I made the mistake of buying a cat scratching post that was too small for my cat to use comfortably... So I gave it away (to someone with a kitten) and thought I'd make one for my cat, Dylan.
For materials, I used a pallet that I found in my recent "how to get wood for free" video. I'd use the stringers to make the post, and the slats to make the base. I dismantled and de-nailed the pallet using a crowbar.
Then I used a handplane to flatten the surfaces of the strings for gluing them up to form the post, which would be made from four of them glued together. I glued and clamped them together.
Then I started working on the base which would be hexagonal. I tilted my mitresaw to 30 degrees and set up a stop block so that I could easily make repeatable cuts. With all the pieces cut to length, I could then glue them up using masking tape to keep the pieces together and form the hexagon shape.
I could then trace the internal hexagon shape on to a piece of plywood and cut it out at the bandsaw to create a bottom panel for the base. I glued this inside the hexagon shape.
Then it was time to work on the post again, and unfortunately my glue joints failed as I was working on shaping it with the spoke shave... I had given it several hours to set, however it was too cold in my workshop and also the glue was past it's sell by date...
Rather than salvaging it, I started again using another piece of pallet wood. Unfortunately it wouldn't match the wood on the base, however most of it wouldn't be visible once it was covered in sisal rope anyway so it didn't really matter. I shaped the new post on the tablesaw with the blade tilted to an angle and cut off each corner, then I shaped it in to an oval shape using a hand plane.
I decided to use concrete mix (just add water) to add weight to the base. I was originally planning to use a piece of laminate kitchen worktop which would have worked well, but I had some concrete spare and thought that it would make an interesting design feature.
I sealed the edges of where the hexagon met the base using a gel super glue and then lined the inside of the hexagon with some parcel tape to help stop the moisture getting from the concrete mix in to the wood.
Then I added a couple of screws to the bottom of the post, which would help to anchor the post in the concrete.
I mixed the concrete as per the instructions on the bag, positioned the post in the centre and added the concrete. I screeded off the excess and then vibrated the base by tapping it with a mallet to remove as many of the air bubbles as possible.
Once the concrete was dry, I sanded the base (wooden parts and concrete) with my orbital sander.
Next, I made a top cap for the post to hide the end grain. I used a scrap piece of sapele for this, glued it in place and weighed it down with a brick until the glue dried. Then I sanded the edges flush with the post.
I added a Rustic Pine Briwax to the post, the base, and the concrete and buffed it out with a cloth.
And finally it was time to add the sisal rope. I picked up 30m of this natural fibre rope on amazon for around £7, and used about half of it on the post. I secured it at the top and bottom with some roofing nails (which would face the wall to ensure that my cat doesn't catch his claws in it) and wrapped it tightly around the post. I considered gluing it with hot glue but it wasn't necessary, as the fibres of the rope when pulled tightly next to each other hold in place pretty well.
That was the scratching post finished, I was happy with how it turned out despite one or two issues while making it. And my cat Dylan absolutely loves using it. There's some footage of him using it on the Rag 'n' Bone Brown Facebook page if you want to see.
In this video I make a simple panel cutting jig for my tablesaw the DW745 using salvaged materials.
In this video, my brother Alan visits my workshop bringing with him some scraps of sheet materials found in his shed - some pieces of various sizes of MDF, ply and chipboard.
Alan wanted a cat house for his two cats George & Jasper, and he already had an idea for the design he wanted, so we first did a quick drawing in SketchUp to figure out how to make best use of the materials that we had to create that design.
The biggest piece we had was a piece of 18mm chipboard, so we cut that in half and used the two pieces to create the front and back panels of the house. We added a taper to each side of the panels. This wasn't in Alan's original design but I thought it would make for a more interesting look. We marked up where the step would be too, and made all the cuts with the circular saw, using a jigsaw to finish off the cuts where the circular blade would not reach.
Next we needed to cut the side panels to size, and we needed to cut an angle on the ends of each panel to match the angle of the taper on the front and back panels. We did that by measuring the angle with a bevel guage and tilting the tablesaw blade to match the angle.
Next we cut the central shelf out of a piece of MDF. The shelf was supported by the top and back panels on one side, but not on the other, so we marked up where the shelf would be with a pencil, and added cleats to the inside to support it using glue and screws.
Then all of the panels were assembled using glue and brad nails.
Alan wanted a scratching pad on the largest side panel, so we wrapped sisal rope around a piece of plywood and used hot glue to secure it. This would later be attached to the side panel with screws from the inside of the house.
Next we cut entrance holes/windows in to the front and side panels using a jigsaw.
To hide the chipboard appearance of the front panel, I re-sawed some strips of spruce to about 5mm thick on the bandsaw, and then used these pieces as cladding - glued and brad nails attached them to the front panel. It would have made much more sense to cut the entrance holes after the cladding had been added - but nevermind!
