Friday, June 25, 2010

It is (almost) finished

Thanks to another day of reasonably cool weather I was able to make good progress today. In fact, only one thing remains to be done.

I began the day by constructing the door for the small section of the hutch. This went reasonably smoothly, until it came time to hang it on the frame. Then I discovered that the door and the opening didn't match as well as I would have liked. However, with a slight adjustment I was able to make a workable solution.
I was not so fortunate with the second door. After my difficulties with the first door, I should have been more attentive to the sizing of the second door. In fact I was, measuring carefully and framing my door very carefully. This second door was probably the most square of anything I'd constructed so far. After attaching my wire mesh I was ready to hang it...only to discover that my nice square door didn't fit the not-so-square opening. This time the problem could not be resolved with a quick adjustment. The door simply was not going to fit in its current form. Time to take a break and come back with a fresh perspective.

After a trip to the bazaar to get some more nails (and a fresh watermelon!), I tackled the problem with the door. I removed the wire mesh, took the frame partially apart and analyzed where I needed to make adjustments. I had to cut down the vertical parts of the door frame by 1 1/2 centimeters and cut a new top piece in order to fit the opening. I wasn't happy about the extra work, but it was my own fault for not testing the door initially. Having reassembled the door, I mounted it in the frame as well. Now it was time to construct the frame for the roof.
My plan for the roof was to construct a basic frame similar to the base with with supports running the length of the hutch. This will give me something to which I can attach the metal roof. This task went rather smoothly, with no unexpected difficulties. Dietrich was quite helpful in this stage, cutting all the boards and helping me nail the frame together. Here is the completed frame.
And here is the roof frame mounted on the hutch. About the time I began to build the roof frame I realized I had a problem. I thought I had a sheet of metal the right dimensions to completely cover the roof. But when I unrolled the sheet, I discovered (or remembered) that at some point a piece had been cut out of it. The remnant would not be enough to cover the whole hutch. I really wanted to make this hutch usable tonight so we could get the rabbit out of her box in the living room. I called a friend who is building some new rooms on his house and asked him if he would pick up a sheet of metal at the bazaar tomorrow when he goes for his own needs. In the meantime I considered covering the roof with some thick plastic for the night. Instead my wife suggested that I just use the piece of metal I have, which was adequate to cover one of the sections of the hutch, making it safe and weather proof for the night. Tomorrow I can remove that metal and attach the new sheet.

With that task accomplished, the hutch was ready for its first inhabitant. The male rabbit (seen in the picture below) was moved from the old hutch into the smaller section of the new hutch. The two female rabbits will currently live in the old hutch until Teresa is ready to mate one of them next month. Before then I have to build a nesting box, which may prove to be yet another experience to share with you.
In the end I have had several moments of frustration and have had to accept that my results would not be the perfect model I would like them to be. I have found a certain satisfaction in working with my hands and constructing something useful, though I think I still prefer expressing myself creatively in other ways. But this experience has given more added confidence to tackle future challenges like this.

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