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.
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
Straight-sided glass jar
Wood (dimensions discussed later)
Exterior wood glue
Stain and exterior finish or paint
Step 1: Cutting List
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.