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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.

 

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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!

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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!

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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.

http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/
http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/hedgehogs
http://www.hedgehogstreet.org/

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

Making A Dog House

I made this dog house out of shiplap cladding that was left over from the build of my workshop.  I sold this dog house on eBay to someone who lives locally, and I even got to meet the dog who would be using it which was a wonderful experience.