For this bird-feeding season, we kept our eye on functional hospitality as well as on styling. That’s why we included retaining rails for tidiness and a foolproof feeding system with ample drainage. Practical as it is, we’re guessing that this feeder’s contemporary good looks will set your neighbors chirping right along with the chickadees.
Let’s Start with the Hopper.
1. To make the hopper walls, first rip and crosscut a piece of W-thick stock to 6×32″. (We selected redwood. Most S4S or «surfaced on four sides» redwood stock is milled to 11/16 or 5/8″ thick, either of which will work for this project.) Next, tilt your tables aw blade to 45°, and bevel-rip both edges of this piece to 5 1/2″ wide. Now, crosscut four 7 3/4″ — long hopper walls from this piece,
2. To make the hopper windows, first lay out and bore two 1″ holes through each hopper wall where shown on the Hopper Wall detail that accompanies the Exploded. (We used a Forstner bit for this.) Connect the edges of the holes with straight lines, and then cut out the waste between the holes. (We used our scrollsaw.) Now, sand the window edges using a 3/4″-diameter drum sander on your drill press.
3. Designate and mark your walls «front» and «back.» Next, fit your table-mounted router with a rebbating bit, and rout a 3/8″ rabbet 1/4″ deep around the edge of the window on the back of each wall. Next, switch to a 1/4″ cove bit, and rout a ‘1/4″-deep cove around the window on the front of each wall.
4. To make the window-panes, first copy the full-sized Window-pane pattern shown on the pattern inserts. Use the pattern to make a template from scrap hardboard, and then lay out four window-panes on 1/8″-thick clear acrylic plastic. Scrollsaw the panes to shape, then adhere them into the rabbeted space on the back face of each wall, (We applied a small bead of clear silicon acrylic caulk around the rabbet to bed the window-pane, then applied another bead around the edge of the pane to seal it in position.)
5. Dry-assemble the four hopper walls, and then check for square. Adjust as necessary, then glue and clamp the walls. (We used Franklin Titebond II, water-resistant glue, and three band clamps.)
Next, Make the Platform And Feeding System.
1. From your remaining 3/4″-thick stock cut a 9 1/2″ square for the platform. Lay out the feed bins where shown on the Platform drawing above. Then, bore, cut out, and sand the holes using the same techniques you used to make the windows.
2. Mark the platform faces «top» and «bottom.» Next, fit your router with the same rabbeting bit you used for the windows, but set it to cut 5/16″ deep. Rout a rabbet around the edge of each feed bin on the bottom face of the platform. Now, switch to a 45° chamfer bit, and rout a 1/4″-deep chamfer around each hole on the top face.
3. Make four copies of the full-sized Screen Retainer Ring pattern shown on the pattern insert. Adhere them to 1/4″-thick tempered hardboard, and then drill a start hole inside each ring. Now, scrollsaw the interior waste from each, and then saw the four rings to shape.
4. Using one of your rings as a template lay out four screen panel’s oil galvanized window screen. Cut the four panels to shape using your tin shears, and adhere them into the rabbets on the bottom platform face. (We used Contech PL200, a waterproof construction adhesive we found at a local home center.) Apply a second bead of adhesive around the edge of each screen panel, then insert and clamp the retaining rings in place.
5. To make (lie feed slide, cut a pair of 2 1/2″-square pieces from your stock, then glue and clamp them face to face to create a 1 1/2″-thick block. When the glue has dried, bevel-cut all four edges of this block to form a four-sided pyramid. Now, center, glue, and nail the feed slide between the four feed bins, using #17x 1 1/2″ brads.
Now, Add the Rails and Perches.
1. To make the rails, cut and resaw four pieces of stock to 1/2 x 1 1/4 x 13 1/2″. Next, lay out and bore 1/2″ holes 1/4″ deep on the inside faces where shown on the Rail detail that accompanies the Platform Assembly drawing. (We used a Forstner bit.)
