Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cooped Up on a Rainy Day

Today was a rain-filled day, so instead of going back out to the gardens, I got to help the design/build interns with one of their projects: the chicken coop. Someone is going to donate 10 chickens to the school, so the interns are building a coop to accommodate them. Tim 1 was leading this project. (I think I will call him Tim 1 and the other Tim 2. This is the order that I met them. Tim 1 is married to Stephanie.)

An old version of the plan, but gives the complete picture. The butt of the chicken is where a human-sized door is (with windows.) The front of the chicken is where the nesting boxes will go. On the sides, there will be doors (not shown in this drawing) that open into tractors (run-ways) where the chickens can run. The entire thing will be mobile, and the tractors will be removable when not in use.

The head will be 2-dimensional, painted on something like plywood. It will only look like a chicken in profile.

This is the floor. There are pieces that fit over the screen to keep the chickens warm in the winter-time, but can be removed during the summer for more ventilation, letting the chicken waste fall to the ground.

The siding will be board and batten. (The picture above was us trying to figure out what size batten to use.) I spent a significant portion of my day preparing for this step. Tim 1 and I went out to the boneyard and picked up lumber and ripped it to size. Tim planed some of it - I will learn that step tomorrow, possibly. We are planing the side that faces inwards so that there is a smooth, easily cleanable surface, and we're leaving the outside rough, for aesthetics and ease.

The boards change size. They are 7 inches at the front of the chicken, are 6 inches for the majority of the side, and switches to 5 and 4 inches right at the end, which will give the illusion of curving. Awesome.

I did get to use a table saw for the first time in my life. After a couple minutes of practice, I was pretty good at it. The hardest part is keeping the wood level/not accidentally lifting the wood above the blade. I loved ripping the wood though - I've never used stationary power-tools, with the exception of a chop saw.

I also waxed a lot of the tools. The wood we were using was fairly green, so sap was collecting and needed to be cleaned off. And waxing just keeps the wood running smoothly.

I like that everything I do here is for a reason.

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