After an unexpected pregnancy was drawing near to completion. I decided that I needed a plan for our crazy Jack Russell Charlie so when I was back to work after my paternity leave the misses could chuck him outside for a few hours a day for some peace.
Being small and short haired and he doesn't do well in cold and he doesn't like rain either. I wanted to get him a kennel but they cost a fortune and all seemed flimsy with big open fronts that will let wind blow in.
Seeing as I work at a garage with a stores department we had hundreds of pallets lying about so I decided to build me own with some free wood. That way I could make it how I wanted and build it to last too.
So with my month I had off work I set to in the garage. I had no plan other than the walls being insulated, the doorway not letting wind into the main kennel and the roof being sloped with a big enough flat area for him to climb up and relax in the sun.
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Step 1: Single Pallet Base
I forgot to take a picture of this part but for the base I used a single Euro pallet (EPAL). I repositioned and added more slats to get rid of the gaps and clad the outer edges with more pallet wood. I rounded the edges off and made 5 feet (4 corners and 1 centre) made from pallet wood cut into squares. this was to raise the kennel an inch off the ground to let air get under and prevent any rising damp.
Step 2: Building the Frame
I built the framework of the kennel out of some baton wood I had left over from putting up a picket fence in the garden. I then cladded both the inside and the outside of the frame with pallet wood to make cavity walls. I chamfered the edges of the outside boards, for no reason other than to make it look nicer.
As the wood tended to be full of holes and not very straight edged the walls were full of gaps so I decided to fill the cavities with expanding foam, possibly a bit overkill for a kennel but I decided I was going to build it to last so it'd also help with waterproofing.
This is also the point when I starting to think "This is going to weigh a ton!".
Step 3: The Roof
To start with I battened across the larger roof section and then ran pallet wood planks lengthways. I cut the roof to the desired size with my trusty handsaw and then hammered some corrugated nails between every two planks into the end grains to stop them warping separately.
I supported the larger overhang above the entrance with 3 of the wooden blocks from the pallets.
Step 4: Preping and Painting
After I'd finally finished the kennel (door excluded) it was time for getting some colour on it.
I didn't want it looking like I'd just made it out of pallets so after filling every hole and screw hole I sanded the whole thing with an orbital sander.
After that I painted the outside with Wickes matt black outdoor woodstain paint. I painted the floor and the underside of the kennel with aluminim wood primer and I varnished the inner walls and ceiling.
Step 5: Making and Hanging the Door
This was the part that i was putting off as I didn't really have a plan of action or a clue.
I started by making a frame inside the door opening using some roofing batten I stole off my dad. Getting the angles right with minimal tools and a handsaw was tricky. I then made the 4 outer panels out of pallet wood and chamfered all the edges. I fastened them in situ with glue and brad nails before removing the door to screw them properly.
For the inner window frame I used some left over picket fence slats as they were thinner and had them protruding from the door slightly. This was so I could double glaze when I could locate some free glass/acrylic.
I then once again filled, sanded and painted the wood.
To hang the door a bought some black gate hinges and stainless screws and also some stainless toolbox type clips to keep the door closed. I used cardboard to keep the door in the right place and had to pack out the hinges slightly do to the door sitting slightly proud.
Step 6: Weatherproofing
To waterproof the roof I used some roofing felt I got from a roofer friend that had a spare off-cut. I put it on using a blow torch that was far too small for the job and without and protective gloves. That on top of the fact I didn't really know what I was doing made it quite the task. I have tough hands from working in a garage but I'd suggest gloves as I got a few burns.
Still... It's the pain and struggling that makes you appreciate the end product more.
I will not that it after a few months the felt has started coming away from the under hang. Possibly I didn't get it hot enough or possible I just did a rubbish job. It's nothing that a few felt nails won't fix though.
Step 7: Glazing
In the spirit for making this out of as much free stuff as possible I got hold of some 3mm acrylic from the cousin that works for RAC Auto windscreens. It was a bit thin but it was free so I didn't care.
I used tin snips to make two pieces, a smaller one for the inner window frame and a larger one for the door frame. As the inner frame sits about 10mm forward it gave a nice insulating gap between the two.
I also drilled a few small holes top and bottom for prevent condensation.
Step 8: The Finished Product
After leaving it to dry and the smell of varnish to go me and a friend carried it out to the back garden. It was heavy but not as heavy as I thought it would be seeing as the amount of wood that went into it.
The dog was a bit sceptical at first but after a couple of weeks and after I'd put one of his blankets inside he now happily goes in to eat his bones in comfort and loves climbing on top to bark at the tree he isn't a fan of.
Runner Up in the