Building a Chicken Coop

Several years ago, we decided to add a flock of laying hens to our farm & homestead here in Downeast Maine. The chickens needed a home, so I designed the chicken coop you see here. It has a footprint of 4 feet by 8 feet, so a standard sized sheet of plywood makes up the main floor surface without any cutting. The video I made shows a few steps during the original construction of the coop, and I built it right from the plans I drew in CAD.

This chicken coop will house up to a dozen hens, and our chickens have survived many brutal Maine winters where temperatures plummeted well below zero. The coop is also very sturdy, and has worked out well in preventing predators from getting at our hens.

Over the years, I made a few changes. The picture of the purple coop is how it looks now. The same coop in yellow is how it was first built.

Here are free plans for this coop you can download in a pdf file: Downeast-Thunder-Farm-Coop-Plans

You’ll want to pay attention to the drawing details. Some people over the years have emailed me to say there was a mistake in the dimensions. No. There are no mistakes. Remember this coop was designed in CAD and so they are very accurate. In addition, I built this coop right from these very same drawings without changing any of the dimensions. If you think there is a mistake, go over the plans again (more carefully) before sending me an email.



Work Shop Fixture Plans

The slideshow video reveals a few of my work shop fixture/furniture designs in simple 2D drawings. The reason I posted a video in this format is because I am testing some software that converts my pdf files to jpg format, and I want to evaluate how it works out. I haven’t purchased the software yet – just evaluating a trial copy, so you’ll note the watermarks in the drawings.

The software is called PDF Helper by TriSun Software. They can be reached through their web site: if you think you might have a use for it.

The drawings presented in this video are typically used shop items such as saw horses, benches, and shelves, etc. I’ve been giving away these plans for free over many years, and I upgraded them back in 2012.

Obviously, they are not to scale in the video, and they would be difficult to save; picture by picture. The links below will allow you to download the plans for each item (free). Many items require more than one drawing as they have been drawn to fit standard 8-1/2″ x 11 paper so you can print them out. As such, you will see more than one link for each item. The step stool is the only item on a single sheet.

Sawhorse 1 | Sawhorse 2 | Panel Cutting Jig 1 | Panel Cutting Jig 2 | Tool Bench 1 | Tool Bench 2 | Tool Bench 3 | Work Bench 1 | Work Bench 2 | Work Bench 3 | Wall Shelf 1 | Wall Shelf 2 | Storage Shelves 1 | Storage Shelves 2 | Storage Shelves 3 | Step Stool

I’d appreciate your feedback on how the drawings look in the video – it will help in making my decision to purchase the software. I’d also like to know what you think of the designs themselves and if you might find them useful.

Thanks for watching, and please Subscribe on Youtube, also Like & Share on Youtube and Facebook!

Mobile Stand-Up Desk

The design for this mobile stand-up desk was inspired by Paul Akers of Fastcap and the mobile stand-up desk he created for his own use; now offered to the public as “Paul’s Desk” on the Fastcap web site. Unlike Paul’s Desk, the one I created is primarily constructed with 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood.

Paul Akers is the guy behind Fastcap Tools and I consider him my “guru” of sorts in the field of “lean” management and manufacturing. This mobile stand-up desk allows one to be very lean indeed. The desk can roll around almost anywhere, so you are not tied down to an office. You can certainly use it in an office, or a lobby, or on the production floor of your factory. Maybe you just need to roll it out of your office to your personal workshop. It’s an effective tool in the world of “lean.”

Drawers were designed to fit under the desktop, and they are on my drawings, but I have not built them yet. The space occupied by the drawers can be left open as shown in the video with coat hooks installed, or a trash bucket placed in this space. Other options would be shelves, or a combination of drawers and shelves.

The drawback to this desk is that it is custom built to the correct height for the individual using it and is not adjustable. The other drawback is that it will cost more in materials than simply ordering Paul’s Desk from Fastcap.

It is fairly quick and easy to build though, and if you already have materials in your shop, then it’s cheap to build and own.

My drawings for this mobile stand-up desk will be available in pdf files for free download relatively soon on this page, so check back if you are interested in downloading a set.

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High Wind & Heavy Snow Load Greenhouse

AKA: “Susan’s Greenhouse.”

