Recycled Water Pipe Swift Nestbox

This is a low-cost, waterproof, long-lasting, low weight and aesthetically acceptable Swift nest-box, developed by Jake Allsop and Dick Newell.

It is made out of a section of PVC water-pipe 450mm long, 180mm outside diameter and 158 mm inside diameter. The ends are blocked off with standard end caps, that fit the pipe exactly, into which is inserted a circular piece of 12mm plywood to bulk it up and make it more robust. The floor is a piece of 9mm plywood cut at 45° along the sides. The brackets to support the pipe are also made of sections of the same PVC pipe, see drawing below. 

The easiest way to mark the pipe for cutting by hand is to wrap a strip of paper 100mm wide by 600mm long around the pipe (broadsheet newspaper works just fine).

The entrance is made by drilling two holes using a 30mm spade drill, then cut the entrance out with a jigsaw.

The pipe is first sanded down, then coated with Unibond as an undercoat, and painted with a mixture of coarse sand (1 part) and Sandtex paint (3 parts)

The box is secured with two dowell screws and a wing-nut. 20m of thread should be left protruding beyond the bracket. [It is also just as easy to secure with 2 simple screws with a hex head using a box spanner]

The material costs are minimal, as pipe off cuts can be obtained at low/zero cost. The pipe is easy to cut and to drill. The total weight is less than 3kg.

Download installation instructions (pdf)

This box is coated with a uPVC primer and a topcoat of Sandtex
Cross-section: dimensions in millimetres - click for clearer image
Raw materials: blue for water, black for waste water
These boxes were installed at Edgecombe Flats, Cambridge in March 2010.

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