Necessary (and Stupid) Shop Time

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Blog entry by Eric posted 04-21-2008 09:32 AM 1862 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

On Saturday and Sunday I had a good several hours of shop time – my first decent shop time in a couple weeks. But instead of getting back to work on my wife’s box (finish, dang it!), I had to take care of some other business: rats.

The back wall of our house faces an alley which is about the size of a single lane. Being an alley, it’s got lots of trash (mostly in cans, but…). Rats come to eat the trash, and then cats come to eat the rats. When the cats come to eat the rats, the rats run for cover. Apparently, our house is in the Lonely Planet (Rat’s Edition) as a good place to be safe from cats – and to poop. The rats don’t eat anything in our house, and they don’t destroy our house at all. They just come in, poop, and leave (when it’s safe). And who could blame them? Check out the back door of my shop, complete with inviting rat hole:

Shop - from Outside

That rat hole is actually a drain hole. The drain hole is handy for when you’re dumping buckets of water on the inside and mopping and stuff. It’s less than handy when you want rats to stay the heck out of your house. But it’s not just the drain holes. Here is the same door from the inside, with the door closed:

Shop Wall - Interior

Does that door look like it’s going to keep rats out? No way. So what I did this past weekend was to cut a strip of plywood to screw onto the bottom of the door, essentially extending the door to the floor (minus a centimeter). I also cut a little square of plywood which I spraypainted white and epoxied onto the outside of the hole (again, allowing a centimeter for actual water drainage).

Then, to feel like I was actually still a woodworker, I did most of the cuts for a simple plywood chisel box. That’s a plywood box for chisels, not a box for plywood chisels. Heh. It’s mostly done; all that remains is to shape the interior blocks that will support and hold the chisels, and then to glue and nail the thing together. Nothing fancy – just something that is secure and uses the absolute least amount of wood possible (since these things occasionally travel and need to be light). I’ll post pics when it’s done.

-- Eric at

10 comments so far

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 3814 days

#1 posted 04-21-2008 04:18 PM

To complicate things and to add the woodworking element to it, it would be funny if you build a one way door over the drain hole so the last of the freeloaders can make their way out but not in.

-- Thuan

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3985 days

#2 posted 04-21-2008 04:46 PM

I’d put a box on the inside of the hole with a one way door only letting them in. See how many I could

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3987 days

#3 posted 04-21-2008 05:58 PM

I’d get a cat.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3710 days

#4 posted 04-21-2008 06:11 PM

... two big cats.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3988 days

#5 posted 04-21-2008 07:22 PM

I hope that gap is less than 1cm because a rat can squeeze through a gap just over 1cm, and through a hole the size of a quarter…

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3882 days

#6 posted 04-21-2008 07:43 PM

Get a Beagle ours ran everything (vermin) off or killed it where we used to live. She wouldn’t give up until they were gone.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3780 days

#7 posted 04-22-2008 03:28 AM

I dunno about getting a cat or dog. A couple scraps of plywood is much easier to take care of.

And as for the gap, I know that 1cm is sufficient (for these rats anyway). I boarded up the drain hole in our kitchen last week, and the other day found a rat in there. I chased him into the drain hole and blocked him in. The next morning he was still there – so he couldn’t squeeze under that gap. (That’s when I used GaryK’s box method to get him out.)

Thuan – I like the idea!

-- Eric at

View againstthegrain's profile


117 posts in 3749 days

#8 posted 04-22-2008 05:09 AM

I had a mouse in the shop a couple of weeks ago. Had is the key word :) Love them mouse traps.

-- Anchul - Warrensburg, MO: As a Pastor, I am just trying to get closer to Jesus. He was a woodworker too.

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3780 days

#9 posted 04-22-2008 05:13 AM

Over here the only traps they have are better suited for cats. They would snap an ordinary rat in half and leave a bloody mess all over your floor. The trap of choice here is rat glue. I have caught three rats with rat glue traps (little trays full of rat glue, with a little peanut butter in the middle).

-- Eric at

View lazyfiremaninTN's profile


528 posts in 3949 days

#10 posted 04-23-2008 06:29 PM

What ever you don’t go spend $20 on the “Humane” mouse trap, a little black box that is baited with peanut butter and has a metal plate in it that when a mouse steps on, it electrocutes him…...hasn’t cooked a single on in over 1 1/2years. $2 glue trap…..caught probably 10-15.

FYI…..try and keep cats away from glue traps, they scream when you pull thier hair off trying to get the trap off.

-- Adrian ..... The 11th Commandment...."Thou Shalt Not Buy A Wobble Dado"

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