Tuesday 13 December 2011

Idea for a Swift Tower

Contributed by Dick

This is an idea for a a swift tower which is intended to be relatively inexpensive and that hopefully can be erected by a group of competent amateurs without the use of cranes or cherry-pickers - but you are responsible for abiding by your local health and safety regulations. It is a modular design for ease of assembly. If you feel inspired to erect something like this, then please get in touch to discuss options.

Click for large picture
This is what it looks like from below. It contains 18 nesting places, 12 in the louvred cabinets and 6 in the roof. Access for maintenance to all nest-boxes can be achieved by removing any of the louvres or the gable ends. The materials are 12mm marine ply, 200mm x 25mm rough-sawn treated timber. 175mm wide feather-boarding, and 4 x 2 inch timbers. The dimensions quoted below are for guidance.

Assembly instructions:

First start with a pole, something like a 10 inch (250mm) telegraph pole would do, about 8 or 9 metres long, so that the lowest box can be at least 5-6 metres above the ground. The flats are not strictly necessary, but  they make for easier alignment at the start. If you can source a steel pole, then so much the better.

Click on any of these pictures for a larger view

Now bolt on two 3-box cabinets, with the louvres removed. The overall dimensions of the cabinets are 450mm wide x 575mm high x 200mm deep

Add some slots for bats

Bolt on two more 3-box cabinets
Add the ceiling.

Ceiling dimensions are 975mm x 650mm x 12mm
Add the roof structure. If the Japanese-style curves are too much of a challenge, then make them straight.
Add the roof

Overall dimensions of the roof are 1250mm x 1075mm
Now finish it off by replacing the louvres and the gable ends

Although this sequence shows clearly how it goes together, it may be preferable to assemble the whole thing on the ground with the pole horizontal. Then, reduce the weight by removing the 4 cabinets, the bat slots and gable ends, then erect the pole with the ceiling, roof structure and roof, and add back the cabinets, bat slots, louvres and gable ends.

An additional consideration is to put a smooth metal sleave beneath the boxes around the pole to deter rats and squirrels.

The tower should be orientated so that the eaves face north and south, the gable ends east and west, to reduce overheating of the lower boxes.

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