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Wooden Dog Beds - Mid Century Modern

In this video I'm going to be making some dog beds using some oak veneered MDF left over from the radio studio desks commission I did recently.
A lot of the dog beds you can buy tend to look a bit cheap and nasty, so the idea I had was to make something that looked more like a piece of furniture that will look good in someone's home.  
I wanted to design something with a mid century modern feel mainly because that'd the style of furniture that I like. 
Before I got started I first did some 3D drawings in SketchUp - that allowed me to not only help me visualise what the beds would look like, but also to help figure out how many of the beds I could make from the MDF pieces that I had to work with.
I began by ripping the panels to the right width using the tablesaw. 
And I made a few crosscuts with my circular saw using a straight edge as a fence.  I'm not cutting them to their final length here, I'm just dividing up the pieces to be more manageable in size.
I decided to use mitre joints for the bed, mainly because the 45 degree cuts would hide the MDF inards of the sheet material
I tilted my blade to 45 degrees and used my panel sled on the tablesaw to cut one end of each of the panels.
I then realised that these panels were narrow enough to cut on the mitre saw, so after measuring and marking up each panel based on the dimensions from my drawing, I made the rest of the cuts at the mitre saw.  That way I could set up a stopp block so that all of the cuts of the same length would be consistent.
After cutting the short sides of the box, I then marked up, set up a stop block and made the cuts for the longer side of the box.
Unfortunately I lost quite a bit of video footage at this point in the project, so I'll try to reconstruct what I did next in the project as convincingly as I can without actually re-doing it!
Lucily I've got a panel here that I decided not to use because it got damaged when it fell off the workbench so I'll use that to demonstrate.  First I needed to cut these housing joints to accommodate a bottom panel on all four sides of the box.  I made those cuts at the tablesaw just by making a series of cuts moving the fence each time to form the joint. I could then check that I got the sizing right by offering up another panel.
Next I positioned all four panels of the box together, and measured the distance between the housing joints on the opposing panels and that gave me the dimensions for the bottom panel.
Before cutting the bottom panels though, I took 3mm off each of those dimensions, again just to make the glue up assembly easier.
Then I cut the bottom panels at the tablesaw.
And after that I could mark up the diagonal angle on the side panels. I did this by offering up the back and front panels to the side panel, and then I marked up the shape I wanted on to the outside of the side panels, making sure that it started at the height of the front panel, and ended at the height of the back panel.
I also needed to make sure that the diagonal cut on the side panels started after where the mitre joint was - and that's because I'll be adding a trim piece to the this piece later on from one end to the other.
I cut out those shapes at the bandsaw.
And then it was time to assemble, which fortunately I have the footage for, so back to the video!
I added some wood glue and then fitted the bottom panel in to the housing joint on one of the side panels, making sure that the bottom panel was centred to the side panel so that it would fit inside where the housing joint meets the mitre joint - if that makes sense.
And then I could add the opposite panel in the same way.
Then I applied glue to the mitre joints and the housing joint of the back panel and added that.  I made sure it was seated with a mallet.  And then I added the front panel in the same way.
I used some ratchet straps to clamp up the four panels to get nice tight glue joints.
And I wiped away any excess glue with a damp cloth.
These mitre joints would not be very strong so I'd use dowels to re-enforce them.  I drilled some 10mm holes using a brad point bit using a piece of tape to get the right depth of the hole.
Then I added glue and knocked the dowels in place.
I cut the dowels off flush using my japanese pull saw.
I had some offcuts of sapele, and I'd use these to make some trim pieces to hide the MDF edges.
