Anthony enjoys spending time in the workshop, the kitchen, the garden, and out fishing. Many of his projects are featured in his yard.
How I Made This Hanging Bird Feeder
This hanging bird feeder is simple to make. The open fly-through design and platform seed tray can attract a wide variety of birds including cardinals, chickadees and bluebirds. Its compact size makes it perfect for placement on decks and balconies or near doorways and windows for easy access and close-up views. And it looks good too!
A friend was looking for a small hanging bird feeder for her apartment terrace. An avid birder and photographer, she wanted a feeder with an open design for unobstructed views of the birds and a tray for putting out small amounts of different treats to entice a variety of birds. The edged tray works well, providing a platform for the birds to land on while they feast on black oil sunflower seeds, bits of bread or freeze-dried mealworms. For less mess around the feeder, the tray is perfect for putting out a handful of hulled sunflower seeds.
The Cutting List
Bird feeders and birdhouses are great projects for using bits and pieces from my scrap bin. I made the feeder tray from a few mahogany leftovers and the uprights were cut from oak and then painted black. A worn and weathered piece of barn wood became the roof.
If scrap wood isn't available, cedar and pine are inexpensive, readily available at the local home center and are also good choices for this project.
The Cutting List:
- Tray Bottom: 12" L x 5" W
- Tray Sides (qty = 2): approximately 13-3/8" L x 1-3/4" W
- Tray Ends (qty = 2): approximately 6-1/2" by 1-3/4" W
- Uprights (qty = 2): 9" H x 5" W
- Roof A: 14-1/2" L x 6" W
- Roof B: 14-1/2" L x 5-1/4" W
Step 1: Start With the Uprights
The height of the uprights isn't critical, so long as they are tall enough for the birds to enter easily under the roof. After trying a few different measurements, I settled on 9" high. I cut the peaks of the uprights at a 45-degree angle using my power miter saw.
Step 2: The Curvy Pieces
The curved sides on the uprights open up access to the interior for the birds, and adds a bit of sculptural interest to the bird feeder. I used the lid of a large jar to mock up the curves, moving it around on the upright until I was happy with the look and then traced around the edge. The bottom of the curve starts about an 1-1/8" from the bottom edge of the upright and ends about 3/4" below the intersection of the side edge with the peak. The mid-point of the upright is about 1-1/4" wide at its narrowest point.
Since I plan to make several of these bird feeders, I made a template from a thin piece of the scrap veneer plywood.
Step 3: Smooth Out Those Curves
After using a bandsaw to cut out the curves, I used a drum sander in my drill press to smooth out the curves and clean up the saw marks.
Step 4: Round Over the Edges
I used a 3/8" radius round-over bit in a router to break the edges of the curves. I routed the curves on both sides of the upright, being careful not to route any of the straight edges. A little sanding smoothed out any rough spots and removed any burn marks from milling the hard oak.
Step 5: Trim the Tray
The tray is a simple structure consisting of a board surrounded by a trim pieces on each side to contain the seeds and treats. Made from mahogany, I mitered the corners, though basic butt joints would work just a well. The lengths of the trim pieces in the Cutting List are approximations; I cut the lengths a little long and then carefully trimmed and test fitted until I was happy with the results in all four of the corners.
Step 6: Holding It All Together
The trim pieces are attached to the base with glue and screws. A band clamp held all of the pieces together while the glue set. I counter-sunk the screw heads and then filled the holes with plugs cut from maple. I like the contrasting look of the light colored maple plugs against the darker reddish mahogany hues of the base.
A little sanding smoothed out the plugs and rounded over all of the sharp edges.
Step 7: The Finishing Touches
It's easier to paint the uprights and oil the tray before attaching them together. The uprights received several coats of black spray paint. I used Danish oil on the base to bring out the natural color and grain of the mahogany.
After the paint and oil dried, I secured the uprights to the base with a dab of glue and couple of screws.
Step 8: Raising the Roof
The roof sections were cut from a piece of old barn wood. I attached the narrower roof section first (Roof Part B), aligning the top edge of the roof with the peaks of the uprights and centered so the overhang is equal on both ends. Glue and a few nails hold the roof in place.
The second roof section is secured with more glue and a few more nails fired from a pneumatic nailer.
Bring On the Birds!
The feeder hangs from a 3/16" diameter plastic coated cable. I drilled small holes through the top of the uprights, about 3/8" down from the top of the peak. Thread the cable through the holes before tying off with an overhand knot.
The hanging platform feeder is ready for the birds!
Beyond the Basic Bird Feeder: An Advanced Project
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Anthony Altorenna