By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Here's a bird feeder sure to become a popular stopover for your feathered friends. We designed our feeder, made of redwood and acrylic window pane, to protect the feed from rain and snow and from other critters that like to ravage a stash of food. The feeder is filled with seed from the top, which is raised and slides up the suspension ropes. A controlled amount of seed spills out through the space below the clear pane onto the deck where the birds come to feed. Because of the feeder's clear sides, you can always see the seed level and refill it when needed.
Our feeder is made from redwood available at lumberyards. Since only small pieces are required, purchase scrap pieces if possible. Pine may be substituted, but it should be stained to protect it from the weather. Transfer the end (B) dimensions from the End Detail on the diagram to the wood. Cut two pieces to these dimensions. You could also make a full-size pattern on a piece of cardboard and then use it to mark the shape of the end on the wood. Cut the remaining pieces to length, as specified in the Cutting List.
Since redwood splits easily, use a 1/16-inch drill bit to make pilot holes for the nails. Drill two evenly spaced holes 3/8 inch from the bottom of the end pieces (B). Drill five holes spaced about 2 inches apart and 3/8 inch from the edge of one top part ©. Apply glue to one end of the bottom (E), and nail on one end piece (B) with number 4 finishing nails. Turn the unit over, and glue and nail on the other end. Have one team member hold the end in position while the other does the nailing. Sink all nail heads with a nail set.
Cut sides (D) out of a piece of acrylic window pane. Acrylic can be cut with a saw or scored with a sharp knife and then broken over a table edge. Drill three evenly spaced 1/16-inch holes on each end, 3/8 inch from the edge. The side panels (D) are then nailed flush with the top edge of the ends (B) with 7/8-inch by 18 aluminum or brass brads. This leaves a slot at the bottom for the food to pour through.
Now run a bead of glue down the top edge of one roof piece ©. Nail both roof parts together with number 4 aluminum nails. Since the edge of one top is nailed to the side of the other, the roof is 3/4 inch wider on one side. This will not bother the birds, but if you want a balanced roof either trim 3/4 inch from the long side or join the top part with a miter joint. Turn your top over, and have one team member hold it square while the other drills a 3/8-inch hole in the V 1 1/4 inches from each end of the roof.
Next, drill two 3/8-inch holes in the base (A) 1 1/4 inches from each end and centered. Mark the location of the feeder house on the base by measuring 1 1/2 inches from each end of the base. Put glue on the bottom edges of the feeder house, and drive nails through the center of the house to secure it to the base. You will not need pilot holes.
Measure out about 3 1/2 feet of the rope and tie a loop in its center. Feed the ends of the rope through the holes in the roof and the base of the feeder. Tie knots in the rope under the base to hold it in place, and your feeder is ready to be filled with seed. Just lift the roof, and pour in the first serving.
Four hours for cutting, building, and assembling, plus drying time for glue and finish.
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