Then I applied glue and added the trim using some brad nails before cutting it to length
The trim pieces for the diagonal part of the side panel needed to be cut at the right angle so I marked it up, and then cut that angle.  Before adding these pieces I just did a little clean up work with a block plane to make sure that my bandsaw cuts were good and straight. 
I did a bit of hand sanding just to soften any sharp edges.  And I used some oak fillter to fill any small gaps between the trim and the panels.
And then I did the rest of the sanding with my random orbit sander.  And for those who are wondering why I'm using the Bosch sander here, it's because this was filmed a couple of weeks ago while I still had it.  It went back to Amazon so I no longer have it.
I removed the rubber feet from the bottom which were screwed on,
Then I set up a stop block at the mitre saw to cut all the legs to a consistent length.
I cleaned off the old finish using a hand plane.
Some of the legs were a different type of wood an didn't plane too well, so I used a scraper on those instead.  And this wood is going to cause me some issues which you'll see later on in this video....  It's some sort of extremely dense hard wood.
I decided to cut a new taper to each leg so that they'd all be a consistent shape, and I first thought to use my tablesaw with my tapering jig
However as I was making the first cut, it really didn't feel safe enough because these pieces were short and as I was cutting, the force of the blade was pulling the tapering jig away from the fence.  If something doesn't feel right, it usually means it isn't right, so I abandoned that idea, and instead measured and marked up a taper on to each leg, and made the cuts on the bandsaw insread which worked fine.
I then needed to clean up the bandsaw cuts so I did that using a hand plane
I also put a slight bevel on the edges of the legs using my block plane.
Then I coule glue the legs in place on to the bottom of the bed. I held them in position with clamps so that I could flip the bed over.  And then I could drill some pilot holes through the bottom of the beds in to the legs, and add some screws.  
So I mentioned earlier that one set of the legs was a very dense hardwood, and this is where I had issues. 
I think what was happening is that the screws were getting so hot when being driven in to this type of wood, and that caused a couple of them break. And these are really expensive, good quality screws too, I got bunch of these given to me a while back by my uncle.  So I was quite surprised.  
To fix this, I first needed to cut off the protruding screw using my angle grinder.  And the corner was a bit too tight to get in there properly, so I came back with my powe belt file to grind the top of the screw flush with the panel. And then I drilled a wider pilot hole right next to the first, and drove another screw in to the wood as gently as I could.  But unfortunately I still had a couple of them break on me!
It was only one of three beds that I had this issue with, the legs on the other two beds went on just fine.   So for this one I instead used a couple of metal angle plates to re-enforce the legs from underneath.  And then just for a bit of re-assurance, I also mixed up some epoxy and added that to fill any gaps between the legs and the bed frame. And then I was confident that the legs were good and strong.
I used some sandpaper to break the hard edges on the bottom of the legs, to avoid any possibility of when the beds get dragged around.
To finish the beds I decided to use some mineral oil.  I mainly chose this because it seemed like the most pet friendly finish that I had.
For the cushions I'd use these, I bought these from Amazon for around £11 and when I did the 3d drawings I sized the beds so that these cushions would fit snugly inside.  I did think about making cushions for the bed, but it would have cost me far more in materials and time, and plus these cushions have the added bonus of a zip which makes the ccovers easy to remove and wash.  And they're super soft too.  The only downside of these is that they have a bit of branding in one corner, and I would have preferred them not to have that, but that's not really a big deal.
Before I could even finish all three of the beds I walked in to find one of them had already attracted a rogue squatter.
I'm pleased with how these beds turned out, I think they look nice, but there are a couple of things

