Today dad and I replaced Anya's dog house that was starting to fall apart with an upgraded model, much like the one husband and I had done for Rogan a couple years ago. Actually Dad has all the cool tools, experience building things with wood, and engineering skilz... I mainly brought a piece of plywood, a more-or-less plan, and some things we'd learned from the last time around.
The plan was from Jon Little's old website that's since disappeared into the ether. Fortunately I'm something of a digital pack rat and had saved his schema on my hard drive.
I'd carted the 1/2" plywood sheet over yesterday along with the drawing, and came back to help dad with it after church today. He'd been looking at it and noticed something wasn't quite right... which explains why I vaguely remember Steve and I doing a lot of re-trimming afterwards on Rogan's box. It turns out you would be better off following that starred 22" & 26" cut on the diagram he talks about between the floor and the roof. And since I like plenty of overhang on the roof, I see no point in trimming it.
Dad used the table saw on the plywood, making MUCH better cuts than we had been able to pull off with a hand held circular saw. I had collected some scrap wood for the interior bracing from a house being built on the hill behind us, but dad had plenty of 2"x2" wood kicking around that was perfect. I believe the dimensions on these pieces were 34.75" and 21", and dad just screwed them down all the way around the inside of the side walls to start with.
But hey- we'd better cut a hole for the dog to get in before we go farther! So a hole was drilled and then a saber saw used to cut the entrance. Note that this hole isn't terribly big and has a sizable 'lip' on it all the way around... this keeps the box warmer and as we found the hard way prevents too much straw from getting kicked out (the old boxes had doorways that went clear to the bottom- NOT recommended).
Then we just screwed the sides on, and the box started taking shape. When the box sides were all screwed together, we just set the floor under it, marked where the walls ended, and trimmed it down to match.
One serious upgrade we're doing on these houses as the are replaced is adding a hinged roof. This makes it TEN THOUSAND TIMES easier to clean out old straw or dump new straw in! As you can see, the final dimensions of the roof are considerably bigger than the box, but that overhang will just better prevent rain from coming in.
However, the screws we used to attach the hinge to the lid were long enough to go clear through. We had the same problem with Rogan's box, and I had clipped off the screws as close as I could and then used a hand file to take them down flush with no edges or burrs. Dad has a much faster and manly method: a grinder. I'm glad to report none of the sparks thrown into the shelves behind him seemed to catch fire.....
I was going to just throw it in the truck, but dad insisted on delivering too. With a smile.
Now we had forgotten one step: putting pieces of wood on the bottom to lift the plywood floor off the kennel so it wouldn't rot. Fortunately my scrap heap and cordless drill came to the rescue, along with dad's hand-sawing abilities. And finally the new box was installed and inspected by it's new tenant.... note that she's standing on a big pile of un-dog-nested hay here, so she'll have considerably more headroom once she's done with interior decorating.
Other random dog house tidbits:
- We don't paint boxes. In this climate a 1/2" plywood box screwed together with reinforcement should last a LONG time, but we also figure it's one less potentially toxic substance for the dogs to ingest. I figure they'll get enough beavering on whatever glues they use to bond CDX plywood. *rolleyes*
- Dogs absolutely LOVE to hang out on a flat or flat-ish dog house roof. It's a canine command post, lookout tower, tanning booth, fitness center, and even serves the owner as an impromptu exam/grooming/let's-sit-and-chat table.
- Straw is quite effective at keeping dogs warm, and they like digging around in it, but unlike blankets and commercially made beds it won't kill a dog if they get a sudden urge to eat a bunch if it. Chunks of bedding fabric are notorious for causing potentially lethal digestive impactions. I've seen evidence of major straw-eating-festivals after the fact, and the participants amazingly seem no worse for wear.