Hand-Cranked Hens Laying Eggs

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Project by DaleMaley posted 01-30-2016 09:25 PM 1819 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I saw this neat cam driven hand-cranked automaton on a Youtube video by Al Conquergood.

This thing was so cool, I had to make one for myself.

My biggest challenge was how to make the 4 hens. Al hand-carved his chickens. I am not a hand-carver.

For my chickens, I borrowed a technique from the scroll sawing wold called compound scroll sawing. You mark the pattern on 1 side of the wood block, then mark the other pattern on the other side of the block. You saw one side first, then tape the waste back onto the block. You then saw the 2nd side. When you unwrap the block, presto, you have an object cut in 2 different dimensions. I little touch up sanding on my drill press drum sander, and my chickens were ready to paint.

I wanted a more rustic farm look to my chicken coop, so I used blue milk paint. I did not add any polyurethane on top of the milk paint, because I wanted the faded milk paint look.

There is a total of 6 cams on this chicken coop.

The 6 little eggs were a challenge to make. I made them on the lathe from 1/2” dowel. I sanded a flat for them to rest on, I also drilled a small hole in the flat for a toothpick to hold them while I painted them.

All pieces are common pine, except the 4 doors are maple.

I made a Youtube video of my hen house in action.

If you are interested in my trials & tribulations of building my hen house (and there were several)..........see my woodworking web site.


-- Dale, Illinois,

11 comments so far

View bigbuddha's profile


200 posts in 3675 days

#1 posted 01-30-2016 11:11 PM

super cute!! great job!

-- helen

View DaleMaley's profile


493 posts in 2691 days

#2 posted 01-30-2016 11:34 PM


I have never built doll houses, but I think I got a taste of what that is like…...working with small pieces in tight spaces. I had to use needle-nose plyers just to assemble some of the parts…..because my fingers would not fit in the available space!

-- Dale, Illinois,

View MrHollick's profile


35 posts in 1322 days

#3 posted 01-31-2016 03:03 AM

that is super fun!

-- Sean Hollick ~

View oldnovice's profile


7496 posts in 3823 days

#4 posted 01-31-2016 03:31 AM

That is a very nice novelty project!

Was the cackling part of the project or a sound track added for the video?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Tony Slattery's profile

Tony Slattery

87 posts in 1550 days

#5 posted 01-31-2016 04:18 AM

Thanks for sharing. Looks like a fun project to make.

-- Tony, Australia,

View Coaster36's profile


5 posts in 1302 days

#6 posted 01-31-2016 04:29 AM

haha neat!

View Ivan's profile


14803 posts in 3322 days

#7 posted 01-31-2016 10:20 AM

Fun projects, nicely done. Tumb up for colours and creativity.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3321 days

#8 posted 01-31-2016 03:34 PM

This is a great project and very creative.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View hoss12992's profile


4149 posts in 2348 days

#9 posted 01-31-2016 04:25 PM

That is really cool. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View DaleMaley's profile


493 posts in 2691 days

#10 posted 01-31-2016 06:52 PM

The gentleman that came up with the original design, Al Conquergood, is a very creative guy.

My contribution would be modifying a standard scroll technique, compound scroll sawing, to easily make the hens :)


-- Dale, Illinois,

View CFrye's profile


10726 posts in 2295 days

#11 posted 02-02-2016 12:40 PM

What a fun project! I like the way you did the chickens, Dale. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

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