Friday, February 10, 2012

Simple Salvage: Chicken Feeder Cookbook Rack

Cookbooks are for the birds...well, the chickens at least!  
And that's apparent in this simple salvaged project:  a cookbook rack made completely out of an old chicken feeder!  

This is about as simple of a repurposing project as you can get.  The only materials needed are the chicken feeder, polyurethane, and the cookbooks to fill it (possibly some screws, depending on where you place it and if you have little ones running around).

The beauty is in the dividers.  Maybe it was an act of fate or some freakish repurposing foresight on behalf of the manufacturer, but most old chicken feeders have a wire divider that magically fits cookbooks just perfectly!

It's like a primitive filing cabinet!

Put in a call to all of your farmer friends, or hit up some antique shops and you will be sure to find one!  We found this one in a father-in-law's barn collecting dust and getting ready to head to the scrap yard.  

As you can imagine, it was filthy.  Chicken doo and all.  So the most important step was to clean the old girl.  We just mixed up a bucket of Dawn liquid and water and took the scrubbie to her.  Once it was dry, we decided to apply a coat (or two) of satin finish polyurethane.  As with most old feeders that you will find, this one had quite a few areas where rust had developed over time.  The polyurethane will not only protect the cookbooks from the rust, but it will also stall the development of any additional rust!

Now for installation.  We propped ours up on top of an old bench that was about the same width as the feeder itself.  Since wiggle room is scant (not to mention the wee ones running about) we felt it was a good idea to bolt it down to the bench.  

We used simple L-brackets to bolt it down, but the key to blending them in is a little soak in a magic potion we call Muriatic Acid.  Be careful when you this powerful stuff; get out the goggles, the mask, etc. because it can be dangerous.  But this corrosive mineral acid will instantly make your new metal look old and you will find that it can be an invaluable tool for all of you that love this old stuff.

And it's that simple.  
Kind of ironic, we are now getting our meal inspirations from an old metal bin that used to feed the chickens.