Thursday, June 24, 2010

Much Progress Today

I decided to take advantage of the fact that the weather was much cooler today, with overcast skies and intermittent rain. Between the rain showers I worked almost all day, even canceling my language lesson so I could work more. So we've got a lot to show today.

I began the day by finishing the base, covering the remaining two supports with sheet metal and then assembling the pieces into the base structure.I then laid the wire mesh over the top and began securing it to the base. I found it difficult to secure it with the sheet metal covering the wood, but in the end it worked.
Here is the completed base with mesh covering. The mesh allows the rabbit's waste to fall through to the ground, where Teresa gets the job of cleaning it up (since this whole rabbit project is her idea!) At the same time the mesh needs to be small enough that the rabbit's paws don't pass through, potentially causing them injury.After a break for rain and dealing with a plumbing problem in the house I returned to work, cutting and assembling the two end pieces and middle divider. Here are the two end pieces before I added the wire mesh.
I covered the center divider with sheet metal to keep the rabbits apart. One half of this hutch will be a nursery, so it will be good for the mother rabbit to not be disturbed by her neighbor.

After covering the outer edges with wire mesh I mounted them on the base frame, adding a board across the top for stability, although I may remove it later depending on how I do the roof. At this point I really saw the effect of not having a square to make sure my cuts were even and my joints squared up. The three pieces I added here all varied to some extent from each other and it was impossible to get everything lined up perfectly. This frustrated me a great deal. Thankfully I am building a rabbit hutch, not a jet plane, so the tolerances are a lot looser.
Finally, I framed in the larger half of the hutch and added wire mesh to the back and to the section of the front that will not be a door. Throughout the day I had the intermittent help of Dietrich. On the one hand this was a good thing, but in terms of having an extra pair of hands and as an opportunity for teaching him some basics of carpentry. On the other hand, because he is very new at these things, he works slowly and with less accuracy than even I can manage at present. I had to discipline myself to be very patient with him and to not criticize any errors he made. Instead I tried to use them as teaching moments so he can improve next time.
Tomorrow I will try to build the two doors and mount them on the frame. Then I need to build the roof frame, cover it with sheet metal and attach it to the rest of the hutch. I hope it will not be too hot so that I can finish all this tomorrow.

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