Turned Bird Baths, Feeders, Houses

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Project by restored posted 01-25-2014 09:24 PM 1603 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While browsing the projects of the month, I was impressed with the turned cedar bird house, and very impressed with the affiliate gardeners feeder. I have made a feeder and or bath that I would like to share with all of you. I have also done a few turned houses that have been made with removable bottoms so they can be cleaned every fall for the new non migrating family, for the winter.
My feeder is just in the beginning of design but I think I’m on the right track with many ways to enhance and improve off a couple basic concepts. Off course you can use any material you would like, and being exposed to the elements will need to finish accordingly. Keeping in mind both the wood and the bird.
This feeder started to be a spalted maple bowl which wasn’t stable enough, but pretty enough I didn’t want to burn it, so it became a partial roof. To it I added a red cedar finial which is attached with a 3/4” birch dowel and turned in a dado style which locks into a approximate 2” hole, with a 2 3/8” diameter sitting on top of the spalted maple. I realize already I will increase the size of the roof, to be a little more decorative and functional.
In the piece of spalted maple I inserted a 5/16” threaded rod connector. The center post made of orange wood, I realize that isn’t the real name, I drilled a 1/2” hole through the entire post. The bowl, I had a chunk of 2” maple kicking around, that was a foot long, but only 7” wide. I joined the edges and added some 2” scrap pieces of mahogany and butternut. After laminating with an exterior glue, I cut on my band saw, to about 11 1/2” , as my powermatic #90 has a 12” swing. I turned the bowl which holds almost 4 cups of water, which translates to a fair amount of seed. I drilled a half inch hole in the center of the bowl. I only sanded everything down to a 220 grit, and a 5 minute pass with 320. It is for the birds. The bath is finished only with numerous coats of food safe wax and polish. The bottom final which is the key to holding everything together. It is also the key to utilizing all your scrap pieces for this project. In the bottom finial, which is only a piece of spalted oak from the wood pile, I also inserted a 5/16” threaded ro connector. These connectors are the same as the one you use for the large pizza cutters and other handled turnings. I drilled 4 9/16” holes into the finial after quickly turning. I then glued in 4 blue reflector marbles I had kicking around. I used gel CA glue. All you have left is assembly. This takes less than 2 minutes assuming you have already cut your 5/16” rod to it’s proper length. Hint, drill your holes in both the top & bottom finial and extra 1/2” onger than the connector. Run the rod through the bowl, center post and into the top finial (roof). Then screw on the bottom finial hand tighten so it’s nice and snug and your ready to hang up. I drilled a small hole in the cedar top, a little smaller than 1/8”. I drilled from both sides, pointing my drill bit down and meeting in the middle. With a small piece of stiff wire I cleaned the hole, then ran thru a piec of nylon builders string. I have dropped the top a few times and it is still plenty strong for water and fowl.
This feeder gives you many options and use of your imagination. You can drill the finial and insert another connector if you would like to mount to a post. You can be very creative and do the same with a decent size tree branch. This allows you to be very creative with the top, if your talents are also in metal working all the better, You can turn many different style and length center post. The same pertains to your bottom finial. I have a 2 1/2” insert on the bottom of the bowl of which I used to chuck onto my lathe. Off course you would this to be covered with the finial. If you dado it in with the lathe, be careful how far you go so it doesn’t stop you from tightening together. Birds love and need water, the bottom does swell enough that it holds water nicely. Let your imagination run wild. Don’t throw away your small pieces as you can laminate those together for many of you parts. Hope you enjoy, and please pass along your ideas. I have only been turning for about a year, all self taught, so any and all advice iwould be great. My bird houses are about 4 3/4” OSD, so far I have turned a few common bases that they will fit into. The final are purple heat and irds eye maple. The IND, is about 4 1/8” . I have hollowed well up into the roof. One of the holes to enter was a natural branch that separated while turning, the other I drill a 1 1/2” hole. The house fastens with 2 (predrilled) screws, with dadoes to allow water out. The bases have been turned so they sit higher than bottom of the house, so water inside should not be an issue. Thank you all for reading. Ths is my first post and hope it goes through, along with helpful feedback to improve as well. Sincerely; Restored

-- KRT

3 comments so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3889 days

#1 posted 01-25-2014 10:25 PM

Those are just incredible.

View doubleDD's profile


9638 posts in 2890 days

#2 posted 01-26-2014 12:26 AM

I agree, amazing work. They are too nice to be used outside.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View restored's profile


55 posts in 2940 days

#3 posted 01-26-2014 04:21 PM

I have a couple very old cattle bars. I’m not sure of the real name. But I plan on making maybe a smaller version of the feeder, and attaching to both ends. These bars have the iron ring in the middle, I’m going to take a 6 to 8” basic steel pre-drilled corner, make a 90 degree corner block, which will fasten to the cattle bar, and then the corner bracket to it. These 2 feeders or birdhouses can then mount to the corner of a building. For some this could be done so it is right outside a window for easy and FUN viewing. Thanks for your comments they are flattening. I’m a little apprehensive however on putting them on the open market. I know I’m fairly new to turning, so putting a price tag on them compared to someone who really knows how to turn, and could make a few of these a day, makes me nervous. I hate production work, but I believe being able to make a number of different parts, different, helps in that aspect. I’m thinking in the right store they may sell for 125.00. which means I will be paid half that. I had better get turning and practicing like all the famous turners recommend, and practicing on bird houses and feeders to improve my skills makes sense. What I really want to learn is how to make threads. If the bird house fit onto a threaded base, or the top was made to screw on the bird house the cleaning would be easier with no screws showing. I have thought about cutting off a mayo jar and mounting inside the house, and attaching the cover to the top inside roof section. The plastic covers don’t seem to thread on to the cut off section though. Anyone have any ideas or can point me in the right direction on making threads in wood. Thanks; Restored.

-- KRT

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