One of the things we were sad to leave behind in California was our handmade feed bin.
It was pretty sweet and had a lot of fun features like the shelf for supplements and the white boards that we kept track of our horses’ feed and supplements on. However, it was so big – and painted to match that barn – that it didn’t make sense to move it with us.
I’ve actually had multiple requests over the year for a DIY post on that feed bin. That lone picture is also my most frequently stolen picture on Pinterest. People really like to post that picture and link it to their own sites. I’ve managed to get most of the pins deleted over the years, but a quick search of Pinterest just now show it’s still being stolen.
Anyway, I’ve wanted to write up a post on it, but we made that feed bin back before I had a blog and I had no pictures of the process. When we set to making a replacement bin for our new barn, I took a ton of pictures so I could write up a post about it. However, I want to preface this entire post with a disclaimer: WE ARE NOT WOODWORKERS. We are DIYers. We don’t even own the tools we’d need to make a feed bin correctly. If you can do joinery, if you own a router, if you know how to do woodworking, go ahead and skip this post. This DIY post is for people who want to make a feed bin with the minimum amount of tools and ability. Got it? Okay, let’s go.**
While you don’t need a whole wood shop to make this feed bin, you are going to need some tools. We made the first feed bin with just a circular saw and a cordless screwdriver. It was a pretty redneck project; we used picnic table benches in place of sawhorses. This time around, we upped our game by using some additional tools, but you can get by with less if you need to. I actually think you might be able to do this project if you really luck out and get a very bored home depot employee to cut all your wood for you (they’re only supposed to make one cut for free, but I’ve gotten more done when it’s slow there and a nice guy feels like helping me out). Honestly though, circular saws aren’t too expensive and your chances of getting all the cuts done correctly at Home Depot is low.
Tools I recommend: Circular saw Impact driver/electric screwdriver with drill bits and screws Clamps Hammer Saw horses Supplies: 1/2″, 1″ ,and 3″ wood screws finishing nails wood glue stain (optional, may substitute paint) hinges handles latches (optional)
While I am providing all of our measurements, you’ll want to modify the measurements for your own. Our feed bin was built to measurements we took of our feed room. You’ll want to modify all of the measurements for your own bin. One measurement I really recommend adjusting is the height of the feed bin. We actually messed the height up a little on the first bin and it was always hard to reach little bits of grain at the very back and bottom of the bin when trying to scrape it clean. For the second bin, we lowered the height of the front a little bit, and it’s much easier to scoop grain out. I’m pretty tall so I would guess that a shorter person might like an even shorter feed bin.
Make sure you reverse your second piece of plywood when you lay out and construct your second side. If you make 2 identical side pieces, the 2x4s will not face out on the second side piece. You want mirrored side pieces, not identical side pieces.
The back is essentially the same as the front, just with a different height.
At this point you have most of your grain bin built. It should look like this:
This next step is where we’re really going to deviate away from proper woodworking techniques. There are certainly better ways to do this, but we’re not going for proper joinery; we’re going for what’s possible to do with the tools we have.
Adding the Dividers:
I’m going to start with a picture of the end result to make it easier to follow the next series of steps to add the dividers.
Measure the depth and height of the inside of your feed bin and cut 2 pieces of plywood to fit this. Our measurements were 24″ wide by 26.25″ high. Always measure the actual bin and don’t go straight off my measurements – especially if you have adjusted the height of your bin for ease of scooping. Cut 3 pieces if you want 4 sections. Our first feed bin had four sections, but we mostly used that forth for random storage like pre-bagged feed for when we were away. For this new bin, we decided to go with just 3 sections. You’ll want to decide how big you want your sections to be at this point. Our 3 sections are not equal on purpose. We go through a lot more beet pulp than anything else so we made the one section bigger than the other 2. Measure from the edge of the inside of the feed bin to where you want your first divided. Cut a piece of 1×2 board to this length. Add a strip of glue to this piece of board and place it perpendicular to your divider plywood so that the top of this piece is the same height as your plywood piece. Screw from the back into this piece with your 1″ screws. Repeat for the next 2 sections. Now you’ll need to cut and install the 2 side pieces using the same method as above. These pieces should be 8.25″ long. Now it’s time to install the divider braces. Start by pre-drilling a hole next to the divider plywood where the brace is going to go. Measure and cut a piece of 1/2 square board to fit between the back brace and the bottom. Glue that board, put it in place, and drill from the back through your pre-drilled hole into the board. Repeat this process for the other divider. The front dividers should be the full height of the interior – in our case 26.25″ (remember you may have adjusted the hight of your bin for ease of scooping). Keep your divider in place and measure from the sides to make sure it’s even with the back and not slanted. Then line your divider braces with glue and place it next to the divider. Because we didn’t want to see screws on the front of our feed bin, we installed these with finishing nails from the inside and only at the top and bottom where they would go into the exterior 2x4s and thus not be visible. If you don’t care about seeing screws, repeat the the process from steps 8 and 9.
