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Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring #95: Prototyping a Christmas Gift

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Blog entry by Paul Bucalo posted 11-20-2018 09:22 PM 410 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 94: Have the way notifications work here changed? Part 95 of Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring series no next part

When the project I am working on is relatively small and the plans or concept thought up has never been tried before, I like to make the first build a prototype. There are several good reasons for taking the extra time and materials. In the case of the promised food and water bowl holders for my youngest daughter’s two dogs, making up a prototype has given up valuable ‘intel’. Plus, she lives at the other end of the state, so with Thanksgiving Day coming up and a meet up at her older sister’s place, it makes sense to have a mock-up.

The original plans call for a bowl size smaller than either of the two size bowls I bought for this project. I was able to get the smaller size ones to work with the default plans dimensions, but only after doing some carving on the inside of the top side edges—the top will need to be extended two more inches.

I omitted the center styles in this build due to the plans instruction to glue them in place. If the styles are requested I will add them to the front and back panels once the pocket holes are drilled. Then I can drill and use screws from the inside to hold the styles in place. Her dogs are rough on whatever gets near their mouths. I don’t want to leave it to glue and screws will allow them to be replaced if damaged.

The design is basic enough to allow for modifications to accommodate the shoulder height of her dogs—another good reason for making a prototype—as well as adding a front door and bottom for food storage.

Prototyping allows me to use rough or substandard materials I have on hand. I’m a waste-not-want-not maker. The legs were from 2”x4” stud cut-offs and 5/8” vinyl-laminated particle board, what was left of a cheap shelving unit we bought over 20 years ago and disassembled this past summer. These materials are getting a second chance at usefulness before heading into someone’s wood burning furnace (legs) or the landfill (particle board). When the dimensions and looks are decided upon, the construction will be entirely of white oak.

-- Paul, Upstate New York, USA



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