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Topic: Hogwarts Castle Birdfeeder  (Read 15463 times)
Tags for this thread: bird_feeder , hogwarts , harry_potter , featured_project , craftster_best_of_2014  Add new tag
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« on: May 19, 2014 09:11:33 PM »

I was asked by tapestrymlp to be her partner in the recent Invite Your Partner swap, and since she's a serious fan of all things Harry Potterish, I decided to make her a birdfeeder in the shape of Hogwarts.

I based it on photos of Hogwarts from the movies and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with a lot of reductions and simplifications. It looks like a cluster of separate buildings but actually is a single hollow box, made mostly of thin plywood. I added windows, doors and details by carving them into pieces of even thinner plywood and gluing them on the outside. Extra bits of thin wood are glued and tacked on for additional mouldings, door frames, etc. I tried to simplify it as much as I possibly could and without making it look too flat, but I wished I could have spent more time on details. (For instance it just kills me that the towers had to be straight all the way down, instead of flaring out at the base the way they ought to. But I'll live with it.) Cheesy

Some of the towers, like the two square ones on the end, are cut from pieces of solid pine, with details carved directly into the wood. I shaped the little pointed roofs on the turrets from pieces of wood and fixed them on with little pieces of dowel or screws. The large, round turret roofs were turned on a wood lathe.

The large Staircase Tower is a piece of heavy cardboard tube, as are most of the smaller towers and turrets. The roofs are all made of thin sheet aluminum, to make them durable for the outdoors. Because of the way the roofs fit together and into the surrounding towers, I had to first make paper patterns by trial-and-error until they mostly fit, then cut and re-cut a series of cardboard mock-ups til I got one that fit well enough to cut in metal. The aluminum, which is sold in hardware stores for roof patching and eavestroughs, is easy to cut and fold with scissors and a straightedge. I fastened the roof pieces together where necessary with pop-rivets and nailed the edges down with tiny brads.

The conical roof of the Staircase tower is removable, as is a section of the roof from the opposite end, to allow birdseed to be poured in. The seed comes out openings cut into the "rocks" under the castle and into the surrounding tray for the birds. The rocks are sawn scraps of pine board, roughly carved into rocky shapes and sealed with a layer of tissue paper and glue. They're glued and screwed to the to the tray and the castle is glued on top of them. I never like to rely just on glue for something like that, but as the edges of the walls are quite thin, there really wasn't anything else to attach them to. I used "No More Nails" adhesive, so I'm hoping it will hold.

While I had a lot of fun building this - too much fun, because it took me weeks past the send-out date Embarrassed - I had made several near-catastrophic errors in planning. First, I roughly sketched out the plan and started cutting out walls, but quickly realized it was going to be too big. So I scaled it down by about 25% and started again. (The final size is about 14" x 22" by 18" high, or 32 cm x 55 cm x 45 cm.) Then I assembled the main body of the castle and the high Astronomy Tower cluster simultaneously (so that I could work on one part while glue was drying on the other) and when I put them together I realized I'd barely allowed enough room for the tower! Then I built a lovely seed tray with little turned wood spindles along the edge (left over from another project), only to realize I'd mis-measured and it wasn't actually long enough to contain the castle. Angry There was no way to alter the dimensions of either, so the tray had to be rebuilt (simpler, this time.) Finally, when it was all finished, and I'd found a box the right size to ship it in, I went to slide it into the box and discovered that I'd measured the height of the tallest tower before I glued the rocky base on the castle, and now it didn't fit into the box. So at the last minute I had to literally saw the top inch off the turret and make it removable! If I had thought it through from the beginning, it would have been much more sensible to make the whole central tower removable for shipping, but I was having too much fun and wasn't paying attention.

I'm not convinced it's the most practical birdfeeder ever made, but I don't think that matters too much. This was the first model building like this I've made, and now I want to make more! I can easily imagine Hogwarts as a multi-occupant birdhouse, for example. That's maybe a bit ambitious, but smaller individual birdhouses with little towers and turrets would be fun too.


Im not crazy about reality, but its still the only place to get a decent meal-Groucho Marks
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2014 09:20:51 PM »

It only make sense to me that Wulf is who really made Hogwarts.  Originally, I was in the, "NO!!! That simply can NOT be used as a bird feeder!!"...but then he said the birds had a right to pretend to be wizards and witches, and now I'm in the, "It's a perfect bird feeder!" department Grin Amazing as normal Wulf Grin

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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2014 10:03:39 PM »

holy friggin moley! that knocks the socks off every other 'make your own bird feeder' ive ever seen! Shocked

you might be bemoaning the lack of detail but the rest of us are drooling over this, i cant even chose a favourite bit.
wow. just wow.

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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014 11:24:26 PM »

What a brilliant piece.  A great idea to make a Hogwarts for birds - "Hawkwarts" perhaps - although the intention is obviously to feed seed eaters only.  I would love to have such a bird feeder in my garden.  It will look stunning when it is surrounded and covered with the birds all coming for the grain.
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014 11:50:54 PM »


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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014 02:37:22 AM »

mindblown & speechless!! Can't "rock" this hard enough  Grin Grin Grin

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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014 05:35:06 AM »

Stupendous concept and execution!  I especially like the seed delivery system. 

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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014 05:38:16 AM »

What a fun and completely insane project. But once you have a vision, it is hard to stop. The birds are so lucky to have such a fabulous restaurant to eat at!

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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014 06:02:40 AM »

Simply incredible.

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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014 06:39:08 AM »

Thanks for sharing your process...it is fascinating..even the bits where you think you "goofed"....it turned out really exceptional...the seed delivery is well thought out as well so that seed is dispersed all around...

A project worth waiting for...

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