FINALLY! After set-backs and mistakes, this piece of chic doggy feeding goodness is complete and ready for it’s test run. And although I’m not a toot your horn kind of person – TOOT TOOT baby!
So, as always, it’s best to start at the beginning. I had gained my inspiration from Pinterest – check out this post if you need a recap. And then it was off to my favorite barn wood lumber dealer for the perfect piece of barn wood for this project. Who is this amazing source of cultured, historical barn wood? Me and the Keedysville grist mill stash that we have slowly been using for various projects.
While it didn’t start out being the prettiest girl at the party, she will undergo a little makeover and soon all the boys will be in the yard. Or at least at the dog feeder. But first, I needed to remove the nails that would be in the way of my saw cuts.
I may have struggled for a small period of time…
So I called in the big guns. And by big guns, I mean the nearest available person with upper body strength. Cue Kurt. He wasn’t busy.
After he pulled the nails out with his pinky finger, I allowed him to return to his fun and games. I moved onto cutting the board…and had to call Kurt back to help me balance out the board.
I cut the board 52″ long and 11.5″ wide – this was enough space for 3 large dog dishes but obviously that could be adjusted. Safety Hint: when working with older boards, check and double check that you will not be cutting through nails or old hardware because it will cause the saw to react in a negative fashion which may result in a hospital visit or lost limb AND it will damage your saw.
When I was looking at which end of the board to cut and which end to keep, I looked for the end that had a lot of character but would be safe for the pups.
This end was the winner and I knew with some minor sanding it would be ideal. After cutting and over-analyzing the board’s features and flaws, it was time to position and draw out the circle cuts for the dog bowls.
Make sure that your dog bowls have a “lip” – this allows the bowl to drop into the cut hole and also allows for removal of the bowl without moving the entire feeder.
DIY Mistake #2 (#1 was thinking that this project would be easy): I measured the smallest part of the bowl and didn’t allow room for the tapered edge of the bowl to fit through the opening. As you will see in a step or two, that meant going back multiple times to shave a “little more” off of the hole to allow the bowl to drop easily into the opening.
The Fix: Using a piece of paper and pencil, measure the opening just inside of the bowl “lip”, this allows for the bowl to drop but also provides enough of an edge for the “lip” to secure the bowl in the feeder.
Onto the tools, next up was the hole saw. I used a 3 1/4″ hole saw bit on the ole’ Dewalt. It is necessary to have a little patience and don’t “force” the hole saw bit through the wood (especially tough older wood) because you will break off “teeth”. This could result in an awkward conversation with your husband who was nice enough to loan you the hole saw bit. You have been forewarned.
This is a starting point for your jigsaw to make the final hole cuts. If you have ever operated a jig saw before, it is very important to wear glasses because of the amount of dust that flies into your eyes and causes curse words to stumble from your mouth. Accidentally on purpose. Jig saws are also an excellent arm workout.
Check the blade and tension with the jig saw unplugged, plug that bad boy in, and then jig away. Everything went well until I figured out that the hole wasn’t big enough to drop the bowl into.
Yeah!! This process should have been very straight forward and simple but my measuring mistake (not the first and certainly not the last) cost me in time and effort. Learn from me people.
Now, it was onto the metal base. I used a Pinterest link that I mentioned in this post for the required material list. Of course, I neglected to make some final measurements and went into this part of the project without a clue.
DIY Mistake #3: Measure the wood and make sure to account for and make adjustments for metal brackets, braces, and tees. For instance, the tees that are required to join the steel pipe together measure at 2″ – adding an additional 2″ to whatever amount of steel pipe you have cut. This means that the wood measurements and the metal measurements will not be the same.
The Fix: Have your wood measurements ready and draw out your pipe diagram to map the different angles, pieces, and adjustments. Also, remember to take the map with you when you shop for the parts.
