Sunday 28 April 2013

Nest concaves out of fibre-board

by Dick

Fibre-board is a cheap, easy to work material which has potential for making Swift concave nest platforms

[Postscript: Although Swifts seem to like soft fibre board, both House Sparrows and Great Tits like to chew it into small pieces.  We now coat the concaves in dilute PVA glue, which we hope will solve the problem.]

I do not usually look in people's dustbins for cigarette ends or old bacon rinds, but I do rummage around in people's skips looking for useful offcuts like MDF for making concaves. This is how I have sourced most of my MDF - but I have run out.

A friend is putting up 4 boxes, so I thought I would make him some concaves. I went along to my local building merchant, Ridgeons, to see if they had any MDF offcuts. They didn't, but what they did have was a broken off piece of fibreboard 12.5mm thick. So I decided to give it a go.

Nest concave made of two layers of fibre-board
Click to enlarge
I made my friend 4 concaves,with an indentation about 10mm deep. I also made one by sticking two pieces together (I used Pritt, but any glue would do), giving a concave 25 mm thick, and a deeper indentation.

As I see it, there are a number of advantages to this material in that it is soft and easy to cut. Although I used a lathe to create the concave, you could probably scrape it out with a spoon! The material has excellent thermal properties, it is used for insulation, and the resulting surface is soft and Swift-friendly.

For other posts on concaves, see here.

Here is an example of what a pair of Swifts added to such a concave:
Photo Judith Wakelam

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