|Cut Outer Wall Panels to Size
side walls, the front and rear walls consist of a 5/8" T1-11 plywood
exterior, an insulated inner frame made of 1-1/2" material, and an
inner "skin" made from 1/2" plywood. However, there are a lot
more angles and a door cutout to contend with. But, that's all part
of the fun...
Start by ripping a piece of T1-11 plywood to match the width of
the base with side walls attached. This should be about 30".
From this piece, cut two pieces that are about 36" long (Figure 1).
These two pieces will form the front and rear outer wall panels.
Clamp the two pieces together and layout the cut lines that will
form the peak of the dog house (Figure 2). The angled cuts will
start at about 23-3/4" from the bottom of the panel - the height of
the side walls. Once the lines are drawn, clamp a straight-edge in
place that is offset the proper distance for your radial saw and
commence cutting. Tip: To make the grooves in the front and
back panels line up, clamp the two pieces together back-to-back with
exterior sides facing out.
What if you cut the panels and then find that the base of the
angled cuts doesn't quite line up with the side walls? (Don't tell
anyone, but that happened to me). Well, that's easily solved by
clamping the panels in place with the angled cuts in the proper
position and then trimming off material at the bottom so the sides
and front/back all line up. It's better if the front/back pieces are
a bit short vs long because it's easier to rip the rectangular side
pieces to size on the table saw than it is to trim the front/back
pieces to length with a hand-held radial saw. I hope that makes
Establishing Roof Position
Because the dog house design features a removable roof, the
position of the roof must be established before the front and back
inner wall frames can be constructed. The idea is that the roof
should fit snugly against the top of the wall frames (Figure 3).
So, go build the roof and then come back
Framing the Walls
Ok, you've built the roof -- right? Now attach the back wall to
the side walls with a couple of screws and place the roof on top
(Figure 4). Crawl into the house and use a pencil to trace along the
edges where the back wall meets the side walls and roof. Now
temporarily attach the front wall with a couple of screws and remove
the back wall that you just traced. Repeat the tracing process on
the front wall and remove that wall when done. You now have the
outer framing outline traced on both end walls. (In a perfect world,
the outlines would be identical, but what are the chances of that?)
With the wall panels lying flat on the workbench, measure out and
cut the framing pieces. Start with the two vertical studs. Cut the
upper end at an angle to match the pitch of the roof using the wall
panel as a template to mark the cut line. While you're at it, cut
the lower end of each upper framing stud at the same angle. Put each
vertical stud in position (using the trace marks), mark the bottom
cut-off line, and cut to finished length. Put in a few screws to
secure the vertical studs to the wall panel. Tip: leave some of the
pencil trace line showing to give yourself a little wiggle room. Cut
two horizontal studs that that fit snugly between the two upright
studs. One is a bottom stud and the other goes near the top of the
One way to mark the cut lines on the upper end of the top angled
studs (the peak) is to put the top stud in position with the
previously-cut lower end mated against the vertical stud. Now put a
framing square against the bottom of the wall panel with the other
end projecting up to bisect the traced peak. Mark the upper stud
where the square crosses over it. This is your cut line. Set up your
miter saw and cut the stud (maybe just a hair long). Cut the other
stud and see how they line up. Trim to final size as necessary. With
any luck, the two studs will be the same length and meet perfectly
in the middle (not that anyone other than you will ever notice).
At this point, attach all of the back wall framing pieces to the
inside face of the T1-11 wall panel. I found that toe-screwing
the studs to the panel from the inside (so as not to mar the
exterior), with clamps in place to secure the studs, worked pretty
well. Insert insulation panels into the upper and lower cavities
formed by the framing (Figure 6). Mark and cut the inner
plywood panel. You should be able to lay the plywood on top of the
framing and trace around the framing to establish the cut lines.
Screw the inner panel to the framing and then screw the completed
wall assembly to the house. Three screws per side should be more
Hold off on attaching the framing for the front wall because you
need to create a doorway first.
Figure 1. Cutting front/rear panels to rough length.
Figure 2. Ready to create the peak.
Figure 3. Exploded view of roof and rear wall frame.
Figure 4. Side view of roof with front wall removed.
Figure 5. Close-up view
Figure 6. Back wall with framing and insulation in place.