|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.
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.
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 ->
Figure 1a. Plywood cut layout.
Figure 1b. Plywood cut layout with dimensions.
Figure 2. Splintered plywood edge that was recut.
Figure 3. Making the angled cuts for the side walls.
Figure 5. Cutting the slots on the tablesaw.
Figure 4. Assembled structure.
Figure 5. Laying out corner pieces.
Figure 6. Corners cut to length and attached.