How To Make A Bird Feeder
How To Make A Bird Feeder.
Pictured left is the bird feeder we are going to build on this page. This was another one of those projects I really enjoyed. The whole thing cost less than half of what it would to buy a similar feeder from a home improvement store and I used a top notch continuous hinge for the lid. If you are new to woodworking, hang in there. This was an easy project and I know you can do it!
Lets cut the ends for our bird feeder.
This may look complicated, but it isn't and took less than a minute to set this up. I just set the table saw miter gauge to 30 degrees. Why 30 degrees? I don't know, it just looked about right ;). Then you can see I clamped a block to the miter gauge to keep my bird house ends in the same place as I make each cut. There were four cuts in all, two angles on each of two ends.
Cutting slots for the plexiglass.
After I completed the angle cuts on the ends for the roof, I set my table saw fence so that the saw blade was about a half inch from the edge of the end. I then lowered the blade so that it only cut about halfway into the wood. These slots will hold the plexiglass for our bird feeder in place. I only had to set the fence and the blade once for this. I make one cut and then rotate the end 180 degrees and cut the other slot on the same face.
These are the ends after the plexiglass cuts have been made
These are what the ends look like so far with a piece of plexiglass in one of the slots we just cut at the saw. Speaking of plexiglass, I got this piece and another just like it at Lowe's for a whopping 4 dollars. Not too bad, especially since it's sturdier than most of what I've seen in bird feeders costing $40.00 or more. Notice how the slots go all the way to the bottom of the ends? We can't have that because we need bird feed to be able to spill out below the glass. We are going to fix this next.
A plexiglass stop for the ends.
You can see here I've cut a little strip of wood to act as a stop to keep the plexiglass from sliding all the way down and stopping the flow of birdseed. I'll cut this off to match the bottom of my end and then tack it on with a dab of glue and a few brads.
A rough fit up.
This is just to give you an idea of what we've accomplished so far. We have cut the angles for the roofline, cut slots for the plexiglass and put stops on the bottom of the ends to elevate the plexiglass enough to let seed through. There is no need to glue the plexiglass in place. Even after the bird feeder is done the glass will just be free floating in the slots.
Time for the bottom..
Ok, I know there's a top on too now, but imagine there isn't
Im missing a picture but the bottom was next. I took a measurement of my "rough fit up" and added four inches to the length and width and cut a piece of plywood I had laying around to match these measurement. This gives me about an inch and a half all the way around my feeder. After marking where I wanted the ends to be on my bottom I put a little wood glue on the bottom of the ends, put them in place and let them set awhile. I came back after about 30 minutes and shot some nails from the bottom of the bottom into the ends, securing them in place.
Cutting the tops
Ok we have two parts to the top to cut now. One of these will be stationary and the other hinged. We will get to that shortly. The length of the tops will be about the length of the bottom. We will also need to bevel the ends to match the angle of the roofline. If you guessed 30 degrees you are right. I adjust the bevel on my table saw to 30 degrees and start cutting.
A test fit of the tops on my bird feeder shows that the angle on the cuts were nearly perfect.
Putting the hinge on the roof
Here I am screwing the hinge to the roof. One of the sides will be attached permanently to the ends and the other side will be the hinged lid for bird seed. In this picture, we are looking at the bottom of the hinge and the roof. After attachment I will turn it over and place it on top of the bird house ends.
About this hinge..I bought a nicer hinge than I had to. This is a stainless steel continous hinge I got from Ace hardware for about $9. This was the most expensive part of my project. Initially it was about an inch too long, but 15 seconds with my side grinder remedied the problem. A couple of smaller hinges would have worked as well, but I saw this hinge and I liked it for my project.
The roof goes on.
Ok, here I have flipped the roof right side up from the previous picture and nailed one side down to our bird feeder. The other side is now our lid which is shown in the open position.
Adding an edge to keep the bird seed in the feeder.
You can see in this picture I've added an edge on the ends of our bottom to help keep the birdseed on the feeder. This might also give our feathered friends a great place to stand while they are eating. Next I'll do the sides.
Edge all the way around now
Here you can see I've drilled some 3/8 inch holes around the perimeter of the bottom to prevent rainwater from standing in it.
Hanging the bird feeder.
To hang my bird feeder I needed something on it to attach a wire. I found a couple of galvanized screws and put one on each end of the feeder in the center just under the roofline. The gap between the roof halves provided by the hinge will allow for some 12 gauge copper wire to hang the feeder on.
Open for business!
After putting some feed in my feeder and hanging it in the Oak tree in my backyard, I'm calling this project done. Within just a few minutes of putting my feeder in the tree, it was already attracting attention. The bright red Cardinal below decided to park in a nearby limb and check out the new buffet in town.
Although I didn't work on this project non-stop, the birdfeeder may have taken a couple of hours to build and I have less than twenty dollars in it. I could have used cheaper hinges though and done it for $15.
For me, projects like this are truly therapeutic.... which is why we HAVE hobbies :)
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