Second only to atomic hydrogen, it seems that pallet wood is among the most plentiful resource in a woodworker’s universe. We all get our wood from somewhere, and nearly all small towns have some sort of building supply store, grocery store, anything that ships products in bulk, and those places all have that disposable resource that we can all appreciate and covet. My sweet spot is a local “everything” store. Hardware, building supply, grocery, post office, hair salon, etc etc. They have weekly shipments and while some come on blue or orange pallets, those need to be returned to sender, they sometimes get “disposable pallets”, untreated and sometimes made of hardwood. I think this is an opportunity for free resources that, with a little bit of effort and imagination, can be rehabilitiated into something wonderful; like, say, a spare bedroom… er… I mean a dog house. The concept is simple enough, since most of the pallets I’ve seen have 3 1/2″ boards (~90mm) that are 3/4″ thick (~19mm), I’ve designed this drawing to use ONLY those boards that you don’t destroy trying to get them dismantled, which is harder than you might think, unfortunately. 14 boards across each side of the roof, that’s 28 boards at 24″ (~600mm) long, and a running board 4′ (~1200mm) along the bottom of each. That should work out fine since most pallet boards that I encounter are exactly 4′ long. The roof pitch is 6-on-12, making the angle under the crest 90 degrees exactly.
10 boards for each side, only 18″ (~450mm) long for the sides, with a 3′ (~900mm) stabilizing strap along the bottom. 7 boards for the front and the back, though you can get away with a few less if you estimate the door area before you make the walls, that’s 14 boards there of varying lengths, 21″ strap along this side.
The door is a 1′ by 1′ (~300mm by 300mm) square cut away from the boards with a perfect half circle (radius 6″, ~150mm) on top of it.
It’s your choice where you want the butted-joints to overlap or no, but I do have one caution: I wouldn’t edge-glue these together. For an external structure like this, unless you want to seal it up tighter than Linux’ Security, then I’d recommend leaving at least 1/8″ (6mm) of space between each board. Hardwood or no, pallet wood or no, these boards WILL expand and contract in different cycles, and unless you want the thing pulling itself apart on you, best to leave a little gap. Additional strapping are up to you, as well, how much and how abouts you use fasteners are a matter of preference.
This is a very basic design which could be a great first project for beginning woodworkers. It’s virtually free if you can scrounge the pallets, there are very few challenging cuts, and the boards are almost always whole measurements. The only mitre is optional, and that’s on the top. You could even go with a triangle over the door, rather than a half-circle or roman arch, to make things simple for you. A hammer, nails and a handsaw of your choice could make quick work of this project.
I’m a pet lover, though cats are my favorite companions, the two fiendish monsters we have for house guests are beginning to grow on me… I say this while Grim, our big boy on the left, snores like a saw mill in the armchair behind me and our little girlie Ruby is in the front yard barking at the traffic that DARES infringe my (whom she is obviously trying to WARN) personal space.
I’d love to make such a dog house for them, but they don’t like rain, or snow, or too much wind, or the dark, or anything that disrupt their delicate sensibilities. We let Ruby out for all of 5 minutes on a 10C (~50F) evening and she yipped and squeaked until she was let in. Then TORE through the house, literally left the floor near the bedroom door and actually slid under the covers mid-flight. The poor darling.
Grim, on the other hand, has mastered standing on the threshold of the outside door and peeing into the snowbank, because his paws get too cold walking on the ice. He once escaped, and upon finding him making “warning barks” at a dark object, Sarah thought she’d have to wrestle a blackbear to keep her (7-year-old) puppy safe. It turned out to be a covered snowmobile, which she discovered after the feral animal HID behind my wife for safety.
On the flip side, they are both short-haired brown/black dogs, so being in direct-sunlight is an affront. They will literally sprint from shade to shade to get across the yard, with naps in between, or hide beneath bushes if the sun is remotely shining. This is as low as 15C (~60F). Obviously, I fear for my life. That said, I could build them a dog house, but they’d never use it. They aren’t willing to brave the elements for long enough.
However YOU! YOU could build it! Please do so, should you feel so inclined and let us know how it goes! Are your cute furry creatures as feral and ferocious as ours (obviously) are? Or are they pampered princesses? Does your fur-baby need a floor in their doghouse? A flap/door? Insulation? Drop some comments below and maybe we can draw some inspiration from your pet projects.