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Picture of Plywood Wood Duck Boxes and Plans
plywood duck box plans.jpg

Thanks to these plans, we will donate our 300th duck box this year with plans to make it to 500 before our kids are out of scouts!

Wood Ducks were driven nearly to the point of extinction by the turn of the 20th century. As with many animals, Wood Ducks were hunted extensively and their habitats were destroyed to make way for farming and development.

Wood Ducks are one of a few waterfowl who happen to be cavity nesting birds. That means that these birds nest in hollow trunks. Old trees routinely rot from the inside and when a branch breaks off, it can leave a hole which the birds can use to enter the tree.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 helped Wood Duck populations rebound by setting limits on what sort of birds can be hunted. Unfortunately, the Act could not replace the old trees that the birds would nest in. This box design was found to be an optimal artificial replacement for Wood Duck nesting needs.

Three years ago, we decided to make duck boxes and donate them as a service project with our Cub Scout group. Building 60 boxes from 1"x10"x12' was prohibitively expensive but I remembered building them out of plywood and painting them as a kid.

These plans are designed to build groups of 15 boxes out of four sheets of plywood. They are changed from other plywood plans to minimize wasteful cuts and wood.

(If you are interested in learning more, this resource from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is terrific:

Step 1: Materials and Plans

Manufacturing 105 duck boxes is no easy task so we have done our best to minimize all waste. We removed at least two cuts per box which really speeds up your cutting day (and it will take a day with just two people).

We have also switched from untreated to treated plywood. We had a source at Lowe's who would sell us plywood for dirt cheap but she left. So, because we have to pay full price AND buy paint then paint the boxes, we decided to switch to pressure treated. It costs $2 more per sheet but we don't have to buy paint, glue, or use time to paint them all.


You will need 4 sheets of pressure treated plywood for every 15 boxes that you want to make.

Bosch 85601MC Router bit

1lb - galvanized 4d nails (per 15 boxes)

1 -extra sheet of plywood for mistakes and the jig


Framing Hammer

Table saw

Jigsaw or CNC

Drill and/or drill press (preferably)

1/2" router

Circular saw


Get the biggest table saw that you can get your hands on. We used the cheapest Craftsman saw for the first 200+ boxes and it was down right dangerous. We had to weigh the legs down and it was still unstable for the bigger cuts (any cut over 36" we used a circular saw for).