Around three years ago I realised I needed a fixed hide on some of my vermin/pest control shoots.
I wanted something that would be able to seat two people, be semi permanent, break down small enough to fit in the back of a 4x4, as far as possible be made of wood, and it had to be able to be built up or broken down by one person.
The original spec was to have all joints hand cut and glued (no screws or nails), be able to work as a shooting table or (with a removable frame on top) be high enough to see over the pre harvest cereal crops, and it would be painted green to make it blend in.
I sketched what I wanted, added some dimensions then set to work on the build.
It took me less than a week to make the shooting platform, the legs and the upper frame.
It was a reasonable effort but it was not as stable as I wanted, also the front and rear tenon joints on the base had a tendency to come loose, and it was difficult to assemble/break down.
The lack of stability came from the front and rear brace pieces being straight, so I had to work on the design.
Due to other commitments it took me a year to get back to it…
The stability came in the form of cross braces, which I had noticed on one of those wooden bench tables you see outside pubs, but fitting these meant that I could not integrate a bench seat for using the hide as a shooting table which had been part of my original design.
I swapped the upper and lower frames and added the cross braces and the base was now stable and fixed to the table top/platform.
I could still remove the frame and use the table, but the cross braces had to be held in place with 10mm bolts to make it easier to assemble/disassemble.
Another year goes by…
I then worked on the upper frame.
I needed a seat for the upper frame, but I couldn’t decide where to position it.
I mocked one up, and after sliding it backwards and forwards I realised that this was actually the answer, so I beefed up the timbers on the mock up and it was good to go.
As the upper frame had not been designed to be fixed to the base it proved to be unreliable in use.
I was originally going to notch out the table top so that the frame locked in, but the real problem was that I had a tendency to lean on the back of the frame and the front would lift up, so I need something more robust.
I decided to fit bracing pieces which spanned between the legs and the upper frame, and this did the trick.
The braces and frame could be fitted or removed in minutes as they were only held in place with four 10mm bolts.
More time goes by….
After a few trials I realised that I could also add a removable roof.
I modified the design, to include a removable/optional roof.
So as not to not make the hide too obvious I decided to base the roof height on head clearance when sat down but still allowing enough room to move about when getting in and out.
I decided on a sloping roof and came up with 1500mm at the rear and 1400mm at the front with an overhang front, rear and sides to keep the rain away.
I made the roof as a split unit so that it would be easier for one man to fit.
As I was building the roof I decided to add side and rear panels and a door, after all this could be occupied for many hours at a time so it why not make it comfortable.
After some experiments I worked out that the panel height should be 900mm, as this gave maximum cover (only your head and shoulders are visible above them), and it meant that I only had to lean forward to take a photograph or a shot.
The original upper frame rail was modified to increase the width and make it sit on top of the side panels, this gave it a slight overhang.
By using some loose one metre lengths of timber decking the original frame supports create very handy shelves, and an additional 1.2 metre length spans the outer lengths to provide an excellent adjustable rear rest/elbow support.
The completed end result has a frame which is 1.0m x 1.2m, and the height, depending on what is fitted, goes up to 3.0m.
Due to its very small foot print (the size of four house bricks) its impact on the land is minimal and it can be sighted pretty much anywhere, currently it sits inside a hedgerow overlooking one of the largest rabbit warrens I have seen in years.
I still need to design and fit a simple wooden door latch that is silent in operation but I already know what it will look like.
For the future I plan to add some split folding upper side panels, which will help to stop the user from being profiled and add weather/wind protection, and I may add a mesh window for the front and sides to reduce insects and make it harder to see the occupant.