Build a Dog House

Building the Bowser: The Walls

Intro | Walls | Floor and Roof | Finishing and Assembly

Making The Cuts

The six panels making up the dog house are cut from a single sheet of plywood as shown in the figure to the right. To make it easier to haul the plywood home, I had the lumber guy at Home Depot cross-cut the plywood into three sections: 1) the front and back, 2) the two sides, and 3) the floor and roof. The floor/roof section was the largest, measuring about 3 feet by 4 feet.

Unfortunately, the guy did a real hack job with the cuts, leaving the edges badly splintered. This is what happens when the blade is dull and one pulls the saw through the cut as quickly as possible. (I suspect the guy was a butcher on the side). As a result, I had to recut some of the edges, losing a couple inches in the process. This was done on my tablesaw using a sharp thin-kerf combination blade.

Side Walls

The side walls are the trickiest parts to cut because they are angled along the top.  I suggest cutting them first because it's easier to mark the exact height of the front and back walls once the side walls are done. I made the angled cuts using a hand-held circular saw with a spacer board clamped in position the appropriate distance from the cut line (about 2" in my case). I got a little sloppy towards the end of one of these cuts and had to redo it - another reason to hold off on cutting the front/back walls.

Front and Back Walls

Once the side walls are cut, lay them flat on the work table and pencil in lines for the slots set back from the front and rear edges by 1-1/2". The width of the slots should be just slightly wider than the plywood (5/8" in my case) to allow a little wiggle room. With the layout lines in place, you can then measure the height of the front and back walls. Keep in mind that because the sides are angled, the height of these walls can be no higher than the side wall height at the downhill side of each slot. I found that it worked best to cut the front/back walls slightly higher initially and then cut them to final height once the slots are all cut and the walls are slid into place.

Cutting the Slots

The four walls have slots cut into them to allow them to be slid into place for quick assembly and disassembly. Each slot is set back from the edge by about 1-1/2" (the exact distance should equal the thickness of the corner supports) and extends half the height of the wall. As mentioned above, they should be cut slightly wider (say 1/16") than the width of the plywood to prevent binding. Because the front and rear walls slide downward into position, their slots are cut into the lower half of the panel and matching slots on the side walls are cut into the upper half. Tip: measure the half-way point of the front/rear walls from the bottom if the panels were cut slightly higher initially as described earlier.

After laying out the cut lines for the slots, I opted to cut as much of each slot as possible using the table saw. This allowed for the straightest possible cuts along most of the length of each slot. Factoring in the curve of the saw blade, I had to stop about 1-1/2" from the end of the slot and then finish the cut with a jig saw.

Corner Supports

Once the slots are cut, assemble the structure by sliding the front and back walls down into the mating slots in the side walls. If you made the slots slightly oversize - as instructed - the pieces should slide together nicely. If not, better get the sander out...

Create the corner supports by cutting two pieces of 2x4 to rough height - one for the back and one for the front. Then rip the two pieces in half to form four square pieces that are approximately 1-1/2" on a side. Tip: set a board on edge and use its thickness to set the rip width. Place each piece into its intended corner (perhaps with knots and other imperfections facing in) and mark the cut angle by tracing along the edge of the angled side. Then cut each piece to length using a miter saw. Attach each corner piece to its respective front/back wall using a couple of wood screws with the screws going from the plywood into the solid corner piece. Attach the corner pieces to the side walls in the same manner (these screws will be removed to disassemble the house).

Next: Floor and Roof ->



Cutting out the parts from a sheet of plywood
Figure 1a. Plywood cut layout.


Dog house plywood cutting diagram.
Figure 1b. Plywood cut layout with dimensions.


Ragged plywood edge from Home Depot butcher
Figure 2. Splintered plywood edge that was recut.

Cutting the angled side walls
Figure 3. Making the angled cuts for the side walls.


Cutting slots on table saw
Figure 5. Cutting the slots on the tablesaw.


Slotted wall assembly
Figure 4. Assembled structure.


Laying out corner supportsFigure 5. Laying out corner pieces.


Four coners cut to length and attached

Figure 6. Corners cut to length and attached.

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