Now your dividers are installed and your bin should look like this:
This step is actually super easy.
Cut your 1×10″ board to the width of the interior of your feed bin. Place glue along the shelf braces. Place the shelf on the braces. Using finished nails to fully attach the shelf to the braces.
If you do as I say in these directions and don’t do as my husband did, your side braces won’t stick out past the shelf like our (he measured and cut them to fit under the shelf if pressed all the way against the back instead of to the back shelf brace). It’s functional though.
This is another step where you’re going to want to measure your feed been and use your measurements, not exact measurements from me. I recommend placing your top board (a 1×12″ board) on top and places your hinges to see where you’d like to place your hinges. With two doors, we decided to space the hinges, about 1/4 of the way in from the side of each door. You might want to do 1/3 instead.
Once you’ve decided on where you want your hinges, you’ll need to add support beams for the hinges using 1×4″ boards cut to the width of your 1×12″ board less 2″. Here’s a sketch to better explain this: Place your boards at your measurement spots for where you want your hinges. Glue and screw with 1″ screws. Repeat 4 times. Line the top of your feed bin with glue. Flip your top board over, place on the top, pre-drill, and then screw from above. Doors
Apparently I captured no pictures of door construction. However it’s pretty simple. Again, you may need to make adjustments for your own measurements.
Take two 1×12″ boards and cut them to the width of your feed bin (64 and 14/32″ in my case) and place them next to each other. You’ll be placing four 1x4s across these two boards. You’ll need to use the same measurements as you did in your top construction to space out your cross beams. In our case, 7.5″ from the edge. The length of your 1x4s depends on your sawing abilities. If you can cut on an angle, the board’s should be the width of the two 1x12s pushed together, less 1″. If you can’t cut the board on an angle, make that length 2″ less. Cut the 1x4s straight on the one side and at a 45 degree angle on the other. Glue and screw your cross beams. Measure and cut the boards apart in the middle to make 2 doors. Set your doors on the feed bin and use 1.5″ screws to attach the hinges. Screw handles onto doors in the middle of the bottom of each door. We also added some twist latches to keep raccoons from opening the doors. This step is optional depending on your barn design (our feed room only has a half door). Final Steps
Paint or stain the outside of your feed bin. Do not paint or stain the inside as you don’t want the chemicals in paint or stain touching your horses’ feed. It’s a lot easier to do the painting and staining if you do it before putting the doors and hinges on (they’re annoying to get around). Our first bin was painted and it was infinitely easier than staining, but we wanted stain for this one to match the walls. I haven’t added white board to our new feed bin yet, but I plan to. They’re great for keeping track of what each horse is getting in feed and supplements.
When we made our first feed bin, I was concerned about rodents chewing through the wood. Despite being made of mostly thin plywood, we never had an issue. We had tons of rodents in our old tack room too as it was not a sealed room, but more of a roofed over and walled in section between the barn and hay trailer. I frequently found rodent dropping on the feed bin and at one point pulled a mouse nest out from under the bin (the ground wasn’t level so there was a gap), but we never had anything chew it’s way in. Since the room was enclosed enough to keep raccoons out, we didn’t need to have the latches and the weight of the doors kept them shut to smaller rodents. That feed bin is still going strong 7 years later so I can speak to the longevity of this style of DIY construction.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you make your own feed bin, please let me know. I love seeing what other people make whether they use my guides or not.
** I’m not a professional woodworker or professional anything for that matter. If you follow these directions, do so at your own risk.