Next we cut the edges of the cladding pieces to the shape of the front panel using the circular saw and a straight edge.
Alan mounted some fur (from a fur throw that he'd purchased) to the step and the top panel with spray glue. The glue wasn't particularly effective on the material, so I ended up adding trim pieces to secure it using some scraps of sapele. The top panel didn't need any trim pieces to secure it, as it was nailed directly to the top with the material overhanging the panel and "tucked in".
Next I sanded the whole house with the orbital sander and did some hand sanding around the entrance holes to soften the sharp edges.
I used a piece of melamine for the bottom panel, this was cut to size at the tablesaw and screwed on to the bottom.
I added some pieces of sapele trim to make doorsteps to the entrances, and a skirting board at the bottom just for aesthetics.
Finally, I made a sign saying "George & Jasper" using a wood burning iron on a piece of spruce. This was mounted to a piece of sapele to create a border.
The cat house was a really fun project, and it was very inexpensive to make as basically everything was scrap material (apart from the sisal rope and fur throw)..
George & Jasper love their new home as you can see in the photos!
In this video I start by finishing off the arcs for the lid that I started making in the previous video. I cut one of them in half on the bandsaw to give me 2x thinner ones (for each end) and one wide one (for the middle of the lid).
I needed to cut a rebate joint in to one side of each end arc and both sides of the central arc. I did this by putting my trim router upside down in the vise to use as a makeshift router table - which worked well.
Then I glued and clamped the arcs in place.
I started cutting some pieces of pine for the lid while I waited for the glue to dry. I cut them in to thin strips, and planed them to the same thickness. I also cut a rebate in to the end of each piece on the tablesaw which would then fit inside the rebate of the sapele arcs.
I glued the pine cladding to the lid, and once the glue was dry I used a handplane to get the pine flush with the sapele.
I fitted an old piano hinge that was salvaged from a dropleaf table to attach the lid. I routed out a small savity in the top of the box to accept the hinge so that the lid would sit on the box without any gaps.
I secured the hinge to the box with screws, and then the lid to the hinge with hot glue which allowed my to position it where I wanted it, then open the lid and secure with screws.
Then I used the belt sander to bring the edges of the lid flush with the box, and sanded the rest of the box with the random orbit sander and detail sander.
I used Rustic Pine Briwax on the whole box, to give it bring out the grain and make it look older, and I thought that this would also help the pine from turning less orange and more brown over time.
I added a couple of handles to the sides of the box, and a latch to the front of the box - I got both of these from eBay.
That's the box finished and I am really happy with it.
In this video I start making a blanket box in the style of a treasure chest using a donated slab of sapele and some pieces of pine from my workshop.
I started by drawing up a 3D model of what I wanted to make in SketchUp.
Then I ripped the sapele in to 40mm thick strips, thickness planed them so that they were 40mm x 40mm, and then cut a 12mm x 12mm rebate joint along the full length of each piece on the tablesaw.
I then cut 45 degree mitres at the mitre station to create 3x rectangles with rebates in them : 1 for the bottom of the box, one for the top of the box and one for the lid. I also cut upright corner pieces to form the box out of the same lengths of sapele.
Then I could assemble the rectangles using glue and tape, and a couple of brad nails.
I glued to corner posts in place to form the box, keeping the edges as flush as possible,
Then I cut a bottom panel for the box from some oak veneered plywood, and that was glued and nailed in to the rebate joint at the bottom of the box.
Next I started to rip lots of pine to clad the box, I used the bandsaw to resaw some of it in half to give me more material and each piece of cladding ended up around 12mm thick,
Then I could glue and brad nail the cladding from the inside, and it sits within the rebate joints - nice and tidy.
With the box assembled, I needed to start working on the lid. I started by using a salvaged piece of a drop leaf table top to draw an arc on to some more sapele that would fit within the rebate joints of the lid rectangle. I cut out the arcs on the bandsaw and shaped them on the bench top sander.
Last in a short series about re-modelling my small workshop space.
In this video I make a simple box out of some salvaged OSB to store wood. Simple butt joints, glued and screwed, and I added some castors to the bottom just because I had a spare set which will be useful if I ever need to move it around.
Then I start work on my second tool wall. The old wall wasn't insulated and it was looking really messy, and as I had enough salvaged OSB to clad the wall I took the opportunity to insulate the walls and start from scratch. I used plasterboard on the lower half of the wall and made some simple skirting boards out of pallet wood. I filled gaps with decorators caulk and then painted everything with white satin paint to make the walls clean and bright.
At the end of the video I talk about a few other changes I made - clamp storage, tool wall etc. and finally show some photos of the new workshop space.