Making Cat Or Dog Bunk Beds

Recently I found some pine bed slats and a broken double bed frame, and in this video I'm going to be making some bunk beds for cats or smallish dogs.  
I previously designed and made some single versions of these beds which was an earlier video on my channel.
The slats had some straps attached with staples so the first job was to get those off
And I removed all the metal fittings.  
The slats measured just shy of 1.4m in length and from that I decided what size to make the beds.  I'd make the length 60cm so I could get two pieces out of each slat, and the width around 44 which would give me 3 pieces from each slat.
I cut the pieces to length using a stop block at the mitre station to get consistent cuts and I worked out I had enough to make two of the bunk beds.
And I kept all of the short offcuts to one side, as I could make use of them for the leg assembly later on.
I assembled the rectangles using glue and brad nails and a speed square to ensure that the corners were square, and these rectangles will later hold the mattresses
Next I started making the cuts for the leg assemblies and these were around be 70cm in length which would be the height of the bed, and with the pieces cut to length I offered them up.
Each leg would be made up of two layers of slats, a long piece on the outside and several short pieces on the inside, and here I'm offering them up to work out where to apply glue.  Imagine this is the top of the leg and this is the bottom of the leg and these legs would form the headboard end of the bunk beds.
At the bottom of the leg there'd be a small offcut and then there'd be a space for width of the slat which the rectangles I'd already made will slot in to later and I'm using the same piece here rotated 90 degrees to get the right size, then there'd be a longer piece to seperate the two bunks and then the second rectangle piece, and above that would be a headboard which I'll add later so again i'm using an offcut to get the right spacing.
Then I could apply wood glue and nail on the bottom of the leg.  I'm making sure that the pieces are level with my hands before nailing.  The nails would be on the inside so they won't be very visible and I'll fill them later anyway. 
Then I apply glue for the piece that seperates the bunks and use an offcut as a spacer again to get the spacing right before nailing.  These nails are just to stop everything moving around but these glue joints wouldn't be particularly tight without something squeezing them together, so then I added clamps.
And started making the cuts for the legs at the footboard end of the bed.
I used my oscillating tool to cut the piece free and then squared up those cuts on the mitre saw before cutting the leg pieces to length.
I used a card scraper to remove the finish, and then I could glue up the assembly for the legs at the foot of the bed in the same way as I had done the head of the bed.
I clamped those up too this time using my vise.
The next job was to rip the edges of all of the legs clean at the tablesaw to remove the rounded edges on all the slats.  
And if you're wondering why there's so much dust here, it's because I had pulled the hose off the tablesaw earlier and forgot to re-connect it - so the dust extraction is turned on, but it's not connected to the saw.... Which was pretty stupid and it took me a while to realise.
I could now add the rectangles to the leg assemblies and nail them in place.
And I added some wood filler to all the nail holes. This is actually oak filler but it's not a bad colour match for the pine - you can see that the holes almost disappear. 
I had this piece of blockboard and I'd use this to cut some cleats to support the mattress in each of the rectangles, so I ripped some pieces to 20mm square.
I glued and nailed them in place and then added screws to re-enforce them and pull the joints together nice and tight.
For the bottom of each mattress I had some veneered particle board which I salvaged from an old wardrobe that was left by some bins so I ripped these to size so that they would fit inside the rectangles and be supported by the cleats.
This piece of pine was one of the sides of the bed frame, and it was long enough for me to make the head and footboards of the beds. First I needed to remove the cleats.
And unfortunately they were glued on so I used a hammer and a screw driver to pry them off - some pieces came off quite cleanly but in some areas the wood split and left a bit of a mess.
I then roughly marked up the pieces for length and cut them slightly oversized with a circular saw because the workpiece was too long to fit on my mitre station.
I could then clean up those rough circular saw cuts at the mitre station, set up a stop block and cut all the head and footboards to length.
Next I could clean them up with a hand plane.  There was some tear out on a couple of these pieces, but I worked out that I could face the torn out faces at the footboard of the bed on the inside, so they would be hidden which was good...
When I offered up the head and footboards I decided to add a subtle curve  for decoration, so I marked up where the curve would start and then marked up a curve free hand.  I cut that out on the bandsaw following the line and then I could use the offcut as a template to mark up the opposite side and cut that out too.
I used a block plane to clean up those bandsaw cuts and also to refine the curve.
The headboards got glued and clamped on.
And I cut the same curves on to the footboards and glued those to the rectangles with the torn out faces facing inwards. I secured this with screws from the inside as these wouldn't be visible and it was quicker than clamping. 
I ripped off the top part of the curtains which won't be needed. Then I could start upholstering.  
I placed the foam on the fabric in one corner, and added the backing board.
Using my air stapler I first secured one of the short sides in the middle and then ripped the fabric to size. then I pulled the opposite side as tight as possible and secured it with staples in the middle too.
Then I did the same again but on the long sides.
And then I worked on the corners, pulling them tight, firing in a couple of staples and then folding the sides in as tight as possible.  The more I do this the better I get at it, but I'm still great at it but here's how they looked when they were done. 
 Next I sanded the bed frames with my random orbit sander.
I decided to finish one of the beds with boiled linseed oil which brings out the grain really nicely and adds a warmer tone to the colour of the wood.
And the second bed I finished with some rustic pine Briwax, and this adds more of a brown colouring to the wood and brings out the grain a bit too. 
After a few hours I could buff out the wax and the beds were done so I could add the mattresses.

