Glass Bottle Bird Feeder

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Project by Peter Brown posted 03-05-2014 03:46 PM 3213 views 14 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Glass Bottle Bird Feeder
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It’s not an overly complex project and I do think that it really adds to the look of the yard. You will need some rot resistant wood (Cypress in this case) and a glass bottle. You should pick out the bottle ahead of time, as it will dictate the dimensions of the feeder. Ours was $1 at the local Goodwill. The cypress was a cut off from my kids outdoor playset.

<h2>Dimensioning the Wood</h2>
I cut the wood to 16” in length and then ripped it to 3 ½” wide on the table saw.

<h2>Adding Some Interest</h2>
I then decided it needed a little extra pizazz. So it was off to the bandsaw. I cut a curve down the length of the piece. The trick to cutting a smooth curve at the bandsaw is a steady feed rate.

Next add a strip of contrasting wood. I picked maple as I had a lot if it in the shop. I ripped it to ⅛” at the table saw.

<h2>Gluing up the Lamination</h2>
There are few things as stressful in a project as a glue up and while this is a pretty minor one, it does have it’s challenges. You want to plenty of glue on all the surfaces.

Get your clamps ready ahead of time and tighten from one side to the other. Breaks can happen. I had to rip a second piece of maple for this project as the first one split on me. Second time worked without issue.

<h2>Shaping to the Bottle Holders</h2>

While you wait for the glue to dry (at least 4 hours) you can be working on the seed and bottle holders. These are just a couple of square blocks with holes in them. Their dimension should match the width of the bird feeder. 3 ⅝” square in my case.

I used a 2 ⅝ forstner bit to recreate the bowl for the bird seed.

I then switched to a 2” hole saw for the bottle holder. After looking at it, I decided to soften the corners at the sander. I ended up completely sanding them away. In retrospect this would have easier job at the band saw.

<h2>Flattening the Board</h2>

Once the glue has dried on your holder you can take it out of the clamps. It will be a bit gnarly at this point and will have to be flattened before joining the holders to it. You can do this in a number of ways.

You can use a hand plane here but…. I’d rather just fire up the machines and send it through a couple times. Plus I like the deafening sounds of post industrial era progress as smooth boards are spit of my power planer at a lightening pace.

<h2>Putting It all Together</h2>

I used ⅜ dowels and wood glue to assemble the piece. I simply drilled two ⅜ holes through the back of the feeder into the seed tray then glued in some dowels. Clamp it it up and wait a couple of hours. Screws would also work, but don’t forget to pre-drill to avoid splits.

Repeat the doweling process for the bottle holder. The trick on placement is to make sure that the opening of the bottle hovers just inside your seed tray. Otherwise you’ll spill your seed everywhere. And then your wife will not be able to pin this project up on her wall. And who is going to get the blame for that? Take the time and get it right.

<h2>Sanding Time</h2>

Once the glue is dry trim up the dowels with a flush trim saw.

Now it comes to my favorite part. Just kidding its the tedious sanding section. I like to listen to my music while sanding. It passes the time and helps me not to rush. The better you sand a project the better it will look once finished. 100 150 220. You will need to spend some time hand sanding the tight places.

<h2>Oil Based Finish</h2>

I used a urethane outdoor oil finish. There is nothing like an oil finish to bring life to a wood project. Put on a couple of coats and wait for them to dry.

I drilled a ⅜” hole in the top center and hung the feeder outside the shop. We’ll see how many birds actually come to use it, but it is quite striking. And the main point is that the wife is happy. That makes my day in the shop, time well spent!

<h2>My Seeds Bring All the Birds to My Yard</h2>

Here’s a video as well :

-- Peter Brown - Collector of WD-40 and wood splinters

7 comments so far

View doubleDD's profile


10932 posts in 3384 days

#1 posted 03-05-2014 03:54 PM

This is a cool project. Using a bottle to hold the seed. Very simple yet effective. Nice job.

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

View marter1229's profile


437 posts in 4852 days

#2 posted 03-05-2014 04:15 PM

A really clever project.

I like it.

-- It's all fun, Terry******N. Idaho

View Northwest29's profile


1716 posts in 3831 days

#3 posted 03-05-2014 04:30 PM

Very interesting little project – Hope the kids don’t miss the playset too much. (-;

-- Ron, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4936 days

#4 posted 03-05-2014 07:01 PM

Very cool I love the design

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 3783 days

#5 posted 03-06-2014 01:41 PM

Really cool idea and nice job documenting the build. I’m off to Goodwill this weekend!

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 3723 days

#6 posted 03-07-2014 04:28 AM

A nice piece. Well done.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View Peter Brown's profile

Peter Brown

196 posts in 3019 days

#7 posted 03-07-2014 05:38 PM

Thanks guys!

I’ve yet to see a bird at it, but the wife sure is happy!

-- Peter Brown - Collector of WD-40 and wood splinters

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