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The Bark’s DIY First Place Winner—Advanced Level


DIY Doggy House - Shasta Style - Right Side

Laying out and cutting the sides:

Use the pattern to lay out the sides on the sheet of Baltic Birch, keeping in mind the bottom needs to also come from this sheet. Lay out one side and the bottom parallel to the grain and one side perpendicular to the grain to fit it all in. Scribe the sides against the pattern with a pencil and rough out with the jig saw. Use the side pattern to locate the door on the "front" side panel, scribe, then rough out with the jig saw. Clamp the side pattern in place, using at least three clamps so there are always two holding it in place while moving the third out of the way of the router. Rout all the edges, including the door opening. Remove the pattern and make another side, but without cutting the door opening. Place these sides together to check that they match exactly. Using a router and ⅛” round-over bit, rout all inside edges of both sides and the door. Then use a ¼” round-over bit to rout all outside edges. The reason for two different sizes of router bits is that the plywood is only ½” thick and if the ¼” round-over bit has routed a side there is little bearing guide surface left for the other side and a center ridge will be left which must be hand sanded smooth. For the inside, ⅛” is enough edge relief, but the outside needs a smoother, more rounded look.

Making the kerfing pattern:

Now to make a pattern for gluing the kerfing (which we will make soon) to the side panels. Start with another cut out and routed panel like the left side panel without the door, cut from ½” plywood of a lesser grade. From this pattern we'll mark and remove a strip around the edge where the top goes, allowing for a reveal of ⅝”, ¼” for two layers of the top, and ½” for the width of the kerfing (for a total of 1⅜”). With a compass set to 1⅜", scribe a line around the edge - this represents the inside edge of the kerfing and the outside edge of our pattern to be. Locate and mark the two lower 1⅛" by 1" braces. The rear brace begins at the point the curve of the top begins to straighten out and become parallel to the bottom edge.  Draw a line perpendicular to the bottom edge in line with the front of the rear bottom brace - this marks the end of the kerfing in the rear. Measure up from the bottom edge 1" and mark and mark again at 1½”.  Draw two lines parallel to the bottom edge across to the curved front edge - the space between these lines represents the floor of the puppy camper. In the lower front quadrant, scribe a line ⅝" from the edge (this represents the outside of the top) to find the point where it intersects the top line of the floor. Add 1/16" above the floor to allow for paint so the floor will slide in without binding. This point, 1/16" above the top of the floor and on the scribed line representing the outside edge of the top, determines the location of the front lower brace. This point is the bottom left corner of the brace. Draw a line from the edge through this point. Since the edge here is curved it will not be perpendicular to this edge, but will bisect the angle formed by the curve.

Carefully cut the scribed strip on the bandsaw, starting with the two short terminal cuts then around the perimeter. File and sand to the line. Since this is merely the form for bending the kerfing it need not be as perfect as the edge of the templates for routing, but it should be close. When you clamp this pattern to the inside of a side there should remain a space that is even and follows the shape of the side closely. The drawings are made from the actual patterns I used, both the side pattern and the kerf pattern, with details filled in, and reduced in size to fit a normal page.



PDF: Download a PDF including instructions and sketches.

Michael has been a woodworker for over 45 years. He began to make vintage camper birdhouses for fun, prompted by an avid interest in bird photography. Now he sells his birdhouses and dog houses on Etsy.


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