The Building Of The Dog Box
Our first attempt at building a dog box to transport our team has finally wrapped up, for the most part. Its hard to believe just how far this project has taken us! Yes it has eaten into our early season training, our bad for not starting the project sooner. The finished product was well worth the wait though! Now we have a great new box with room for our team to grow a little! We can't be more excited to put this box to good use! Thank you to my Husband Brian and good friend Mike for all your hard work in making this crazy dream a reality! We are still tacking on some trim work, finishing the electrical run for lighting, but functionality wise it's ready to take us to the trails!
As with our dog houses we chose Fiberglass Reinforced Plywood to build the box. We feel the sturdiness and weather resistance of the material was best suited to protect our dogs while we travel.
Step one was taking the random cut board and bringing it to shape. The first set of divider walls went together easy enough, just some screws through the divider floor into the individual walls. First two sets of boxes took shape quickly! Its still hard to put to imagination what this will eventually end up like at this point.
The next step slowed us down quite a bit. Setting the upper divider walls had to be done one at a time with at least 12 hours to set. The walls were put in place with dowels and wood glue. They had to be held in place with large clamps until the glue set. It was a daunting task to say the least! Its still unclear if we are actually making any progress to building a dog box, or a chicken coop right now.
Finally with all the walls in place on both sets, we can see we have something. What still not sure. I know at this point Mike was concerned if this was going to be stout enough to safely transport dogs. With no additional support the divider walls seemed really flexible and unsteady. We had to take a step back and make sure we were building it as correctly as possible, precious cargo was intended to be on board!
The walls firmed up with the rear wall put into place and a bead of silicone around each of the joints. Another waiting period while the silicone set in both boxes.
Things are finally starting to take shape! At least they look a little like dog compartments now.
Now that the walls were set it was time to square up the outer wall and get ready for the part we had all been dreading. Planning the door cuts.
None of us were really excited about this step. So much could go wrong. Costing us a door, or worse the whole outer wall. Off to the store for a fresh router bit!
The doors were mapped out in marker- the other nice thing about this material, its like a dry erase board. We could make multiple marker attempts before committing to cutting.
Here you can see the special notch we had to do in our lower front doors to accommodate the bulkhead flange of the flatbed. It took a little ingenuity to create the flange in the square jig we made for the router to follow to make the door delete cuts and main door cuts.
Thankfully the cuts went smoothly. It only took 3 different router bits to cut through the tough fiber board. All in all it went much easier than we had expected. Once we got the math figured out on the jig. The finished walls look surprisingly awesome!
With the outer wall squared and fit to the compartments it was time for framing. We wanted to ensure the roof and the floor had something good and solid to bite into. Choosing treated 2x2 boards to accomplish this would offer a good hold and add additional structural support to the overall box. We have two individual banks of dog boxes now! You can really see it taking shape at this point!
With the front wall and floor on and framed in all of a sudden we have a dog box! Here you can see the two banks of dog compartments plus the rear storage and center storage tunnel we had wanted.
Having a slightly smaller bed on the truck had limited the amount of storage capability we had on both aspects of the build. But I think we found a nice compromising middle ground to work with. I for one was very pleased at this stage of the process.
Here we see the box getting ready for the roof application. This is how it will sit on the truck once it's mounted. Still figuring out the sled rack for the roof at this stage.
With an ample bead of silicone it was ready to be squared into place and tacked down. We wanted to limit the amount of screw holes going through the roof to keep it as weather tight as possible. Our last box proved to have some leaks through the roof which made for some pretty miserable dogs on the rainy days.
With the opening grids in place and the outer edge of the doors trimmed in aluminum we were ready to start the trim process on the box side of the door openings. These were some of the longest steps of the build- it was a lot of watching silicone set. Once the silicone was set came the task of cleaning the doors from the extra drippings from the silicone beads. It's really starting to come together nicely though! The doors work is a nice touch to the overall project!
Just like that we have 12 doors framed, door holes framed in, and hinged ready for locking mechanisms!
As of this moment it is clear we officially have a 12-dog dog box almost ready to be installed on the back of the truck!
The excitement is definitely building through the shop as we get closer to putting this project to an end and hitting the trails!
Coming down to the final touches! All door latches are in place, the start of the edge trimming has begun, just a bit more edge trim and the rear storage access door is all that is left to go at this point!
All of a sudden we have what appears to be a fully functional dog box awaiting its final fitting onto the truck bed!
With the rear storage doors installed we can finally say this project is coming to a close!
It has been a long journey, a lot of lessons learned, some frustrations, and a whole lot of fun to bring this dream to life! Now we are ready to put it on the truck for the late start of the 2014 Season for Team Keahi!
I would sincerely like to thank my husband Brian, for his patience and unwavering dedication to quality, and Mike Hinkle for his knowledge and use of his shop (not to mention the laughs!) It's been great and I'm looking forward to the next project with you guys!
Growing up in Montana my love of the Siberian Husky started at a young age. It has been quite a journey so far. There has been much to learn and still a lot more yet to learn! I truly believe that we are never too old, too experienced, or too full of ourselves to learn something new. I also believe that knowledge is useless unless we are willing to share it with others.