September 2nd, 2012, 04:22 PM
How to build a Hay Bale Blind
After seeing a couple commercial hay bale blinds at the Iowa Deer Classic, decided to experiment and build one for this next deer season.
This is an on going project so updates will follow until it's completed.
Listed the features I found appealing in the commercial units and what would fit our needs. First of all it needed to be large enough for an adult and kids. Wanted no floor but it had to have a flat bottom that could be staked to prevent rolling away in high winds. Needed to have a small window on all four corners, preferably a quiet slider type window. Height of about 6' with 7' in overall length. Bale blind had to be light enough to transport to other locations and rugged enough to leave out year round. There will be a door at one end with a window.
In an effort to keep cost low, used EMT tubing and cattle panels. The framed up unit (without grass and covering) is about $100. EMT electrical conduit is about $1.50 for a 10 foot stick. Blind will take three wire cattle panels (50" X 16'). The 16' length of the cattle panels works well since that's about what the circumference of the blind measures. I found concrete wire mesh too flimsy and opted for the heavier gauge wire on the cattle panels.
The flat pieces of metal for the base are 3/8" X 1" X 4' long, drilled four 1/2" diameter holes for staking to the ground. Window panels will be expanded metal attached to plastic blocks that slide on the EMT tubing. Reason for expanded metal windows allows grass and covering material to be attached with cable ties or wired on. One could easily remove these and install a frame with shoot thru mesh if desired.
Round EMT hoops were run thru a tubing roller to get consistency and the shape right.....takes two 10' EMT lengths to make a complete loop. Ends of the EMT tubing are smashed flat with a hammer to make fitting and welding easier. EMT tubing is easy to blow holes through with a welder and the galvanizing has to be burned off or ground to get a good weld. Practiced on scraps to get the right heat and wire settings for the welder.
Will go into detail on the sliding windows in the next installment.....
September 3rd, 2012, 01:08 PM
There were several options considered on how to make the windows.....decided to go with a sliding version. To keep the cost down decided to use the same EMT tubing as part of the slide. Made some plastic blocks that required no lubrication, with holes for the EMT and a tapped 1/4-20 threaded hole to attach the expanded metal windows. These will run parallel with structural EMT supports. Fabricated spacers to keep the distance consistent and eliminate binding.
The cattle panels are then welded to the EMT framework and make the entire unit quite solid. No window or door openings will be cut until the cattle panels are in place....cuts will follow the grid work of the panels.
Next comes the door frame and window cut outs....
September 3rd, 2012, 04:02 PM
September 7th, 2012, 10:43 AM
Cattle panels were welded on each end with windows and door to be cut in later. After the window is "framed" in with EMT the panel wire is cut out.
Idea behind the expanded metal windows is to attach "hay" material with cable ties or wire. Metal can easily be removed an replaced with a shoot thru mesh if desired. This is where the threaded holes in the plastic blocks come in....expanded metal is secured with stainless steel socket head bolts. Aluminum blocks were attached to the expanded metal to act as grab handle for siding the window. The windows slide like they are on ball bearings.
Expanded metal works extremely well for the round contour of the bale because it's easy to bend and shape unlike purchased window frames. Necessary to leave enough clearance between the window and outer frame for the window to slide with attached hay covering.
September 7th, 2012, 11:33 AM
That's one SERIOUS build! Nice work!
September 7th, 2012, 12:37 PM
Nice work, can't wait to see this done!
September 7th, 2012, 01:18 PM
You do nice work. Keep us posted.
He who thinks in terms of catching mice will never catch Lions.
September 8th, 2012, 07:21 AM
Side windows are basically the same as the end only curved to the contour of the bale, this is where shaping the expanded metal is important. Height of the windows was determined by sitting on a chair inside the frame work with a bow and gun.....bow can be comfortably shot either by sitting or standing.
Have experimented a little and found the curved EMT scraps make very good handles for the inside of the windows. Compress the ends in a vise, drill a mounting hole and use the threaded plastic blocks to attach....great handles.
Door frame is an all metal framework with piano hinges welded to both the cage and door. Nothing worse than sagging hinges or loose hardware over time, welding eliminates that. Window for the door will slide up and down using the same mechanism as the sides. Here again the EMT made nice handles for lifting and lowering the window.
No latches on the door...rather a very strong strip magnet that firmly holds it shut.
More to come later....
September 8th, 2012, 04:55 PM
Very nice work. I like the design and unique features.
September 9th, 2012, 01:15 AM
Very nice build so far, I will definately be watching this build.
Bowtech 82nd Airborne
Muzzy Bad to the Bone
September 9th, 2012, 01:45 AM
Can't wait to see the finished project. Subscribed
September 9th, 2012, 02:07 AM
September 9th, 2012, 10:13 PM
September 10th, 2012, 09:19 AM
nicest hay bale to ever sit in a field
September 10th, 2012, 09:46 AM
Sweet, can't wait to see the final product. Looks like plenty of room to shoot a bow also.
September 10th, 2012, 07:27 PM
Talk about heavy duty! That will survive the big bad wolf.
Can't wait to see the finished product and end results.
September 10th, 2012, 08:56 PM
More accurate than you may know......took the bale frame to the farm this past weekend loaded in the back of the pickup. Two bungee straps broke while traveling down the Interstate at 70 mph. The blind went spinning down the highway, fortunately avoiding any vehicles. Came to a stop with some road rash marks on the cattle panels and in perfect shape. I knew it was very rigid but the 70 mph test really proves it.
Originally Posted by deerhead
September 12th, 2012, 09:02 AM
Crash tested and AT approved!
decided how you are going to cover it yet?
September 12th, 2012, 02:06 PM
Might want to make sure the farmer knows which one it is, so he doesn't come pick it up from the field, leaving you no blind
LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENT OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY, BUT RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE, THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, LEAKING OIL, ON FIRE AND REEKING OF GUNPOWDER, WOMEN, AND WHISKEY LOUDLY PROCLAIMING WOW, WHAT A RIDE.[/FONT]
September 12th, 2012, 09:49 PM
Cage will be covered with a brown tarp for the waterproofing then wrapped with grass/hay secured with twine for the authentic look. I'm thinking about laying out multiple long strips of twine tied at one end to the frame, then cover twine strips with hay......roll the blind over it and tie off the other end to the cage.
Originally Posted by oldschoolcj5
September 12th, 2012, 10:05 PM
Very neat and well thought out! I think it would be absolute awesome to close this thread by posting your successful harvests out of it! Good luck!
September 17th, 2012, 01:03 PM
back to page one ... waiting on the finished product pics
September 17th, 2012, 01:12 PM
Now install some 20" bicycle wheels inside that puppy so you can wheel it into place!! NICE work by the way
PSE Field Staff, Dead Center Archery Products Factory Staffer, Black Eagle Pro Staff
LAC Officer, 'Insteada' Founder, DIY Tinkerer, PSE DC cam user
2014 Phenom DC, 55lbs/31.25" DL = fast and smooth bow hunter rig!!
2014 Dominator Max,60lbs, target bow!!
September 17th, 2012, 04:23 PM
Sweet blind, and very cost efficient too. How many man hrs do you have wrapped up in the build?
September 18th, 2012, 02:52 AM
Nice job and great write up!
NRA Life Member