Sometimes things that seem simple, turn out to be more of a challenge that we expected, and such was the case with Dash's new bed. Dash is an 8 week old beagle puppy who is growing up in an urban environment and his owners are doing their utmost to provide him with all the things a puppy needs to have and learn as they grow, and one important item is a bed, a place that a dog knows is secure. A place they can go and retreat to.
I checked out sizing for Beagles and settled on a size that looked suitable. I checked the internet for designs and was completely awestruck by the numbers and varieties of dog beds. Check it out for a moment, it's crazy. What I did not see was a design that I had in my head ... many similar but nothing the same, so this would be another "scratch build". It needed to have an upper frame to hold a cushion or some sort of bedding, and I wanted the whole bed to be off the floor to make it easier to clean around. It also needed to sturdy enough for an adult to sand on because I just know, someone ... somewhere well end up using it as step to get something out of reach, or change a light bulb, so it needs to be sturdy, strong and safe.
I started off making the base which is not unlike what you would have in your kitchen with a toe kick under the cabinets. The purpose of this was, to help make cleaning easier, but also to give the bed at least some elements of design without going overboard. I also wanted to have a place where the dog could enter and leave, like a doorway, but it would need to have rounded corners to help discourage any gnawing the puppies often do, and to make it a bit safer with no sharp upper corners.
After collecting the wood, I started off with the base.I ended up using pine for this because that is what I had on hand. Putting it together, I could have used pocket holes, but I have found pine a bit soft and sometimes the screws strip to ended up using my Dowelmax jig which would give a nice strong, hidden joint.
Once the base was made, I next needed to make the upper carcass, but before any assembly I needed to cut the passageway for the door on my bandsaw. Once that was done and sanded nicely I used my doweling jig to attach the sides in the same manner as the base. I love using dowels, they are strong, easy to use a I don't have to worry about trying to match pocket hole blanks after the assembly. What I did need to do after assembly was to ease the edges on the top frame which I did with my trim router and a 3/8 Freud round-over bit.
I also needed to make a rabbet around whole base of the upper unit so that it would fit nicely over top of the plywood base. I cut the rabbet using my Freud Adjustable Rabbeting bit and took my time and went around the entire base, then checked the sizing ... it was a good fit, I just needed to round over the edges of the plywood, glue it them together and tack them with some 18 gauge air nails.
I finished the bed with Osmo, for a couple of reasons, 1) it's a safe product to use even for wooden toys for children, which means if the dog does chew on any of the wood, it won't be harmful to him and 2) the odour from Osmo 3054 is very mild, in fact many people even like the smell of it, it's a bit perfumy, certainly not overwhelming like some finishes that off-gas for days and even weeks after leaving rooms smelly and even unpleasant for some. In the end, the bed turned out great, I think it will be a perfect fit for the dog and he was even sleeping in it before he left ...
Copyright Colin Knecht