions in place in the positions shown in Fig. 703. You can cut two partitions of a length equal to the inside length of the frame (G), and six shorter partitions to fit between them (H); or you can cut two partitions of a length equal to the inside length of the frames, and two of a length equal to the inside width of the frames, and halve them together. They will be halved in the same way that the pigeon-holes of the writing-desk shown in Chapter 8 are put together (Figs. 187 and 188).
Prepare Floor Boards I to fit the first-story frame (Fig. 703), floor boards J to form a 3-inch projection upon all sides of the second-story frame, floor boards K to form a 2-inch projection upon all sides of the third-story frame, and floor boards L to fit the third-story frame.
A hole must be sawed through the exact center of floors I, J, and K to admit the post support V (Fig. 708), which extends through the first, second and third stories. Nail floor boards I,J, and K to the under side of the first, second, and third-story frames. These sections need not be fastened to one another, because the center post support will tie them together when they are slipped over it.
Cut the Gable-Ends M and partition N (Figs. 703 and 704) out of 12-inch boards, making the angle at the peak 90 degrees. Bore three 2 1/2-inch doorways through ends M, in the positions shown. Nail floor boards L to the bottoms of gable-ends M and partition N, then cut partitions 0 (Fig. 704) 4 inches wide, to fit between ends M and partition N, and fasten floor P on top.
Cut the Roof Boards long enough to project 6 inches over the gable-ends and side walls, fasten them together in two sections with battens, and fasten them to the tops of the gable-ends.
Cut two triangular pieces like 5 (Fig. 705), and nail one to the center of each end of floor L. Prepare a pair of Brackets of the shape of U (Fig. 706) to fit under each of the pieces 5, and sixteen of the same size to fit under the third-story ledge, four on each side of the house. Cut sixteen brackets of the shape of bracket T (Fig. 705), and fasten these below the second-story ledge, four on each side of the house.
Cut The Chimney blocks Q and R of the shape shown in Fig. 707, nail them together, and fasten to the center of the peak of the roof.
The Bird-House Support is built up as shown in Figs. 708 to 710. Center post V is a 2-by-6, pieces W are 2-by-2s (Fig. 709), brackets X are cut out of a 2-by-6 (Fig. 710), and the shoulder blocks Y and Z are cut out of a piece of 2-by-4. You will see by Fig. 709 that one of the triangular brackets X is spiked to each of the edges of the 2-by-6 V, so the tops are on the same level. Shoulder cross-pieces Y are then spiked to upright V and to brackets X, even with the tops of brackets X. Two-by-two W- is spiked to each side of 2-by-6 V, with the top butting against the under side of shoulder crosspiece Y.
Another bracket X is then spiked to each of the pieces Wy with its top even with the tops of the other brackets. Shoulder blocks Z are cut to fit against brackets X and crosspieces Y. Center member V of the support should project far enough above the bracket, so the first-, second-, and third-story frames will slip over it, and the top floor will rest upon it.
A Concrete Base.
Because a martin house must have a height of from 15 to 20 feet above the ground, the base of the support must be made very solid to prevent its blowing over in a heavy wind-storm. The best method is to dig a hole about 30 inches deep, 20 inches wide, and 20 inches long, stand the support in the center and fill in around it with concrete.
Mix up the concrete in the way described for making the mixture for the concrete lawn-roller (Chapter 34).
To Set Up the Martin House, after the support has been erected, wall require two persons. Build a temporary scaffolding around the support, to stand upon, and raise
and set in place one section of the house at a time. Figures 711 to 714 in the Frontispiece to Part 4, opposite page 293, show how the author rigged up a ladder scaffolding for setting up his martin house; also how the sections were assembled.