See how to add the side and back slats to our crate, plus how to build the door all out of pallet boards in Part 4 of this build series.
See the Whole Series
This 5 part series takes you step-by-step through building this crate.
See the whole build series in order here
In Part 1 we took our measurements and we cut our plywood for the top and bottom.
In Part 2 we added the rails to the top and bottom plywood.
In Part 3 we added the upright supports and did a little sanding.
In Part 4 today you’ll see:
- Why you need to think about the door hinges first
- How to decide which boards will overlap
- An easy way to mark the boards for cutting
- Tips for easy board attachment
- How to build the hinged door
Transcript highlights and images are below the video too!
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Materials List for Part 4
See all of the lumber you will need for this part of the project.
The full lumber list is in Part 1
Tools and Supplies for Part 4
See tools and supplies you will need for this part of the project.
The full list for the whole project is in Part 1
What We’re Building Today
In this part of the build series we’ll be adding the pallet board slats to the back and sides.
Think Hinges First Before Adding Slats
When I first started this project I thought my dog would use the door as a ramp into the kennel, so I hinged it on the bottom.
But the dog wanted nothing to do with tip toeing over that door.
He even hit his head on the top rail once while trying to jump over it and into the crate.
By the time I discovered this I already had the slats added and I just fudged on how I eventually mounted the door with side hinges. The slat ends don’t meet the same as they did originally on that side.
So think through this part of your build, with which slats overlap, before you do the build.
However, I’m going to show you the how I did it so you can see the tricks I used to mark the slats.
Add the Back Slats
NOTE: Because of the bottom hinge door I thought I was going to use, I made the ends of the back slats flush to the uprights. But if I had it to do over again knowing I would be using a side hinge, I might have started with the side slats and made them flush to the uprights instead.
I measured 2” from the top and dry fit the first slat.
Then I measured 2” from the bottom and dry fit the bottom slat.
Then I placed the middle slat about equal distance between them.
I simply checked for square and marked the boards on the underside, using the upright as the guideline, and cut to fit.
Then I brad nailed them into place using 1-1/14” nails.
You can glue them first, if you like. But my dog is not going to challenge the slats, so brad nailing was enough for my purposes.
Side Slat Dry Fit
NOTE: If you started with the side slats and made them flush, then you would want to be doing the back slats the way I show you below, and overlap the ends of the side slats with them.
Turn the crate on its side with the back rails near you.
Then dry fit the first side rail so that the end of it overlaps the back rail.
Clamp First End of the Slat
Clamp the end you just mated.
Then measure the other side to ensure it is level. Should be 2” from the top rail, just as it is on the clamped side.
Clamp Other End of First Slat
Then clamp the other end of the first slat on the inside of the upright.
This will keep the clamp out of the way as you flip the crate over and mark the line for cutting the board.
Measure for the Cut
NOTE: If you are overlapping the side slats with the front slats, then simply mark the clamped slat flush with the upright.
Place another board butt end to the slat.
Then make a mark along the top edge.
Repeat for all side slats on both sides.
Build the Door
Once all the slats were on, it was time to build the door.
This next few image are with the hinges on the bottom, and I’m sorry they are out of focus, but it will show you the tricks I used to match the slat spacing.
NOTE: If you’re building the door with side hinges, you’ll need to figure out a different way to get matching spacing for the door slats to the side slats. But the mount to the 1x2s is the same.
I mounted 1x2s on hinges to the bottom rail.
Then I eyeballed that the door slat was flush to the left side slat and clamped the door slat to the 1×2.
I literally just eyeballed the other side and held it in place as I lowered the 1x2s.
Make note of the 2×4 block on the bench for the slat to lay on while I brad nail it into place.
New Side Hinged Gate
After discovering my dog did not like the bottom hinged door, I moved them to the side so the door would open like a gate.
You can just flip the crate on its side to mount them this way, if you like.
Here’s a shot of how the front of the crate appears with the slats mounted to the 1x2s.
Here’s a closeup of the hinges after I moved them to the side.
So, not a perfect fit, but it will do for a rustic crate.
And now you know why I would have made the side slats flush with the uprights and then would have made the back and front slats to overlap them.
I think I would have had to mount the hinges on the outside to make that work, but that would still be okay for a rustic kennel.
This is with the gate fully open.
Mount the Latch
This is the latch I installed on the middle slats.
The hardware store didn’t have one with a twist bolt, just this hole pass-through type.
But it stays closed well enough as is because my dog is too well-mannered to challenge it.
If it becomes loose, I’ll slip a pin into the hole.
Be sure to look above or below this video for Part 5 where we strengthen the bottom and add the casters.
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And I’ll see you in the shop.