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Thread: Wood Species for Birdhouse

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Earleville, MD
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    7

    Wood Species for Birdhouse

    I need to build a birdhouse to replace one that has seen a few too many bird families. Iím looking for recommendations of what wood to use and where I can buy it.

    i live in southern Chester county, PA and my normal wood supplier is Hearne Hardwoods which is 7 or 8 miles from my home. Sadly they donít stock cypress which would be my first choice.

    Iím open to suggestions of different species and of availability within an hour or so of my house.

    Thanks for any help you may have.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    NE OH
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    Red Cedar is a reasonable choice; most lumberyards in PA should have it, at least in common grade and often in better grades for trim. Easy to work with and stands up well outdoors.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Pat, if you describe to the folks at Hearne what you want to do, they will likely be able to suggest a suitable replacement species that they do stock out of the many, many that they carry. I've never had a problem getting suggestions like that from them. (I consider them a "candy store" when it comes to wood species) If you don't mind a little heavier wood for this, white oak (not red!) is a very durable species for outdoor usage and for your project you can easily utilize the "less pretty" and short stock to make your components, which keeps the cost down.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Yeah, cedar, white oak, maybe black locust are possible options, but as has already been mentioned ask them. They may suggest something interesting. Groff and Groffs is another source not too far away that has had some black locust and other interesting choices in the past. Also they tend to have lots of short end cuts so buying a little bit for a bird house might be easy.

    I miss Hearn's and Groff and Groff's since I moved south to Tallahassee. On the other hand I did find some great resources here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Deep South
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    Old growth cypress is another excellent choice if you can find it. There are 30 year old duck boxes made out of it still in service at the wildlife refuge near me.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mann View Post
    Old growth cypress is another excellent choice if you can find it. There are 30 year old duck boxes made out of it still in service at the wildlife refuge near me.
    Yes, great choice, easy to work, weathers super well, and fairly easy to find here on the gulf coast, but I doubt he will find any there in PA.

  7. #7
    Actually, white pine works fairly well outdoors especially if you can paint it. It needs to be white pine though, the spruces, firs, and most other pines don't do well outside, maybe yellow or pitch pine is OK. White oak would be my preference though. I think it wears better than cedar (cedar sheds water well, but it doesn't do well if it stays damp), and it is a lot safer to work with, especially if you have been sensitized to cedar.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Collegeville PA (30 min west of Philly)
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    Regarding Hearnes and Groff options (both are about 1.5 hours from me, maybe a bit less)...

    If I'm being totally honst, my local sawmill (Spacht) can be somewhat confusing and intimidating to navigate sometimes. My rudimentary questions seem silly to them I feel like, and helping with translation of needs (quantity, sizes, species suited for project etc.) can be a circular conversation. I've dealt with it and bought a fair amount of lumber there over the years, but still find myself wishing for a better experience when I'm tackling something new and know that I'll have a bunch of questions.

    I'm wondering what the customer experience is like at Hearnes and Groff options?
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mann View Post
    Old growth cypress is another excellent choice if you can find it. There are 30 year old duck boxes made out of it still in service at the wildlife refuge near me.
    That old growth cypress is amazing. We have sills made of it at the family greenhouse biz that have been set in cement for 70 years, are half exposed to the outside & half to the hot humid inside, get wet every time it rains, and it are still in good shape, with minimal rotting. Even the good old CCA treated lumber won't do as well in that environment. Sadly it is basically unavailable here. Greenhouse design has also advanced fortunately to where it isn't necessary.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Earleville, MD
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    Thanks all for your input.
    I took a ride to Hearne’s and asked what they recommended for outdoor applications and came away with some Spanish Cedar that looks VERY nice, it’ll be a shame to cover it with paint.
    Thanks, Jim for advising that I just ask them.
    Bob, I find the experience there to be quite enjoyable. They are always ready to help, but are happy to let you dig through the bins to find what you want. FWIW, I also enjoy the emailed newsletter ( don’t remember if it’s monthly or some other frequency). You can sign up for the newsletter on their website.

  11. Quote Originally Posted by Pat Marinari View Post
    Thanks all for your input.
    I took a ride to Hearneís and asked what they recommended for outdoor applications and came away with some Spanish Cedar that looks VERY nice, itíll be a shame to cover it with paint.
    Glad you found something you like. I worked with Spanish cedar before and it was nice to work with. Mine came from Groff and Groff.

  12. #12
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    Apr 2013
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    Kansas City
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    I just use western red cedar decking material which is what is commonly used for decks and fences around here. Birds dont like paint according to the state conservation department birdhouse guide.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Use rough sawed Hemlock from PA. It lasts for dozens of years exposed to the weather. There are barns in NW PA sided with hemlock that are 100+ years old.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
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    10,233
    Redwood is the traditional choice here. One fence board is more then enough stock. Cost under $3.00
    Bill D.

  15. #15
    Pat,
    I live in Chester County, Pa. and have found you can purchase Cypress very close to you. Peter's lumber in Kennett Square has had it in stock in the past and closer to you A & A lumber on Limestone Rd., Toughkenamon Pa. carries rough cut Cypress. Obviously, this is not old growth but may be useful for you. Jack

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