2. Fit your tablesaw with a 1/2″ dado set, and elevate it to 5/8″. Then, cut notches in the edges of the rails where shown on the Rail detail. Dry-assemble the four rails, and check the lap joints for fit. (The rail edges should be flush.) Sand a slight round-over on the rail ends, then finish-sand the rails and platform.
3. Lay out, drill, and countersink three 9/64″ shank holes through the rails where shown on (he Rail detail. (Note: Drill two of the rails along me he notched edge and the other two along the opposite edge.) Next, center and clamp two matching rails along opposite edges of the platform. Using the shank holes as guides, drill 3/32” pilot holes ½” deep into the platform.
4. Measure the distance between the rails, then cut two perches from ½” dowel to length, allowing for the ¼”-deep holes. (Ours measured 10″ long.) Next, glue and screw the rails to the platform, inserting the dowels into their holes as you do this. Now, repeat this procedure to attach the other two rails and perches, locking the lap joints together.
5. Attach the hopper to the platform using four #8×1 ½” brass flathead wood screws.
Build the Roof, Then Add The Mounting Base.
1. To make the roof seat and roof pedestal, first cut two pairs of pieces to 4 1/16″ square and 7″ square, respectively. Then, glue and clamp these pairs face to face, and allow the glue to dry.
2. Using the same technique you used to bevelcut the feed slide, bevelcut all four edges of the roof pedestal to 30°. To do this, use a carrier board cut to the same width as the stock piece.
3. To make the four roof panels, first rip and crosscut two pieces of stock to 8×30″. Tilt your tablesaw blade to 30° from square, and bevel-rip one edge of each piece. Next, move the rip fence to the opposite side of the blade. Flip each piece over, stand it on edge, and bevel-rip the same edge along the opposite face. (These cuts will create 60° and 30″ bevels on the roof-panel edges.)
4. Tilt your blade to 21° from square, and set your miter gauge at 41° from square, rotating it clockwise. (We verified our angles using an angle gauge). Now, miter-cut one end of each 8×30″ board where shown.
5. Move your miter gauge to the right-hand slot on your saw table. Reset it to 41° from square in the opposite direction, as shown in Step Two of the drawing. Now, mark off 12″ along the beveled edge of each board, starting at the mitered corner. Position the stock so that the blade will enter at this 12″ mark, then clamp on a stop block to hold the board in place. Now, miter-cut the other end of the first and second roof panels. Repeat steps 5 and 6 to miter-cut the third and fourth roof panels.
6. To glue up the roof, first make a simple gluing form as shown at right Next, resaw scrap stock to create a 1 1/4″-thick spacer roughly 4″ square. Nail the spacer in the approximate center of the form, and then place the roof pedestal on top of it. Dry-assemble the roof panels around the pedestal, butting two of them against the squared cleats. Now, check for fit.
7. Apply construction adhesive to two roof panels, and assemble them in the form. Next, apply adhesive to the beveled pedestal edges, and center the pedestal under the two panels so that they seat properly. Then, apply adhesive to the remaining panels, and assemble them. When all mating surfaces are properly joined, nail two more cleats to the form to enclose the roof. Now, apply weight to the roof, and allow the adhesive to core overnight.
8. To make the mounting base, rip and crosscut a piece of 3/4″-thick stock to 9″ square. Sand a slight round-over on all edges, and then finish-sand the base. Next, bandsaw four cubical spacer blocks. (Ours measured 11/16″ on all sides.).
9. Lay out, drill, and countersink shank holes on the bottom of the base. Next, drill centered shank holes through the spacer blocks. Insert screws through the base and blocks, then center the base on the bottom of the platform. Using the screws to mark center points, drill pilot holes 1/2″ deep in the platform. Now, glue and screw the base and blocks to the platform.
Add Some Last Touches, Then Open Your Cafe.
1. After the roof adhesive has cured, screw the pedestal to the roof panels where shown on the Roof Section View drawing. Next, center, glue, and screw the roof seat to the pedestal.
2. Finish-sand the roof and any other surfaces that still need it. Then, mount your feeder in a location that is protected as much as possible from predators and squirrels.