It’s a Chicken Incubator…Seriously!



Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

It was a year ago last August that my sister found this cool wooden box at a flea market. She had no idea what it was but it was made of wood, it was old and it was kind of cool.  She did ask and found out that it was a chicken incubator.  The little chicks were kept warm somehow by the can on the left.

What I saw was coffee table.  It’s really not too surprising…while I see lamp in anything that is tall and skinny, I see coffee table in every large boxy thing I see.  So, surprise, surprise, this is a coffee table.  I told my sister that if she wanted, I would gladly tackle this thing, it really looked like a fun project.  So last week when she sent the two tier table my way she also let me try my hand at the incubator.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

It wasn’t until I started to work on the incubator did I notice the hinges and little turn latches.  I knew there had to be a way in, but when I got it the top boards were falling off in my hands, so I didn’t really see those little side details.

Notice that those are double hinges.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen those before and if I did I didn’t know what they were used for.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Turning the first latch and the wood board reveals a glass window for peeking at your chicks.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Turning the other two latches and the whole front opens up using the second part of the hinge.Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

 

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

I had high hopes for the incubator.  Those clean looking boards are what is left after a good scrubbing and sanding.  The wood is beautiful but unfortunately 2 of the side trim boards are missing.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

You can see how the top was attached in the previous photo, just four screws, two at the top and two at the bottom.  Removing the top and you get down to one disgusting piece of cardboard.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

The inside of the incubator was lined with even more cardboard, probably used for insulation.  The heating element to keep those little chickies warm, was copper pipe held up by a thin strip of metal.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Underneath the cardboard there was beautiful clean wood in the bottom of the incubator .

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

The cardboard on the right and left sides was held in place by that lower piece of wood.  I didn’t want to pull those pieces out just to remove the remainder of the cardboard because all of the bottom boards were attached to those pieces.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Next best thing, just hide those frayed cardboard edges with some scrap quarter round molding.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Finished the interior of the box with a coat of polyurethane.
Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table
Those cool double hinges…I cut them off.  I didn’t want that plain board to be the outside of my coffee table, I wanted just the glass.
Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table
I went to Home Depot the other day for the specific purpose of buying their turned legs, but I just couldn’t do it.  Four legs would cost $17 with another  $10 for the mounting plates.  What I ended up with was 4 deck finials, they sort of look like legs, don’t they?

Glued and nailed 4 scrap pieces of wood (about 6 inches square) onto the base of the incubator to hold my feet.
Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Predrilled holes through all 4 scrap wood pieces and screwed on the finial feet.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Finial feet were finished with a coat of stain.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

A couple screws from the inside hold the feet in place.
Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Back to the top.  Since there were only 2 trim boards left from the top, I decided to build a whole new frame.  Pallet wood is always a good choice…free and in plentiful supply.  Miter the ends and used a nail gun and finishing nails to attach from the top. 
Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Another piece of pallet wood sawed in half lengthwise hides the two levels of wood.  Ends are mitered and again nailed in place.

Note that this side pallet wood trim is wider than the 2 pieces that it’s covering.  I’m making a removable top and that extra lip will keep the top from slipping from side to side.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table
Another frame of wood, this time from 1/4 inch plywood, finishes out the top.  

You may recognize the back of my plywood, it’s cut from the chalk menu board from the wedding signs back in June.  I’m pretty sure nobody else will ever have the exact same menu and I really didn’t want to make another trip to the hardware store.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

I gave the exterior of the box  two coats of clear wax.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

The copper pipes and can cleaned up beautifully.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

The top lifts off for storage or you can gain easy access by just opening the chicken viewing window.

Stay inspired and have a wonderful week.

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