Well, Janice is into her second week of pregnancy – at least I hope she is; I’m assuming that the breeding took! I guess it won’t be much longer before she decides that she wants to “nest” inside her crate. I have a nice big 700 series wire crate for her, and when the litter is born, I’ll put blankets over it so that she can have privacy with the babies.
Of course, you might not just want a crate when babies are coming. Many dogs love having their own private places. So this time around, I’m going to tell you how to build a really nice, sturdy dog crate that can actually double as an end table; this way, if your dog wants to have his own special place but still be close to you, he can.
You don’t have to be all that handy to make a sturdy dog crate. Just follow the simple instructions below. You can make a cool crate that holds a puppy while he gets through the “chewing” stage and serves as a safe haven when he wants his privacy.
This crate is going to be about 21 inches high, 20 wide and 25 deep. This is big enough for most dogs, but if you’re in any doubt, measure your dog so that you can be sure he will be able to stand, turn around and lie down easily.
You will need two 24×21 inch pieces of half-inch plywood for the sides, an 18x21x1.5 piece of half-inch plywood for the back, a 22x27x1.5 piece of plywood for the top, and an 18×23 inch piece of plywood flooring.
For the bottom rail, you will need a piece of 1×4 11.5 inches long. For the top rail, you will need a piece of 1×3 11.5 inches long.
For the top and bottom rails, you will need two 2x2s about 3 inches long.
Now, cut all the pieces to length using a miter saw, except for those that are already cut to length.
Take the top 1×3 rail and the bottom 1×4 rail. Clamp them together between the 1×3 stiles, making sure that the ends are flush. Drill pilot holes at each corner and secure the frame using 3-inch finish screws.
Put the grate on top of the door frame in such a way that it is resting inside the frame. Flip it over, and cut four corner blocks to hold the grate in place. Apply wood glue to the edges, hold them against the grate, and then nail them in place. Fill any holes with wood filler, and then apply a coat of shellac to the wood frame.
As soon as the shellac has dried, replace the grate by drilling holes into the corner blocks and securing the grate with drywall screws.
Lay the pieces of the face frame on a flat surface, and apply glue to the bottom and top rails. Then nail them together. Finish with 3-inch screws.
You’ll add the face frame cleats by gluing the bottom cleat and bottom rail together. Then glue each to the stiles, making sure that the edges are flush.
On the back panel, draw two lines. One should be about 1 1/8 inches from the top edge, and the other about 10 inches. Draw lines to connect the two, clamp the sides together, and begin to cut the windows.
Put the vertical center stile in a position such that it is in the middle of the window, with the top edge and panel flush. Put four rails flush with the top and bottom, and then lay the bottom stile on the bottom edge of the panel. Glue all stiles in place, except for the corners. When the glue dries, flip the panels and nail them together.
Use wire cutters or tin snips to make grilles that will fit the windows. Hold them in place with your 3/8 inch dowels and nail them to the interior of the panels.
On the inside of the panels, nail ¾ inch dowels along the bottom edges. Then, on the sides of the panels, make pilot holes to hold the assembly screws. Once you know where the screws will go, apply glue to the holes and secure them using one-inch screws.
Then, glue the center floor support dowel in place between the side panels. Slide the floor panel into place.
Put glue on the side edges of the back panel, and place it between the side panels. Make sure that the floor rests on the back floor supports. Fasten the side panels in place using one-inch screws.
Use your 1×3 oak blocks for this. Drill a pilot hole in each block, and glue each one to a corner of your dog crate, flush with the top. Use 1 3/8 inch nails to secure the top.
Make sure that the top of your sturdy dog crate is overhanging equally on all sides. Then attach the top using one-inch drywall screws. Make sure that the crown molding is properly attached.
Measure the face frame, about ¾ of an inch over. Then use that measurement to attach the hinges. Measure twice and drill once, because if you get the measurement wrong, the door won’t hang properly.
Now, hold the door steadily as you drill the holes for the hinges. Then, fasten the door in place with screws. Check the swing, and if you need to, adjust it by loosening the screws or moving the hinges.
There you go – your sturdy dog crate is built! Now all you need to do is toss in a cushion or two so that your dog can be comfortable in his custom-built sturdy dog crate. Oh, and give him some toys, too!