Several years ago, I developed a set of suet bird feeder plans that were based on some free bird feeder plans I had found on the internet. My son and I built a bird feeder for my wife, my mom, and my mother-in-law for Mother's Day. The problem is that we built them out of inexpensive whitewood. They worked great and looked great, but only lasted a couple of years outside in the wet, winter weather.
My son had been bugging me for several months to build new ones, but another problem cropped up. I had lost my original bird feeder plans! So, it was back to the drawing board for a new bird feeder design. We like using suet because it seems to make less of a mess than loose bird seed and doesn't attract rodents.
For the originals we made our own suet, so the feeders weren't very large. This time around, I picked up a brick of commercial suet at the store. It was much bigger than the suet we made. So, the bird feeder needed to be big enough to fit a store-bought block of suet.
This time, I also wanted them to last longer than only a couple of years. I probably could have done better on the price if I'd taken the time to shop, but I picked up a decent piece of 1x6x8' Cedar trim for about ten dollars. The Cedar board was planed smooth on one side only, so we sanded it with 60-grit sandpaper before cutting out the parts.
In the bird feeder plans, I have included a layout for cutting the board. If you follow the layout, you should be able to get two suet feeders out of one 8' board.
My brother had borrowed my chop saw and I couldn't find a big enough miter box to cut it by hand. So, I made all my cross-cuts using the miter attachment on my table saw. Since a 1x6 is actually 5 1/2" wide, the back can just be cut to length.
Next, I cut the top to length and then ripped it to the correct width on the table saw. I then ripped the remaining length of wood to 1 1/2" for the bottom and two front pieces.
They were each cut to length and then I moved on to the more difficult end pieces. At this point there should be one piece of wood left that needs to be ripped to 2 1/4" for the ends.
I always have difficulty cutting an angle on the end of a board, while simultaneously cutting the board to a specific length. In this case, I cut the angle such that both end pieces were left a little bit longer than necessary.
Then, I measured from the tip of the angled cut and marked the desired length of the part. I cut to this line and the length came out perfect.
There is a 3/8" hole drilled in the back to hang the feeder on a post or fence. However, we decided to hang our bird feeder from a tree branch. So, we didn't really need the hole.
Either way, lightly sand all the parts with 100 or 120-grit sandpaper before assembly. We used glue and screws for assembly, but glue and nails will work just as well. If the board is really dry, be sure to drill pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting.
The order of assembly isn't particularly important, but we found the following helped simplify aligning the parts properly.
First, we attached the back to the bottom with glue and two screws. Next, the ends were attached to the back with glue and two screws each, and to the bottom with only glue.
The lower front piece was attached to the ends with glue and one screw per end. Next, the the upper front piece was attached the same way. This was the only piece we had to measure for during assembly.
Finally, the top was attached to the ends with a couple of screws into each end piece. That's it. Pretty straightforward.
To make some birds in your neighborhood happy, click here to view the plans. If you'd like to download a copy to your computer, right click then "save-as". Either way, you'll need the Adobe reader to view the file.