We live in Downeast Maine: That’s along the seacoast; way up near the Canadian border.

Strong “Nor’easters” and heavy snowfall during the winter (most of the year) necessitate a heavy-duty design for any sort of greenhouse. Standard designs work to various degrees, but seem to ultimately fail when we get our most powerful storms.

I searched for stronger greenhouse design ideas on the internet and discovered a Youtube contributor; “LDSPrepper.” He had been influenced by someone else and shared a heavy duty greenhouse design he modified to fit his needs. I simply did the same. My design uses many of the concepts from LDSPrepper’s design, but modified to match our unique weather conditions.

Our greenhouse is 10′ x 20′ and has doors at each end. There is a walkway straight down the middle with beds on each side. The roof ribs are 3/4″ PVC electrical conduit, spaced 12″ apart on center.

The garden beds are not typical beds, but are actually “Hugelkulturs” (You can “Google” this to see what they are all about). We discovered the combination of greenhouse and hugelkultur here in Downeast Maine where there is a very short growing season, made our vegetables grow like they were on steroids!

We’ve had this greenhouse up now for the past couple of growing seasons and it has exceeded our expectations; in standing up to weather, and in it’s performance of growing veggies & extending our growing season. Here is the drawing I used to build ours in a pdf file. It’s not heavily detailed as it was not necessary for me. It was just a guide for me to follow during construction, but it may help if you wish to build one yourself:

DTC Greenhouse pdf

You can also visit my wife’s blog ( ) to see more pictures of this greenhouse, and of some veggies she’s grown in it.

Wood Lathe Bench

I own an old Reliant DD-70 Midi Wood Lathe and purchased it new, back in 1993. It hadn’t been used in many years and just sat in storage, collecting dust.

With a renewed interest in wood turning, I dug it out, cleaned it up, but had no place to put it where I could operate it. This old wood lathe is very light (made in Taiwan) and has to be bolted down to something solid to reduce vibration. The solution was to design and fabricate a specialized lathe stand or bench that would be very heavy. The result is what you see in the picture and video, using standard, kiln-dried, “2-by” framing lumber, a bunch of wood screws, and lots of wood glue. The paint was left-over stuff I found in the garage and I applied a couple of coats that left me with a surface much easier to clean dust off of. The height of the bench was dependent upon the height of the lathe spindle from the lathe bottom, and the height of my elbow from the ground when standing. This was done to facilitate a comfortable position for me whenever using the lathe.

Clamp-On Hitch Receiver For Tractor Loader Bucket

This attachment is a tool I designed for my New Holland compact tractor loader bucket. This 2″ hitch receiver easily clamps onto the bucket within a minute, and without any tools required. It comes off just as easily and as fast.

I designed and fabricated this attachment based upon the material I already had on hand in my shop. The design also focuses on the specific shape and dimensions of my loader bucket. It’s a handy tool to have around our farm, and allows for quick & easy maneuvering of the various trailers on our property.

Such an attachment is also possible for other tractors. The dimensions would have to be altered, but the basic concept would work just fine. I also included the drawing in the slideshow video if someone wishes to design and build a clamp-on hitch receiver for themselves.  For an easier time viewing the drawing, you can download it here for free.

Clamp On Hitch Reciever-pdf

Please contact me if you would like to have a custom receiver hitch receiver fabricated for you.


Vendor Trailer for Craft Fairs, Farmer’s Markets, and Other Sales Events


This vendor trailer is based on a relatively inexpensive Harbor Freight Tools 4′ x 8′ utility trailer kit. I designed and built the one pictured for the Women’s Health Resource Library ( ) based upon WHRL requirements. They use this trailer as an “attention – getter” at various public events; promoting their “Incredible Edible Milbridge” program, which provides multiple, free, vegetable gardens around our town. Vegetables are harvested by volunteers and delivered to some of the elderly folks throughout the area with this trailer, and it is also used at the local Farmer’s Market,  where Incredible Edible Milbridge T-shirts, water bottles, and other promotional items are displayed and sold.

This trailer makes a great sales and marketing tool when used at any outside, public event. Crafters, artisans, farmers, vendors of all kinds, will find this trailer to be a handy profit maker. It’s also practical for storage and transport of inventory.

