Hand-Cranked Hens Laying Eggs

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Project by DaleMaley posted 01-30-2016 09:25 PM 1390 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I saw this neat cam driven hand-cranked automaton on a Youtube video by Al Conquergood.

This thing was so cool, I had to make one for myself.

My biggest challenge was how to make the 4 hens. Al hand-carved his chickens. I am not a hand-carver.

For my chickens, I borrowed a technique from the scroll sawing wold called compound scroll sawing. You mark the pattern on 1 side of the wood block, then mark the other pattern on the other side of the block. You saw one side first, then tape the waste back onto the block. You then saw the 2nd side. When you unwrap the block, presto, you have an object cut in 2 different dimensions. I little touch up sanding on my drill press drum sander, and my chickens were ready to paint.

I wanted a more rustic farm look to my chicken coop, so I used blue milk paint. I did not add any polyurethane on top of the milk paint, because I wanted the faded milk paint look.

There is a total of 6 cams on this chicken coop.

The 6 little eggs were a challenge to make. I made them on the lathe from 1/2” dowel. I sanded a flat for them to rest on, I also drilled a small hole in the flat for a toothpick to hold them while I painted them.

All pieces are common pine, except the 4 doors are maple.

I made a Youtube video of my hen house in action.

If you are interested in my trials & tribulations of building my hen house (and there were several)..........see my woodworking web site.


-- Dale, Illinois,

11 comments so far

View bigbuddha's profile


190 posts in 2939 days

#1 posted 01-30-2016 11:11 PM

super cute!! great job!

-- helen

View DaleMaley's profile


344 posts in 1955 days

#2 posted 01-30-2016 11:34 PM


I have never built doll houses, but I think I got a taste of what that is like…...working with small pieces in tight spaces. I had to use needle-nose plyers just to assemble some of the parts…..because my fingers would not fit in the available space!

-- Dale, Illinois,

View MrHollick's profile


35 posts in 586 days

#3 posted 01-31-2016 03:03 AM

that is super fun!

-- Sean Hollick ~

View oldnovice's profile


6155 posts in 3087 days

#4 posted 01-31-2016 03:31 AM

That is a very nice novelty project!

Was the cackling part of the project or a sound track added for the video?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Tony Slattery's profile

Tony Slattery

79 posts in 814 days

#5 posted 01-31-2016 04:18 AM

Thanks for sharing. Looks like a fun project to make.

-- Tony, Australia,

View Coaster36's profile


5 posts in 566 days

#6 posted 01-31-2016 04:29 AM

haha neat!

View majuvla's profile


10589 posts in 2587 days

#7 posted 01-31-2016 10:20 AM

Fun projects, nicely done. Tumb up for colours and creativity.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View helluvawreck's profile


27208 posts in 2586 days

#8 posted 01-31-2016 03:34 PM

This is a great project and very creative.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View hoss12992's profile


3883 posts in 1612 days

#9 posted 01-31-2016 04:25 PM

That is really cool. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View DaleMaley's profile


344 posts in 1955 days

#10 posted 01-31-2016 06:52 PM

The gentleman that came up with the original design, Al Conquergood, is a very creative guy.

My contribution would be modifying a standard scroll technique, compound scroll sawing, to easily make the hens :)


-- Dale, Illinois,

View CFrye's profile


9564 posts in 1559 days

#11 posted 02-02-2016 12:40 PM

What a fun project! I like the way you did the chickens, Dale. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

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