Introduction: Squirrel (or Bird) Picnic Table Feeder (under $5.00) SUPPLIES
We are all working from home, or at least staying closer to home more these days,
and with that we're becoming more aware of the wildlife near our windows. Squirrels and birds are fun to feed and watch. My Daughter-in Law requested this to hang on a tree outside her kitchen window. Since then my husband has made many for other family members. Some simply sit them on the deck or patio to attract the squirrels and birds. He made these using power tools but they could easily be made with a few simple hand tools as well. Make these as large or small as you want. Any wood (new or scrap) can also be used, and this can be painted, stained or simply sealed. It's all up to you. All measurements are in inches, and the price I list is buying new at a Big Box store in the US in July 2020
The overall finished size of this project is: Length 10.5" Width 11" Height 5.5"
The table itself (without the backboard) is: Length 10" Width 11" and Height 5"
PLEASE read all of the steps and notes BEFORE starting
- 1" X 2" X 8' Furring Strip ($1.18)
This will be cut for all parts of the picnic table, except the backboard
- 5.5" X 5/8" X 6' Common Cedar Fence Picket ($2.47) OR scraps of wood.This is the backboard.
The backboard is used for hanging the feeder on a tree or fence
- Wood Glue (this was Gorilla Glue, but other brands are better...he was just using what we had on hand)
- 1" 18 gauge pneumatic brads (but 1 " finish nails or wood screws could be used as well)
- 1 3.5" EXTERIOR Wood Screw (this is what you "screw" the ear of dried corn on)
- 2 3" EXTERIOR Wood Screws (this is used to attach to a tree or fence post
- Sandpaper (optional)
- Tape Measure
- Dried Ear Corn (this can be found at Big Box stores by the bird feeders)
- OPTIONAL Carpenter's Pencils for marking (also used for spacers)
Step 1: Squirrel (or Bird) Picnic Table Feeder TOOLS
Power Tools: (optional)
- Miter Saw or other power saw (circular saw, table saw)
- Power Drill with screw driver bits
- Pneumatic Nail Gun
- Sander (optional)
Manual Hand Tools:
- Hand Saw
Step 2: Squirrel (or Bird) Picnic Table Feeder CUTTING
Using either a power saw or a hand saw cut the furring strip into:
- four 5" pieces with a 22.5° miter (you can even "eyeball" or estimate the angle, and mark with a pencil, trying to keep the angles the same) These are the only angles you will be cutting.
- two 11" seat supports
- four 9" pieces for the seat tops
- three 10" pieces for the table top
- one 4.5" screw brace (to support the screw holding the ear of corn)
- one 11"piece cut from the cedar fence picket OPTIONAL Cut this ONLY if you will be hanging the feeder on a tree or fence
Step 3: Squirrel (or Bird) Picnic Table Feeder LEG ASSEMBLY
Assemble the table legs: you will be using the 4 angled pieces (that you have cut to) 5" and the two 11" pieces
- starting with 2 of the angled pieces at a time, place them together as shown in the picture. You can put them up against a straight edge, like another piece of wood to keep them straight.
