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The Chapelwood Premium Flat Pack Bird Table was bought not as an essential for our new house but it was on our want list with so many birds in the garden. We bought ours from a local garden centre for £33.99 although it can be bought slightly cheaper online. This was the cheaper option for us as the only other freestanding table was £74.99. We got the chance to check the boxes before buying though as a few of them were a bit battered, torn or had water damage so we wanted to check the wood wasn't damaged too.
In the box are the various pieces to be assembled, screws and the sheet of instructions. By the time we'd finished building it we had 4 screws left over but thankfully too many than too few. The instructions are not ideal although it is pretty self explanatory where each piece should go. I think the main benefit of the instructions was the order in which it was to be put together. At one point it asks "Connect the now assembled unit to I using K through pilot holes provided" however there is no 'I' given on the diagram.
Assembly really required two people as it can be difficult with the angle of the roof of the table to then be able to screw in the posts which come down to make sure you hit those in the middle. The lower half of the table is partially assembled balancing on the thin stand so better if there's someone else there to hold it steady while the other screws. There are pre-drilled holes but quite a few of these were not clear and the base of the table is stapled so you do have to watch for splinters while assembling.
As well as the screw driver being required (we didn't have an electric screwdriver which may have helped a little) we also ended up using a hammer to connect the two longer pieces and to push the bolts through to connect the stand and head of the table as the holes were not clear through. We had an Ikea tool kit which worked perfectly so it doesn't take expensive equipment to get it built.
The base of the stand is shaped like a cross to give the stand a bit of stability unfortunately ours wobbled about inside. When it did go outside the wind was making it move so we ended up having to place wood and boulders around the base to keep it steady. Having had the table outdoors now for two months I'm happy to say that the wind hasn't toppled it over so having that extra stability at the bottom has really helped. It can be seen swaying in the wind though. The wind has a habit of blowing the seed away although there is a slight lip to table so it does gather more around the edges.
The wood is stained and although it does state it needs annually recoating I think we'll be doing this sooner rather than later to try and maximise its lifespan. With so much rain the wood never really gets a chance to dry out. The table will need cleaning and Chapelwood suggest using their bird safe disinfectant so there are a few additional costs but keeping it clean and restaining should mean it lasts a fair while.
It's easy to become distracted by watching what is feeding on the table. Robins, Starlings, Chaffinches, House Sparrows, Blackbirds, Wrens, Blue Tits, Song Thrush and Great Tits have all been seen at the table. The larger birds tend to sit on the roof of the table rather than try to get the food from it but there are usually quite a few gathered around the bottom if the seed has blown off.
When it comes to buying bird food we initially went with the Chapelwood Premium Wild Bird Food but currently using Capen's Wild Bird Food 1kg from Tesco for less than £3.50 and find the bag lasts about a month but includes filling our bird feeder too so pretty good value. As long as the birds also have some water they are very happy.