Somewhen a friend of mine told me about the IKEA doll beds. She had bought a few of them for her cats. That seemed a good idea to make one of my own. As I had never seen any before, I tried to imagine the dimensions. The final result was that the bed is big enough, even for a small dog. I am aware that cats love small and narrow spaces, but fortunately mine sleeps like a princess.
The bed was made out of a single 3 m long pine board and a scrap piece of thin MDF board. It features mortise and tenon joinery, first time I tried that, dowel joints and a bit of woodcarving.
- 3 m pine board 9,5 x 1,8 mm
- Scrap piece of thin MDF board
- Small square wood trim
- 8 mm dowel rod
- Palm sander
- Pocket hole jig
- Stanley mini flush cut pull saw
- Wood drill bit No. 8
- Sandpaper (80, 100, 150 grit)
Step 1: Cutting the Pieces
I marked the imaginary dimensions on the board and cut the pieces with a jigsaw. Two short boards for head and foot sides and two longer boards for the rail sides. For the legs I cut two pieces at different length, one long for the head legs and one shorter for the foot legs. Then I riped both of them in half to make four legs at the end.
Step 2: Tenons & Mortises
Time to make tenons and mortises. It was my first time I did such a thing and the result turned out to be very good. The joinery was done between the rail sides and legs. To make the tenons, I marked the ends of the side boards where they needed to be cut and did the cuts very carefully with a handsaw.
To make the mortises I marked the tenons patterns on the legs to the desired location. I drilled holes inside those patterns to remove most of the wood and then I cleaned the mortises with a chisel. I did that a bit at a time until I had a nice and tight fit.
Step 3: Making the Frame
The frame was simple to be done. It is a butt joint frame between the short pieces I cut in Step 1 and the rail sides with the tenons. I drilled three holes in each joint to reinforce them with dowels. This also was a visual improvement. I forgot to ckeck for squareness so the frame isn't square enough, but it doesn't seem in the eye.
Step 4: Headboard and Footboard
I cut two pieces of wood, at the actual length between the two legs, a little bit shorter than the frame's width. I kept the peice for the headboard at its own width and ripped the other to make it narrower. The excess wood will be used as part of the headboard.
I marked two curves in each piece trying to be symmetrical. When I was glad with the shape, I cut those curves with the jigsaw. I hand sanded the cuts for the curves to be smoother.
Step 5: Carving the Paw
Carving the paw was the most funny and intresting part of this project. Difficult though, while I haven't real carving tools, nor experience. All and all, a cheap small chisel and a hobby knife. The result was worth the effort.
I started by measuring where the center of the headboard was. From there, I drew a circle and split it in quarters. That helped me to sketch the paw with symmetry. After that, I drew an oval shape outside the circle to define where the carving would be.
When I was done with all that sketching, I marked with the hobby knife the traces of the paw and around the carving area. Thus, I cut the fibers to prevent chipping while carving the paw. This also helped me to remove small chunks of wood between toes. I carved all the way to the outer line with the chisel, trying to maintaine the same depth across the area.
After the carving was finished, I gave it a hand sanding to clean any marks from the chisel and rounding every edge to make it smooth. Excellent!
Step 6: Assembling the Bed
Before I attach the legs onto the bed frame, I drilled holes for some dowels. They were done to the inner sides of the legs and to the head and footboard. The headboard consists of the carved board and the liitle piece that was left from the footboard underneath. I glued every piece to the corresponding legs and then all together to the frame.
Step 7: Adding Rails
I cut a piece of wood to fit it in the middle of the bed. I drilled some pocket holes in each side to add more strength to the bed than if I added only glue. The main weight will be on this board. The rest of the rails is from a square wood trim that I just glued it flush with the top of the middle board.
Step 8: Finishing
This was one of a few times that I did sanding after the final assembly. I sanded every surface with three different grit sandpapers. Where was not possible or difficult to fit my palm sander, I did it by hand. I applied three coats of clear varnish with light sanding between each coat.
I cut a rectangular piece of a thin MDF board at the dimentions of the bed and dropped it in. I could make a small mattress on that MDF to be more bed-ish but I prefered to leave it with an old large pillow and some little blankets for the wintertime. Maybe someday I will make one with foam and a piece of fabric.
Pitsi seems to love her bed. But when summer comes, she changes sleeping place until autumn. My other cat has never even been on it nor a single second. I cannot understand how this is done...
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