Making Pet Beds

In this video I make some miniature beds for cats and dogs or other small pets out of some reclaimed pine bed slats.


Making A Cat Scratching Post Using Pallet Wood And Concrete

I made the mistake of buying a cat scratching post that was too small for my cat to use comfortably... So I gave it away (to someone with a kitten) and thought I'd make one for my cat, Dylan.

For materials, I used a pallet that I found in my recent "how to get wood for free" video.  I'd use the stringers to make the post, and the slats to make the base.  I dismantled and de-nailed the pallet using a crowbar.

Then I used a handplane to flatten the surfaces of the strings for gluing them up to form the post, which would be made from four of them glued together.  I glued and clamped them together.

Then I started working on the base which would be hexagonal.  I tilted my mitresaw to 30 degrees and set up a stop block so that I could easily make repeatable cuts.  With all the pieces cut to length, I could then glue them up using masking tape to keep the pieces together and form the hexagon shape.

I could then trace the internal hexagon shape on to a piece of plywood and cut it out at the bandsaw to create a bottom panel for the base.  I glued this inside the hexagon shape.

Then it was time to work on the post again, and unfortunately my glue joints failed as I was working on shaping it with the spoke shave...  I had given it several hours to set, however it was too cold in my workshop and also the glue was past it's sell by date...  

Rather than salvaging it, I started again using another piece of pallet wood.  Unfortunately it wouldn't match the wood on the base, however most of it wouldn't be visible once it was covered in sisal rope anyway so it didn't really matter.  I shaped the new post on the tablesaw with the blade tilted to an angle and cut off each corner, then I shaped it in to an oval shape using a hand plane.

I decided to use concrete mix (just add water) to add weight to the base.  I was originally planning to use a piece of laminate kitchen worktop which would have worked well, but I had some concrete spare and thought that it would make an interesting design feature.

I sealed the edges of where the hexagon met the base using a gel super glue and then lined the inside of the hexagon with some parcel tape to help stop the moisture getting from the concrete mix in to the wood.

Then I added a couple of screws to the bottom of the post, which would help to anchor the post in the concrete.

I mixed the concrete as per the instructions on the bag, positioned the post in the centre and added the concrete.  I screeded off the excess and then vibrated the base by tapping it with a mallet to remove as many of the air bubbles as possible.  

Once the concrete was dry, I sanded the base (wooden parts and concrete) with my orbital sander.

Next, I made a top cap for the post to hide the end grain.  I used a scrap piece of sapele for this, glued it in place and weighed it down with a brick until the glue dried.  Then I sanded the edges flush with the post.

I added a Rustic Pine Briwax to the post, the base, and the concrete and buffed it out with a cloth.

And finally it was time to add the sisal rope.  I picked up 30m of this natural fibre rope on amazon for around £7, and used about half of it on the post.  I secured it at the top and bottom with some roofing nails (which would face the wall to ensure that my cat doesn't catch his claws in it) and wrapped it tightly around the post.  I considered gluing it with hot glue but it wasn't necessary, as the fibres of the rope when pulled tightly next to each other hold in place pretty well.

That was the scratching post finished, I was happy with how it turned out despite one or two issues while making it. And my cat Dylan absolutely loves using it.  There's some footage of him using it on the Rag 'n' Bone Brown Facebook page if you want to see.



Making A Cat House For Two Using Scraps Of Wood

In this video, my brother Alan visits my workshop bringing with him some scraps of sheet materials found in his shed - some pieces of various sizes of MDF, ply and chipboard.

Alan wanted a cat house for his two cats George & Jasper, and he already had an idea for the design he wanted, so we first did a quick drawing in SketchUp to figure out how to make best use of the materials that we had to create that design.

The biggest piece we had was a piece of 18mm chipboard, so we cut that in half and used the two pieces to create the front and back panels of the house.  We added a taper to each side of the panels.  This wasn't in Alan's original design but I thought it would make for a more interesting look.  We marked up where the step would be too, and made all the cuts with the circular saw, using a jigsaw to finish off the cuts where the circular blade would not reach.  

