Project #1 Newfie sized dog bowl holder

For my first real project I thought I would build something for another new addition to the family, our dog Willie. 

I had looked online quite a bit for a dog bowl holder that I could purchase.  Either they were ugly as sin, or so expensive I would have had to take a second mortgage on my home.  This seemed a perfect opportunity for me to try out my new tools and my new confidence.

The project seemed pretty easy.  I found a design on a website that seemed to me to be pretty easy.  It basically called for 1 sheet of 3/4 inch plywood and some corner molding.  Seems pretty easy right?

Thinking this project would be  a piece of cake, I hoped in Gary Bluesy (that is my Ford 150’s nickname) and headed out to the Home Depot.  Finding the 3/4 inch plywood was no problem at all.  Now all I needed to do was find corner molding…. whatever the heck that is.  Luckily the nice folks at Home Depot do a fairly decent job of labeling their molding and I was able to find some stain ready corner molding fairly easily.  I put it all in my cart, paid, packed it into Gary Bluesy and headed home.

Cutting the plywood was pretty easy and straightforward (the cuts turned out to not be so straight but it worked out).  As a birthday gift a couple of years ago my Father bought me a Craftsman circular saw.  The perfect tool for ripping these sheets of plywood (thanks again Dad!) 

Now that the plywood was cut it was time to assemble the box.  The original plans called for a square box with the corner molding on all of the sides.  However my lovely girlfriend was concerned that with Willies big feet he would be able to get close enough to the bowls…. So, I decided to cut an arc in the wood to allow Willies feet to slide under the bowl holder while eating.  This was actually easier than I thought.  I just tied a string to a pencil and nailed it to my workbench, then slid the board around until i got the arc that I wanted.  Cutting it out…. is a different story all together.

To cut the arc I decided to try my brother in laws bandsaw that I let him store in the basement.  This bandsaw is about the oldest thing in my house and it didn’t really feel like cutting any wood on this day.  I decided to try this old jig saw that my Dad had passed down to me(thanks yet again Dad!)  This thing…. had some issues.   For one, it didn’t really feel like turning of after I killed the power.  Two, the blade in it might have been older than the bandsaw.  Anyway, I struggled through it and after a bit of sanding, the arc actually turned out pretty nice.

Assembling the box at this point was pretty easy.  I basically put it together and nailed it with my brad nailer.  The top of the bowl holder has two hole cutouts for the bowls to sit.  The instructions mentioned using a router to cut the holes.  I was in luck!  I had a brand new router!!!  Well, being that the router was brand new and I had no idea what I was doing.  I didn’t exactly know which bit to use to cut a hole out of plywood.  Should be simple right?  WRONG!!  The first two bits I tried the damn router kicked back so hard it nearly flew out of my hands!  Finally I think I found the right bit, however it went so slow and got so hot that it actually started the saw dust under the bowl on fire!!!  After the small sawdust fire I decided to give up on the router.  I decided at that point to go back to my trusty jig saw….. The jigsaw wasn’t much easier and after about 2 minutes of cutting the old blade snapped right in half. 

My only option now was to head back to the Home Depot and buy some new jigsaw blades.  While I was there, I found a jig for cutting holes with a jigsaw!  Perfect!!!  I take everything home and am visibly excited to try my new jigsaw hole jig.  After about 45 minutes of trying to figure out the damn jig I just gave up.  I would just eyeball it…. how hard could it be?  The holes turned out ok, not perfect, but the dog bowls hide them anyway.

One of the last steps of this project was to add the corner molding.  This I knew was not going to be easy.  Right away I noticed a big problem… the corner molding I purchased was only about 3/4″ wide… just enough to cover half of each corner of the box.  I figured I would make the mitre cuts and get them perfect then go and buy some larger corner molding and copy the angles.  Again… easier said than done.  After about 2 hours and 100 different mitre cuts, I was able to get the angles correct.  I ran BACK to the Home Depot again and bought the proper corner molding. 

After assembling everything I needed to pick a finish.  The instructions called for a wood conditioner and a stain.  After all the issues I had on this project, the thought of attempting my first stain job was too much and I painted the bowl holder the same color as part of the kitchen.

All in all the project turned out very nice.  It’s not perfect, but then again Willie doesn’t seem to mind.

Here is a link to the project http://www.gad.net/NewfRelated/BowlHolder.html

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