Dove table from pallet wood, ply pallet tops and recuperated tongue & groove

Our neighbour has a pair of collared doves nesting in her garden and their size prevents them from feeding at the existing bird table so she asked me if I could make a larger one to accommodate them. As she has an elegant mix of formal and wild gardens, with some very interesting and eclectic pieces of garden furniture and sculptures, I wanted my design to mirror both garden styles.

How to make a dove table from pallets

Temple d'amour Temple of love Malmaison
Rising to the challenge of rusticity and formality combined I, of course, chose untreated, recuperated wood and sketched a Classical design which had a shallow-pitched roof  supported by corner posts. These posts were never used as I felt a much sturdier and attractive roof support was to construct ‘walls’ attached to opposite sides of the table. The appearance of the table was significantly improved by making a Norman-arch shaped cut-out  in each of the four wall panels, a suitable motif for people and doves living in Normandy. According to Sue, this makes it a dead-ringer for the Temple D'Amour in the grounds of Malmaison, see what you think.


The Table Base

Dove feeding table made from pallet wood
Having selected suitable pallet planks,  four equal length pieces were cut. As. I had decided to make the base of the table by gluing together the cut planks along their longest edges I planed them to obtain smooth, flat surfaces. In addition I glued and screwed a rectangular rail along the top face of the now formed feeding table at both ends of the planks. Not only to act as an additional means of holding the planks together, this rail also was intended to form a lip to stop food being knocked off at feeding time.

The Walls

Copying roof pitch using an adjustable bevel
Once the table base was made I spent some time trying different roof pitches for the wall height I had chosen and settled on the one that ‘looked right’. Each wall panel was to be screwed to the edge of the table at the table corner and a second screw nearer the middle of the edge of the table.

wall supports for dove table made from pallets

To ensure that each panel would not lean out from the vertical position a length of pallet wood cut to about 30mm width was screwed along the shorter vertical wall edge,  When the walls were fixed in place this piece was screwed to the rail that was acting as the lip on the table edge.

designing an arch in pallet wood

I cut the one end of the planks to the desired roof pitch angle with the table saw and then marked and cut them to length. Each piece was marked for the cut-out of the arch.

tips on cutting shapes in pallet wood

When cutting the arch in the wall, I used a wooden straight edge to act as a guide for the jigsaw and then removed this when cutting the curved portion.

how to make arched doorways for a bird table in pallet wood

Each wall panel was made from two cut planks held together at the wall ‘top’ (the sloping edge) with a ‘rafter’ glued and screwed in place.

using pallet wood to make a dove table

As previously mentioned, I then screwed to the shorter vertical leg of the wall a piece of 30mm (1¼”) wood cut to the same length so as to form a corner.

recuperated wood bird table how to

The walls were then screwed to the table, a try square being used to ensure each panel was at 90° to the table top.

Greco Roman bird table from pallets

When the four wall panels were screwed in place, the roof could be made.



The Roof

recuperating pallets
A few days before I started this project I recuperated  a pallet with a plywood top (5ply) and I decided to use this material as the base for the roof as it would cross-brace and hence stiffen the structure. Knowing that it would be difficult to weatherproof this plywood I chose to cover it with roofing grade underfelt which in turn would be covered with tongue and groove pine coated with linseed oil.

How to make a dove table from recuperated wood

work in progress - make a dove table from pallets
For keeping the table’s contents and it’s customers dry (above Bungle the Polish bantam checks for headroom) I had decided to give the roof a large overhang of about 50mm (2”). The two pieces for the pitched roof were cut and screwed to the ‘rafters’ attached to the walls, ensuring that the edges at the apex were butted together.

waterproofing - How to make a dove table from pallets
(Image above) I made two gable-end plates on the inside face to join the walls together.

A layer of  roofing paper was stapled to the upper face of the plywood.

Make a dove table from pallets

For aesthetic reasons I then cut and stapled cut lengths of recuperated pine tongue-and-groove panelling onto the roof which was then coated with linseed oil.

How to make a dove table from pallets

Once this was dry I stapled a band of roofing paper along the apex to seal the joint.

...and now if you'd like to, sit back and watch the film...

All the best and thanks for dropping by. Please feel free to share this article, comment and/or ask for further information.

Until next time!

Cheers, Andy
© Andy Colley 2016

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