Next we needed to cut the side panels to size, and we needed to cut an angle on the ends of each panel to match the angle of the taper on the front and back panels.  We did that by measuring the angle with a bevel guage and tilting the tablesaw blade to match the angle.

Next we cut the central shelf out of a piece of MDF.  The shelf was supported by the top and back panels on one side, but not on the other, so we marked up where the shelf would be with a pencil, and added cleats to the inside to support it using glue and screws.

Then all of the panels were assembled using glue and brad nails.

Alan wanted a scratching pad on the largest side panel, so we wrapped sisal rope around a piece of plywood and used hot glue to secure it.  This would later be attached to the side panel with screws from the inside of the house.

Next we cut entrance holes/windows in to the front and side panels using a jigsaw.

To hide the chipboard appearance of the front panel, I re-sawed some strips of spruce to about 5mm thick on the bandsaw, and then used these pieces as cladding - glued and brad nails attached them to the front panel.  It would have made much more sense to cut the entrance holes after the cladding had been added - but nevermind!

Next we cut the edges of the cladding pieces to the shape of the front panel using the circular saw and a straight edge.

Alan mounted some fur (from a fur throw that he'd purchased) to the step and the top panel with spray glue.  The glue wasn't particularly effective on the material, so I ended up adding trim pieces to secure it using some scraps of sapele.  The top panel didn't need any trim pieces to secure it, as it was nailed directly to the top with the material overhanging the panel and "tucked in".

Next I sanded the whole house with the orbital sander and did some hand sanding around the entrance holes to soften the sharp edges.  

I used a piece of melamine for the bottom panel, this was cut to size at the tablesaw and screwed on to the bottom.

I added some pieces of sapele trim to make doorsteps to the entrances, and a skirting board at the bottom just for aesthetics.  

Finally, I made a sign saying "George & Jasper" using a wood burning iron on a piece of spruce.  This was mounted to a piece of sapele to create a border.

The cat house was a really fun project, and it was very inexpensive to make as basically everything was scrap material (apart from the sisal rope and fur throw)..

George & Jasper love their new home as you can see in the photos!


Hexagon Cat House - pallet wood project

I had lots of small offcuts of pallet wood left over from the pallet wood shed build that I wanted to find a use for;  

I came up with a design for a cat house / bed that was hexagon shaped.  I cut all the pieces to make the walls of the house to length, cutting a 30 degree angle on each end to form the hexagon shape.  

I used a block plane to put a bevel on each piece, as I thought this would make it look nicer.  Then I glued up the hexagon pieces in individual layers, using upright pieces to support the structure and brad nails to hold everything together.  

The upright pieces were also cut at 30 degrees to support the shape internally.  Then I cut pieces for the top and bottom panel, added a bevel again with the block plain and glued them to the top.  

Finally, I cut a circular entrance hole, using a dish to mark up the shape, then I drilled a hole and cut out the circle with the jigsaw.  

I sanded the whole thing, and used the electric file to sand the entrance hole, and then added a Rustic Pine Briwax finish. My cat LOVES it!

FREE PLANS are available for this on the resources page if you'd like to build one for your fluffy friend!


Hedgehog House Update & Coming Soon...

A quick update about the hedgehog house and what is coming soon to the channel

Making A Hedgehog House

Here's a quick and simple hedgehog house I made from scraps of wood for my brother who has a regular hedgehog visitor to his garden.

Hedgehogs need our help!  Please visit the below links for more information to see what you can do to help them survive.


Making A Cat Tree (part 2 of 2)

Here's a cat tree I made using a salvaged log, some pallet wood, a small piece of kitchen worktop and some scraps.

Part 2 covers finishing off the cat enclosure and making the shelves.

I sold the cat tree on eBay to a local buyer

Making A Cat Tree (part 1 of 2)

Here's a cat tree I made using a salvaged log, some pallet wood, a small piece of kitchen worktop and some scraps.

Part 1 covers cleaning up the log, making the base and mounting the log to it, and starting the cat enclosure