Introduction: Curved Transport Box for Small Animals
This is a 2 compartment curved box that I originally designed and built for a friend, for him to transport his Ferrets to and from the fields. Here in the UK controlling wild Rabbit numbers using Ferrets is a popular method, although I understand that it is not permitted, and is actually an illegal method in the United States. However, this box is also suitable for transporting most pet rodents such as: Guinea Pigs (Cavies), Rabbits, rats, and Chinchillas, etc. and my friend has also used his box to transport; homing and roller Pigeons, Quails, Partridge, young Pheasants, small poultry such as Bantams, and small breeds of Ducks.
Because the box is curved, it sits nicely on the hip and is easily carried moderate distances; I have carried it more than 4 miles over hilly open fields, ditches, hedges, rocks and a low cliff, containing 3 live Ferrets in one section and 30+ purse nets, pegs, cords and other required bits & pieces in the other section.
The box is made from 9mm thick exterior plywood, and 4mm thick exterior plywood.
The ends, top, bottom, internal panel and access door are made from the 9mm thick exterior plywood.
The curved sides (inner and outer) are made from 4mm thick plywood.
The outer curve of the box has a radius of 36 inches, and the inner curve has a radius of 24 inches. The box ends are 14 inches high X 12 inches wide.
You will also need approximately 16 feet of: planed 1 X1, or 1 inch quadrant moulding, or 1 inch Scotia moulding for the internal sub-frames ..... I used what I had to hand which were odd pieces of triangular moulding, and a pallet plank ripped down to 1 X1.
I used approximately: qty 50 of 1 inch X No6, A2 stainless countersunk wood screws, about 2 ounces of 3/4 inch copper panel pins, qty 24 off 5/8 No 4 A2 stainless steel pan-head wood screws, 18 inches of brass piano hinge, 2 brass catches, 2 large fencing staples, and Polyurethane waterproof wood glue.
Step 2: A Quick Lesson in Jigsaw and Reciprocating Saw Blades.
It is essential that you use the correct type of jigsaw or reciprocating saw blade to make an accurate cut.
Step 3: Cutting the Access Door Holes.
I will be using both a reciprocating saw and jigsaw during the component cutting for this box. However, only a jigsaw is really required; I am using the reciprocating saw for only the plunge cuts that are required for the door openings; A long jigsaw blade that cuts on both the up and the down stroke can be used for plunge cuts.
I would have normally provided a starting point for the Jigsaw blade by drilling a hole of about 12mm diameter. However, I want to use the timber that I cut out of the access holes, to make the actual doors. So I have used a plunge technique for the first cuts to each doorway. I have used my cordless reciprocating saw, but could have just as easily use a Jigsaw; you need a fairly long blade to accomplish the plunge cut.
As with all power tools, follow the manufacturers safety instructions, and only continue with a technique such as this if you are confident enough to do so. Of course practising on a few offcuts before you start on the real thing will help you considerably: Do not attempt this technique unless you are fully conversent with your power saw and are confident enough to do this.
It is essential that the material you are cutting is well supported, and well clamped to ensure accurate cutting.
Step 4: The Ends and Centre Partition.
Step 5: The Outer Skins.
Step 6: The Access Doors.
The next job was to establish which way would be the most effective layout for the access doors to open. So a quick mock up was done for marking out and reference photo was taken.
Hinges at the centre, catches to the outside; this layout was chosen for those slow days when out ferreting allowing the Ferreter so sit comfortably on the box top .
The original pieces that where cut out from the box top were marked out to allow the piece of piano hinge, and the catch to be fitted. A doubler made from 1/4 thick plywood, with a 1/2 inch over lap was allowed for on the two sides, and the catch end, the hinge end was cut back to allow fitting the hinge. The doubler was then glued up using polyurethane adhesive and clamped up.
As you can see, I have the box's carcass made, and the access doors fitted.
It's now time to think about ventilation for the ferrets. After consulting my ferreting friend: Bodger, it was decided to drill 2 rows of 3 holes on either end, and to drill a single row of holes along the centre of the outside radius skin.
I chose a 1 inch diametre Bimetal hole saw to make the holes: I much prefer using holesaws to spade drills, or auger bits.
The box is now ready for a final sanding, and finishing inside and out with a suitable wood stain and a few coats of hard wearing gloss varnish.