Hanging Bird Feeder With Wood and Recycled Jar




Introduction: Hanging Bird Feeder With Wood and Recycled Jar

As a kid, I used to enjoy using a bottle cutter to make vases, votives and pencil jars from old bottles and jars. So when I found a bottle cutter at a flea market a few years ago, I had to have it. But after awhile, there are only so many things you can make from pieces of bottles. Then it occurred to me, I could also incorporate my woodworking, and build hanging bird feeders made from recycled jars.

The feeder in this instructable was made from an applesauce jar, but you can use any type of jar you wish, provided it has straight sides. The cutting measurements will be based on the jar you use. Also, this instructable doesn’t provide instructions for using a bottle cutter, but there are a number of instructables out there that do.

Tools required:

Bottle cutter
Saw (hand or table)
Scroll, coping, jig or band saw
Half round file (for tight corners)
Clamps or dead weight
Optional: router table with round-over bit

Materials required:

Straight-sided glass jar
Wood (dimensions discussed later)
Exterior wood glue
Stain and exterior finish or paint
Nylon cord

Step 1: Cutting List

(Rough Measurements)

Lid: 2 pcs., square, jar outside diameter (O.D.) + 2-1/4”, 1/2” thick
Tray: 2 pcs., square, jar O.D. + 4-1/4”, 1/2” thick
Holding ring: 1 pc., square, jar thread O.D. + 1-1/4”, 1/2” thick (be sure to measure the outside of the threads, not the lip of the jar)

Step 2: Cutting the Bottle

With the bottle cutter, cut the bottom off of the jar just above where the side begins to curve, then sand the edge smooth, removing all sharp edges.

Step 3: Cut and Mark Wood Blanks

Cut all the wood blanks according to the cutting list, and mark the center of each.

Mark the inner and outer circles on 1 each of the lid and tray blanks as follows:
 Lid outside diameter (O.D.) = jar O.D. + 2”
 Lid inside diameter (I.D.) = jar O.D. + 1/16”
Tray O.D. = jar O.D. + 4”
Tray I.D. = tray O.D. - 1/2”

Lay out the spoke pattern on the tray blank with the circles, using 1/2” spokes.

Step 4: Drill Starter Holes

Drill starter holes inside the inner circles and between spokes.

Step 5: Cut Out Centers

Cut out the inner circle and between the spokes, keeping just shy of the pencil line, to allow for sanding later. Keep the outsides square for now.

Step 6: Sand Inside Edges and Faces

Sand the inside edges and inside faces of all lid and tray blanks, keeping the pencil lines on the outside. Check the fit of the jar in the lid. If too tight, sand some more. DO NOT FORCE THE JAR; IT WILL CRACK. (I know from experience.)

Step 7: Glue and Clamp

Glue and clamp the lid and tray halves together, with the wood grain at cross angles to help minimize warping from exposure to the elements. Keep the edges of the respective lid and tray blanks aligned with each other.

Step 8: Cut Holding Ring

While the glue sets, cut out the holding ring, then sand edges and both faces:
 I.D. = jar threads O.D. + 1/16”
 O.D. = ring I.D. + 1”

Step 9: Cut Outside of Lid and Tray

After removing the lid and tray from clamps, clean up any glue squeeze out, then cut the outer circumferences.

Step 10: Rout Edges

OPTIONAL: Round over the bottom edges of the lid and tray on the router table. This allows the pieces to not appear so clunky.

Step 11: Drill Holes

Drill holes for the nylon cord, one in the center of the lid, two in the tray on opposite sides where the spokes intersect. Sand all faces and edges.

Step 12: Mark Holding Ring Locations

Center the holding ring on the tray and mark its location on each spoke, inside and out. Then mark two nail locations on the ring over opposite spokes.

Step 13: Drill, Glue and Nail the Ring

Holding the ring in position, predrill at the marks through the ring and into the tray, being careful not to go clear through.
 Place a small drop of glue inside the pencil marks on each spoke, and nail the ring to the tray through the predrilled holes. Use a nail set to drive the nails home.

UPDATE:You may want to drill one or two holes for drainage in each compartment of the tray. This will keep the tray from filling with rain water.

 Paint or varnish the lid and tray as desired.

Step 14: Thread the Cord

After the finish is dry, thread the cord through the two holes in the tray, and knot it above the tray. Run the cord through the threaded end of the jar, and thread it through the lid. Tie a loop in the end of the cord to hang it.

Step 15: Filling the Feeder

To fill the feeder, place it on a solid surface such as a table or the ground. Lift the lid and allow it to hang to the side. Fill with seed, replace the lid, and hang the feeder.

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    10 Discussions

    the poodleo
    the poodleo

    9 years ago on Introduction

    you know, to mka ehtis easier, you probably could do it without the jar, just cut a 1l pop bottle in half


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    That's true, but for me, the fun is in the making.

    the poodleo
    the poodleo

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    plus you can make the wood squares, or octogons, so it doesn't take you so long with the rounding.


    9 years ago on Step 15

    Very nicely documented. And a beautiful bird feeder as well.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 15

    Thank you very much, and thanks for looking.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    True, but usually not where we can watch them.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very much, and thanks for looking.