Recently, a friend brought me an enormous bird feeder and asked if I could repair it. We’re talking a feeder that would cost hundreds of dollars to buy – if you could even find one for sale. To say I was a bit nervous about ruining her Mother’s treasured piece was an understatement.
You can see how someone has lovingly tried to repair it in the past – but squirrels and/or raccoons have still managed to pull shingles off, break off perches and gnaw into the frame.
Once she promised that our friendship was not in jeopardy if I screwed this up, I agreed to try. I removed the old shingles to see what sort of damage was underneath and was pleasantly surprised to see that the builder had taken extra precautions for keeping moisture out.
As far as the roof of this bird feeder went, new shingles were all that was needed. My local home improvement store only sold “utility cedar shingles”, which were less than perfect, but all I was able to find. I used the original shingles as templates and cut the new cedar to size.
I wish I didn’t have to have split shingles, but again, this was all I was able to find. Much better though right? Feeling pretty confident that I can give this bird feeder a successful makeover after all!
I pressure washed the bottom of the bird feeder and found that the wood base has substantial rot. Without rebuilding from the bottom up, this bird feeder is on borrowed time. The best I could hope for was a facelift and a bit of protection to buy a couple more years of use out of this gorgeous piece.
I cut some 7/8″ dowels to perch length and then cut a cedar board to recreate something like the original perches. Gorilla glue and a finishing nail (as well as clamping until dry) will give these new perches some strength…. maybe not for a raccoon, but certainly for a squirrel or two.
I sanded the entire bird feeder down to remove the weathered wood (never re-stain over weathered wood, it will just slough off and you’ll have to do it again far too soon), removed over-drip from my Gorilla glue and then coated the entire bird feeder with Arbor Coat – my favourite outdoor stain (check out my playground makeover to see how well it works and lasts!)
While the Arbor Coat won’t fix any existing wood rot, it will protect against future moisture and hopefully help to prolong the life of this bird feeder. My friend chose an opaque brown so that the feeder itself would fade into the background to the colourful birds that will eat at it.
I cleaned up the glass partitions, re-attached the roof and the bird feeder makeover is complete!
Another challenge I can say I tried (and succeeded at!)
Thank goodness my friends have faith in me – even when I don’t. lol
We’ll give the bird feeder a week or so to fully cure in the sun to make sure that there is no residue from the stain that might contaminate the bird seed.
While I couldn’t fix everything, I’m pretty pleased with the improvements I was able to make.
If I were smart, I’d take measurements and make templates of this feeder so that I could make my own sometime – it really is spectacular.
It’s been fun to do a refinishing/makeover job for a change – it’s been awhile since I’ve done one.
Have a great one!