I can duplicate this trailer for for anyone interested, however you can choose colors, finishes, and can opt for various changes to suit your business. I’m very flexible: You can have a trailer custom designed, and completely different than the one shown, fabricated and delivered “turn-key.” You can have one custom designed and simply purchase the drawings to build it yourself. You can have one custom designed and partially fabricated, so you can finish it yourself. You will also be able to purchase the drawings for the WHRL trailer shown here in exchange for a nominal, tax deductible donation to the Women’s Health Resource Library. They will be available soon in pdf format, and you’ll be able to download them as soon as I complete the drawings for release, and we set up the donation software with PayPal. Stay tuned!

Lightweight, Portable, Information or Craft Show Vendor Booth

Take a look at the Downeast Thunder Creations portable booth, intended for short duration shows and events. Makes a great information booth or as a craft fair vendor booth. The booth in this video was designed specifically for Gateway Milbridge ( ) for use in their non-profit fund raising efforts, T-shirt sales, and so forth. The booth is very light, as it was designed and constructed using PVC plastic and lightweight cloth skirts. It assembles/disassembles in minutes without tools by just one person. The pre-built PVC panels easily fit in most SUV’s and stack easily for storage. The cloth skirts are attached with heavy-duty Velcro. This booth is approximately 6 feet across by 3 feet deep, and 7 feet tall. Other sizes can be custom designed and fabricated as needed in your choice of colors. Please contact me for more information and price quotes. Need plans to build one yourself? Drawings are available for the booth shown here. All price quotes are based on your specific needs. You can choose colors or opt to paint yourself. You can purchase without the cloth skirts and have commercial banners made up in place or make your own. You can specify a larger or smaller booth. You can opt for a sun shade overhead or do without as the one shown. It’s all up to you and I’m happy to work with you to meet your requirements. Have a very strict budget and don’t think you can afford a booth? Contact me, and allow me to explore the possibility of meeting your needs. These booths really grab the public’s attention and are an excellent sales & marketing tool. They are economical and will pay for themselves in short order. Get yourself a custom booth, designed to help you sell your products more effectively.

Custom Lightweight, Portable Display Booth

Gateway Milbridge Display Booth at Bike Maine Event

Now Offering Motorized Turntables

Greetings folks,

I’m now offering motorized turntables for sale. All are custom, built-to-order units and can vary in size (although they are typically 17″ to 18″ in diameter) and can be powered by household 110v ac plug in motors or battery operated. The finish can vary (unfinished, bright, or painted in various colors) based on your options. Price quotes will be provided based upon the options you choose, and please allow upwards of 3 to 4 weeks for delivery (based on work schedule in the shop).

These motorized turntables are excellent marketing and sale tools for retailers, ans craft show, craft fair, and artisan show vendors. They help to draw attention to your product and improve sales. They also draw attention to your display booth at fairs and shows when your competition only offers static (non-moving) displays.

The motorized turntable is a great novelty when employed at parties, with platters of munchies and dips are rotating about. They are light enough to be easily moved and stored when necessary, and the your investment should prove itself worthy, multiple times over in the years ahead.

I’ve included a short video showing the prototype in action. Contact me today for your personal price quote.

– -Paul

New and Improved – Downeast Thunder Website has been Revamped

Greetings all,

The web site you now see has been completely overhauled and revamped. I guess you could say it has undergone an “extreme home makeover” of sorts. The word “home” applies here because I didn’t have to outsource the web design work to an outside vendor. My beautiful wife Susan is a professional web developer, and she really put forth quite a bit of effort for me to make the big changes possible. Susan’s professional web site is

This blog section of my Downeast Thunder site is where I’ll be inserting casual posts about what I’m up to or what might be on my mind at the time. Maybe pictures or videos may appear. Look around and if you are a veteran visitor to the site, do some exploring and see what’s new (hint – most of it). Please “like” and “share” on Facebook and I’m also working on developing a Youtube channel for videos.

I’m a complete novice in the video production department, so please keep that in mind. There just may be a bit of a learning curve. For more about what goes on around Downeast Thunder Farm, you may wish to check out my wife’s blog: