I find that typical dog kennels are not very fashion conscious and don't really blend in to the interior decor. Having a dog is a good enough reminder that you have a dog. And since we have a dog (who must sleep in a kennel due to her insatiable appetite for poopy diapers and garbage), why not make a multi-functioning kennel? Since I couldn't think of a single reason not to, I embarked on this fun build.
I've actually been planning this build for a few months. I was thinking of making it out of pallets, but my wife convinced me to go for a little nicer wood (though I still think it could have looked really great).
I found a few examples of different dog kennel end tables on line and borrowed from some of their designs.
Step 1: Materials
This was a fun project for me because I got to put a lot of my tools (and those of my awesome friends and neighbors) to use. It was also great because I got to collaborate on a project with my wife.
• 1 - 8' 2x4
• 3 - 8' 1x4
• 1 - 6' 1x12
• 1 - 4' 1x24 pine laminate
• Wood Glue
• 3/4" x 25' steel hanger straps
• 100 - 1/2" screws
• Locking mechanism
• Salvaged Horse Fence (got it at IFA for $15 because it was badly damaged)
• Wood Conditioner
• Dark Walnut Stain
• Table Saw
• Circular Saw
• Chop Saw
• Hand Saw
• Nail gun (borrowed)
• Power Drill
• Angle Grinder
Step 2: Figure Out Design
After looking at some other designs online (which most were for larger dogs) I drew up a basic design of what I wanted to do. After the design passed the approval committee (wife), she suggested drawing up a blueprint to check to see if the dimensions I had mapped out would work. We didn't want any part of the kennel to end up smaller than the plastic kennel she was already sleeping in. This proved to be very helpful in making sure the look of the think wasn't altered too much by the practical dimensions we needed for the space and the dog. I found we needed to take down some of the thickness to give the dog more space to look out of the kennel and to not have the whole thing become a big box with some occasional holes.
Because I drew this up more on the fly and did a rough blueprint, I don't have a lot of the design in any written plan form. Mostly I just took notes on the papers I was accumulating and improvised as I went along. The overall size of the table/kennel is 24" tall, 30" long and 20" wide. This put the top of the table just a couple inches below the armrest of the couch. This would be optimal for setting down drinks and the like while watching TV (though that might be cruel torture for the pooch just beneath).
Step 3: Cut Lumber
I started with the base and the posts of the kennel as that would provide the overall framework to build everything else on. The base is created from the 2x4. I set my table saw up at a 45 degree. I wanted 2" flat before the angle, so I measured my guide to the tip of the blade to allow this. This left the remaining 1.5" to be cut perfectly at the 45 to the tip (high school math pays off). I ran this through the saw and then saved the scrap for the trim on the top of the table.
Next I used my chop saw to cut 45s on the 2x4s again to make more of a frame (more appealing and professional looking). Its pretty important to get these as exact as possible as a crooked base does not a good build start.
Then, using my 1x4s, I followed a similar pattern. However, knowing that I wanted these to be 2 1/4" wide I also had to cut some off the back side. I saved that back cut too for the trim at the bottom.
Step 4: Build Base and Posts
Wood glue can be your friend when putting something together that needs to be solid. So, before getting the handy nail gun out, I put glue where the joints would all meet. Then I nailed it together. Once I had the base all solidly together (and let the glue dry a bit), I got out the trusty sander and got it to a nice smooth finish while it would be easier to access all the parts (a helpful wife idea).
With all that done I was ready to put the posts in place. I had decided to use the 1x4s on an angle like this for a few reasons. 1) cut down on the overall weight of the kennel/table, 2) maximize the amount of space in the kennel, and 3) I don't really like the look of overlapping wood and I wanted a cleaner look overall. Hence, the design. Putting it together was a little more challenging this way though. Luckily, I have a handy wife with an extra set of hands (for some reason I only have 2) and we were able to hold them in place while nailing them into the base and each other. This worked really well and I am pleased with how it turned out. There were some small gaps, but I will get to how that was fixed later.
Next came the base board. I needed something for it to rest on. Luckily, I saved some of the scraps from the 1x4 cuts and this worked perfectly. I drew a level line around the whole inside of the base and then just nailed the support in place. Then, I grabbed a scrap of MDF board left over from a different project and cut it to shape. Then I just slid it down into place and nailed it in.
Step 5: Build Walls and Add Caging
Next, I needed to put each of the walls together before putting them in place. This actually required a bit more work than I thought it would. Using the 1x12 for the bottom part of the wall and the 1x4 for the top, I determined how big of a window there would need to be. Then, with that measurement, I cut out the size of caging from the horse fencing. (I used my angle grinder with a cutting disc for this, though bolt cutters would work just as easily for this.)
Then, I laid the caging on the wood and drew marks for where I would need to carve out to have the cage rest inside the wood. Using my dremel tool I carved out the wood so the cage would rest just under the surface of the wood. Then using the steel hanger strips (aka plumber's tape) I screwed the caging into place.
Once finished with each of the walls, I put them into place on the frame and nailed them in. (side note: It is important to measure the bottom of where the wall sits to get the total measurement as the top will not be exact due to warping of the wood or things not being perfectly square. This all gets evened out once the walls are nailed in place.)
Step 6: Make Door
To start the door I had to frame out the top of the door. Again, as mentioned in the last step, measuring from the bottom is the key to getting things the right length, otherwise things start looking weird. With the top support in place I was able to measure out the size for the door.
In order for the door to work smoothly, there needs to be some gaps between the door and the frame. I allowed 1/8" on all sides for this. This meant I subtracted 1/4" from each of the measurements. That done, I cut out the frame for the door. I used the 1x4 for this cut down to 1.5" width. I didn't feel comfortable using the nail gun for this, so I used the wood glue and clamped it all together overnight. Once dry and sanded, I used the same process with the caging for the walls on the opening of the door.
Then, knowing that I didn't want the door to swing inside the kennel, I put in a little door stop at the bottom to keep it from stressing the hinges.
Step 7: Add Top & Bottom Trim
This is where the leftover scrap really shines. Using what was left from the 2x4 cut and the 1x4 cut I added trim around the top of the table and at the base of the bottom. This really added to the overall look.
Step 8: Install Door & Lock
Doors are fun to install... as long as it is done right. To make sure that the gap around the edge of the door was 1/8" I placed some scraps of plexiglass I had left over from my monster costume on the edges and rested the doors on those while I screwed the hinges in place. This worked marvelously.
Then I placed the locking mechanism in place centered on the other side.
Step 9: Put Your Top On
I don't have any pictures of routering the table top. If you've ever done it, its rather simple and really makes it look more professional. My friend let me use his and it turned out great.
This is an important piece to make sure is secured firmly in place. Get the wood glue out and get some good coverage around the whole edge. Then, set the top wood down and make sure it is nice and centered before nailing it in place. This is where it really starts to come together and look awesome.
Step 10: Putty Nail Holes & Sand
Now you need to go through with good wood putty and fill all the nail holes. I also filled in the gaps of the wood on the post to make them invisible once stained.
Once the putty has dried, make sure to sand it down well. Left over putty (or wood glue for that matter) will really change the look of the stain.
Step 11: Wood Condition & Stain
Since I used pine (less expensive) for the whole project, I needed to condition the wood before staining. Without doing this, pine looks really splotchy as it absorbs the stain at different rates. The conditioner stops it from doing this. The stain needs to be applied within about an hour of the conditioner being applied.
Then get staining. The dark walnut stain looked really great on this. The pine absorbed it really well too and so we only had to do one coat to achieve the darkness we were going for. We did end up staining the inside as well which will be obvious in other pictures.
Step 12: Coat of Poly
To keep the stain and the wood protected, I applied polyurethane to the whole kennel/table. I used 2 coats everywhere except the top which got 3 coats. It can be helpful to do a light sanding between coats with a high grit (600) sandpaper. This keeps things nice and smooth.
Step 13: Put Your Animals Inside
Now that it's done, time to introduce the dog to it's new home. She is a little anxious when it comes to change, so it may take her some time to get used to it. It turned out well and I'm please with how close it was to my initial brainstorming.
My 2 year old loved watching the build. He is quite convinced that it is a kennel for him and is quite excited about it. Throughout the process he was always asking if he could get in it, and then would ask me to lock it once in.
I hope you like it. If you do, I would appreciate a vote in the Animals Contest.
Grand Prize in the