- put 1 drop of wood glue approximately 1.5" from the bottom (the widest part) on each leg (picture #2)
- place one of the 11" pieces (seat brace) across the glue dots. Keep this piece spaced evenly across the 2 angled pieces
- put the first set of legs and seat brace aside and repeat for the other 2 legs and seat brace
to the next step without waiting for the glue to fully set and cure, you would use either the brads or short finish nails to hold everything in place. You could even use small wood screws. IF you will be using screws I would recommend pre-drilling holes BEFORE you start the assembly
Step 4: Squirrel (or Bird) Picnic Table Feeder SEAT ASSEMBLY
Assemble the Seats: You will be using the four 9" seat pieces and the 2 leg and brace pieces that you assembled in the previous step
- start by lining up two of the 9" seat pieces on your work station (these are just to help stabilize the leg pieces). We butted one short end of each piece up against the straight edge of a long level (but any straight edge will work) approximately 11" apart (picture #1...in the pictures the metal area is just part of the work station and is not part of this project)
- place one set of legsacross the 2 seat pieces closes to the straight edge
- line the second set of legs acrossthe other end of the seat pieces that are being used as stabilizers. (again picture #1
- apply a drop of Wood Glue on the TOP of each leg brace close to the angle of the leg (yet again see picture #1)
- using 1 of the 2 remaining leg pieces lay it across the leg brace pieces in the glue dots you applied lining them up evenly
- repeat steps for the seat on the other side. Make sure the end of the seat pieces that are closest to your straight edge line up with each other (picture #2)
- remove the 2 seat pieces (that were just to stabilize the legs) and starting on one side apply a drop of glue on each leg brace leaving a small space between seat pieces. Repeat the directions you followed to attach the inner seat piece. Be sure to keep the seat pieces even over the legs. NOTE: Use the carpenter's pencil turned on it's side as a nice spacer (picture #3)
- repeat for the second side (picture #4)
- Picture #5 is a side view
Step 5: Squirrel (or Bird) Picnic Table Feeder TABLE TOP ASSEMBLY
Assembly the Table Top: You will be using the three 10" table top pieces, one 4.5" screw brace and the 3.5" exterior screw
- line the 3 pieces up with each short end against your "straight edge" NOTE: IF there is a side of these pieces that you want to be the TOP, put that side DOWN on your work area. We will be working on the BACK SIDE for now
- space the pieces evenly (we used 2 carpenter's pencils turned on their edge) (picture #1)
- put a drop of glue on each piece a little CLOSER to the end that is against the straight edge...NOT directly in the middle (picture #2)
- place the screw brace across the glue dots. Hold in place with brads, short finish nails or short wood screws. Make sure you leave a space for your long screw (picture #3)
NOTE: I would recommend pre-drilling a hole through both the brace piece
AND the middle table top piece for the 3.5" exterior screw if possible (picture #4)
- screw to 3.5" exterior screw all the way through the brace and table top (from the underside) sorry no picture
- apply a ribbon of Wood Glue to the top of each leg assembly (picture #5)
- line the table top (with the 3.5" screw sticking UP) onto the leg pieces, lining up the edge or the table top with the edges of the seats on the side that had been against the straight edge. NOTE: these edges must be straight IF you want to add the backboard to hang it in a tree or on a fence. IF not it doesn't matter
- hold the top in place with brads, finish nails or screws
- picture #6 shows the finished table.
NOTE: IF you do NOT want to hang your picnic table on a tree or fence, but instead want to sit it on a table or the ground, you are DONE You don't need a backboard! This is the point where you will allow the glue to dry and fully cure. Then you can spray a clear sealer if you want or apply paint or stain. Put an ear of dry corn on the long screw and wait for the squirrels and birds to discover it.
Step 6: Squirrel (or Bird) Picnic Table Feeder BACKBOARD ASSEMBLY (OPTIONAL)
OPTIONAL You will ONLY need to add the backboard IF you will be hanging this table on a tree or fence.
Assemble the backboard: You will be using (what I hope is) your last piece of wood, and the two 3" exterior screws. For this project we mounted the backboard horizontally across the seats and the table top. You could alternately add it vertically to the area just behind the table. Picture #4 is a different one feeder with a vertical backboard for reference.
- apply a bead or dot of glue to the end of each seat and table panel (picture #1)
- line the backboard up evenly across the width of the picnic table, press into the glue
- using brads, finish nails or screws attach the backboard to the table.
- pre-drill a hole in the area above each seat area. This will hold the screw you will attach your feeder to a tree or fence
NOTE: This is the point where you will allow the glue to dry and fully
cure. Then you can spray a clear sealer if you want or apply paint or stain. Put an ear of dry corn on the long screw (picture #3) and wait for the squirrels and birds to discover it.
Participated in the