My first stop was Lowe’s and I now know that this is the worst place to buy any type of steel pipe. I wanted to go with black steel pipe because it is less expensive than galvanized and it didn’t have to be painted. As per karma, Lowe’s only had 2 of the parts that I needed and they were ridiculously expensive (I needed 8 flanges that would have cost $13 each). They did have a smaller size pipe on clearance…but only 2 of those as well. So Kurt and I ventured to Pagen and Fagan, the local hardware store in Shippensburg. That poor man had no clue what he was getting when I walked in the door.
He cut a large length of 3/4″ black steel pipe the length of the board (refer to DIY Mistake #3 for the correct way to handle this measuring fail), the height of the board, and 2 supports for the sides. It took a little bit of time (you can see how thrilled Kurt is by this whole process based on the above picture) and just as I was getting ready to pay…I realized that I needed to have the pipe cut again BECAUSE I neglected to map out my metal base.
Sigh. The hardware guy then informed me that the lengths that I now needed were impossible with the above cut and thread machine. Argh. Wisely, he suggested the pre-cut pipe called threaded nipples as a solution. Needless to say, the 6 additional pieces of pipe that he cut, were not needed. Again, please learn from my dumb mistakes.
The final breakdown of the parts needed goes a little something like this:
- long piece of pipe for “crossbar” – this should be approximately 4″-5″ shorter than your actual board length measurement
- 8 upright support pieces aka threaded nipples – this can be adjusted based on the height of the dog (for my labs, I have 4 – 6″ nipples and 4 – 5.5″ nipples because the store didn’t have enough of the 6″ – you can be creative with the support piece height just make sure to have an even number of supports, either 4 or 8 of the same size)
- 4 small midway cross bar pieces – this should be 1/10 the width of your board, for instance, my board was approx. 11.5″ and I bought 4 – 1.5″ threaded nipples for the midway cross bar pieces. Because there are 3 tees involved with this piece, you need to account for the 2″ difference with each piece plus any overhang of the board.
- 8 floor flanges
- 6 tees
**All of my parts were for 3/4″ pipe – make sure to get the correct size based on the pipe size that you are going to be using**
My grand total for all of the parts including cutting and threading of the pipe was…
And to think that the prices at Lowe’s were 4X the price of this local hardware store – yikes.
Moving onto the assembly, first I put together the side supports. You will need 4 flanges, 3 tees, and 4 upright support pieces for each side.
- Create 2 separate long pipes using a tee and 2 upright support pieces (this should be a straight pipe).
- Then screw in the smaller threaded nipples into the remaining tee openings on each of the long pipes.
- Create an H shape by connecting the 2 long pipes with another tee in the middle.
- Screw on flanges to each of the upright pipe ends.
It should look a little something like this:
Once you have the 2 sides assembled, simply screw the long length of cut pipe into the middle tee on the side supports. It was easier for me to place the side onto the floor and screw the pipe in vertically.
Before you tighten every part down using your he-woman muscles, check to make sure that the board and metal base are the correct size for each other (if they aren’t the correct size and you’ve tightened too much, it will be almost impossible to remove the pieces. Trust me – Kurt thought I was taking steroids because he couldn’t “break” the pipe pieces apart without a vise and pliers.
My DIY Mistake #3 created a dilemma during this step and I was forced to go back to the hardware store to have the length of pipe cut AGAIN because it was too long and the middle support pieces were too wide. The measuring tips from above are a result of my measuring failure and will help you to avoid the awkward “back to the hardware store guy to cut the pipe again” situation.
After FINALLY putting all the pieces together and double checking the board placement, it was onto paint. I went with a black semi-gloss because I wanted the “industrial” pipe look. Make sure the paint is meant for metal and you can paint it ANY color you want!
I painted as much of one side as possible, let it dry, and then flipped the base over to repeat the painting process.
Now, the final assembly and test
run feed. Flip the board onto the top side and using wood screws, attach the base, and then admire your work. Kurt helped – I admired my work.
So what did the
customers dogs think? It holds food, therefore they love it.
I will probably add a coat of non-toxic water sealant to the wood in the future but I am in love with this project. My dogs now eat in rustic industrial fashion because they are the coolest pups on the block. Or at least the farm.
What do you think? Is this something that I should offer for sale on the Etsy store?