outdoor glued panel durability


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Hi all,

Say you were making a 2x1x1 ft bird house to be hung outdoors.  You could make a glued panel for the roof using Titebond 3, with a design so rain would drain off.  If you left it unfinished, how long would it last?  This is in NorCal in a part with no snow.  Not wanting to put finish on, this is actually for solitary bees. 

Perhaps I could paint just the top?

Or is there a way to make a panel for outdoor use with no glue?

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Aside from buying a board the size of your roof, I don’t know of a way to joint two boards, water tight, without glue and TB III is my go to when I build birdhouses for my purple martins. If you are concerned about the finish for the bees safety, I have been looking into bee keeping and it seems that most hives are made from pine and painted. 

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I've made a few birdhouses from western red cedar, they last many years with no finish. Boards can be joined into a glue-free panel with wedge shaped sliding dovetail battens, which work amazingly well in soft wood. But TB3 is supposed to be waterproof, so the battens seem like more trouble than necessary.

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13 hours ago, danbee said:

Hi all,

Say you were making a 2x1x1 ft bird house to be hung outdoors.  You could make a glued panel for the roof using Titebond 3, with a design so rain would drain off.  If you left it unfinished, how long would it last?  This is in NorCal in a part with no snow.  Not wanting to put finish on, this is actually for solitary bees. 

Perhaps I could paint just the top?

Or is there a way to make a panel for outdoor use with no glue?

A long time. I've made a few birdhouses that survive snow -40F weather, rain thunderstorms. The roofs are glued with TB III. I just replaced one that was out there for 4 years. It wasn't the TB III that failed, a deer decided to try and break into it.

Use a good outdoor wood like Cedar or redwood I'd just leave the wood raw. There are too many finishes that could impact the insects and birds that choose to call the place home. Food safe for humans doesn't mean food safe for insects and birds.

If you want to have the greatest success buy the wood and store it outside for a few weeks to acclimate to the conditions in your yard. It's likely it's goign to dry out quite a bit. Then glue together. The main thing that would cause failure is the wood dropping moisture to equalize with the environment and cracking as a result.

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I put up a Martin box about 40 years ago.  I had some thin Honduras Mahogany for some odd reason-like 1/4".  I put Mahogany shingles on the roof.  It was on a used telephone pole.  A few years ago, it fell down when the post rotted.  It was pretty much smashed to smithereens, but the Mahogany roof was still keeping the inside dry, after examining the pile.  I just pushed the whole thing up with the front end loader, and carried it to the trash pile.

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On 1/11/2022 at 12:49 PM, Mark J said:

@Coop, that's a very interesting material.  You could probably cut it with any carbide tipped blade.  Just have to figure out how to join it.

That’s how I cut it. The only jointing I’ve done was on the roof peak where the two pieces met, I ran a bead of silicone and then overlapped that joint with 2” wide strips with silicone.  I know it sounds a little extravagant but these houses are winched up and down yearly on a 2” pipe for cleaning and materials alone cost over $250 each so I want them to last as long as possible. 

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I'm in the midwest and a beekeeper...pretty sure our university says that solitary bee 'hives' need to be taken down and cleaned or replaced every year. We have primarily leafcutter and mason bees here in nebraska...might do some research and see what the local bee authorities recommend.

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On 1/12/2022 at 4:33 PM, tperson said:

I'm in the midwest and a beekeeper...pretty sure our university says that solitary bee 'hives' need to be taken down and cleaned or replaced every year. We have primarily leafcutter and mason bees here in nebraska...might do some research and see what the local bee authorities recommend.

I was pretty sure I wanted a bee hive to help with pollination of my garden and bought a couple of books on the subject. According to the first 50 or so pages of the first book, it appears that bee keeping is just that and not just throwing a few thousand bees in a box with a queen? It seems pretty intense and in need of constant supervision?

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  • 4 weeks later...

That should work. It looks like aromatic cedar. Cost  more money. The white wood (sap) will not hold up as good as the heart wood. I think the weakest link is the base. Well made but the wood might be a problem. Next time make it all with western red cedar if you are buying more. If you have aromatic cedar on hand, eliminate the sap wood.

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My wife’s uncle that lives in the country showed me a way to deal with carpenter bees. They go into the hole, fall into the bottle to never bore another hole. The plank behind this setup is pecan and you can see the hole one made before I gave them a manufactured home.

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On 2/7/2022 at 8:18 PM, treeslayer said:

So carpenter bees can be a nuisance as well as beneficial?

I don't get why they are called Carpenter Bees.  They don't build squat. They destroy things.  And they don't make honey that we can steal.

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