{Puppy Grub} / {Tutorials & Handmade}

Dog Feeder… a Psuedo (and amusing) Tutorial

Today, I’m offering a very technical tutorial, with illustration drawn by mwa.

This tutorial is for our dog feeder which is pretty cool; I really think it’s cool because of all the men that worked on it.  I really appreciate them.

In action:

Well, not eating action.  Headrest action.

It started in Colorado, where Jared and his brothers sliced a piece of log for the base.  But, the first slice didn’t work out well, so they brought Jared’s padre in on the venture, and got a good log slab.  Props to Paul for thinking of a horizontal slab instead of a vertical slab.  Tragically, I have no pictures of any of this in action because I was off spray painting stuff at the time.  So, I decided to draw some lovely illustrations of what I missed (on the back of my vet bill, by the way).  Awesome, right?

Start with a tree.  The tree will need to be felled.

Once the tree is felled, it should be trimmed down to usable chunks.  We were able to skip this process because Jared’s ‘rents burn wood during the winter, and had already done all this.  However, you probably don’t need to fell a whole tree just for your dog feeder, especially if you have no use for the rest of the tree.  Let’s not be silly here.  Why, just last night driving back from the grocery store we passed a pile of big logs marked “free” (I jabbered to myself for several minutes about the things we could make with more free logs, then noticed that Jared was doing the drive-straight-don’t-make-eye-contact bit, so I jabbered myself out of all of my ideas).  All of this to say, be creative.  Look on Craigslist.  You’ll find something.  You don’t have to be a lumberjack (though lumberjack beards are encouraged.  And red and black flannel) to come up with some wood.

So next, you need to cut out a horizontal slab for your feeder.  Jared and the menfolk (I believe it was Jared’s padre’s idea) snapped a chalk line on their hunk of log so they could make a straight cut.  They used a chain saw.  The blue highlighting represents chalk line snaps.  You’re going to come something mostly rectangular out of something round.  Got that?

Whalla!  Nicely done, now you have a gigantic slab of log.  It will have bark on both sides (as illustrated) and the grain will show on the top, bottom, and ends.  If you’re cut was super rough, you’ll probably want a hardcore plainer, but I know the guys used a belt sander with a rough grit paper to work it down, since that’s what they had.  After you use the rough grit, you’ll want to switch to a finer grit to make it super smooth (an oscillating or palm sander would be fine for this step).
P.s. Are you impressed with my knowledge of tools?  Jared’s not even home right now–I’m writing this all by myself!

While I don’t have any pictures of these previous steps, here are the cast of characters.  I couldn’t resist throwing their handsome faces out there.

Wood piles in Jared’s parent’s backyard.  Go, wood!
James.  In addition to his contribution on this project, James helped me make an awesome wood ornament for Jared for Christmas using a scroll saw (i.e. he was in charge of making sure I didn’t slowly carve designs in my fingers with the blade).
Jared=tan hat.  Padre=orange hat.  Now that Jared’s almost completely baldy mcbalderson, he and his padre regularly get confused with each other (by the general public).  This is emphasized when their facial hair and clothes are almost identical (read: someday we will be visiting Jared’s ‘rents and I will squeeze the wrong toosh when they’re both standing in the kitchen with their backs to me.  It’s going to happen one of these years and I will not live it down.  I’m just trying to brace myself for the inevitable.
This is Paul.  And his awesome hat.  I put it on backwards and couldn’t figure out why a hat would have such terrible visibility.  I don’t want to talk about it.
Anyway, back to the feeder.
At this point, we loaded ourselves up and headed to Michigan.  It was Christmas break, afterall.  That’s probably going to be an unnecessary step for you. I give you permission to skip it.
I took a bazillion pictures of this next step, because I was enthralled.  It’s the last (or, almost last) step: chisel out the holes for the dog bowls.
Measure the diameter of the bowls with a tape measure, then subtract one quarter of an inch so that the bowls rest on their flange.  Then, take a piece of string that is half of that measurement.  Put one in the center with a nail, and then on the other end take a pencil and trace around to make your bowl size/shape (basically, you are jimmying a compass.  Jared told me they just didn’t have a compass big enough.  if you have one, use it!).

Jared and my Grandpa (also referred to as G-pa or Grandpadre) did this next step in his awesome workshop.

After getting the correct size for your bowls (you’ll want to have your bowls on hand, obviously), the menfolk took a driver and drilled lots and lots of holes as close together as they could make them inside of the circle.  Essentially, you’re just getting rid of some of that wood and instead of having a solid chunk of wood to chisel out, now it’s more like swiss-cheese wood.  Mmmkay?

At this point, they tried to use this tool (that I can’t remember the name of:( but they didn’t like what it did so it doesn’t really matter what it’s called.  Don’t use it.  At least for this project.
Once you have the entire hole looking like swiss-cheese (or you can just do the center, like my G-pa here) you can take a wood chisel and hammer and chisel out your hole.  Patience here is king, I think (and some ability with a hammer and chisel).
My Grandpadre is a very skilled craftsman.  He doesn’t mess around when it comes around to building things… like wooden toys, or decks, or above ground garden boxes, or houses for people that lost them to hurricanes, or a simple remodel.  Needless to say, it was a cool moment for me to see Jared and my G-pa working on this project together.

Your holes will look this, when you’re done (nope, it’s not super pretty, but your dog dish covers it up, fret not).

That’s it!  Once you drill the holes and carve out the centers your feeder is done!  Phew!

Actually, if you want you could do a couple more things: 1) sand again.  everyone loves to sand.
2) seal your feeder.  We’re going to seal our feeder with vegetable oil, so it’s not toxic for Kobuk, but we haven’t done it yet.  Some people have suggested using something like apple bitter to seal it so our pup wouldn’t chew on it.  We opted against this, for fear that he wouldn’t want to eat his food out of it.  Kobuk has chewed on the bark a few times, but at this time he’s such a needy/naughty baby we always have eyes on him.  Also, the bark will probably separate from the log as it ages and dries out, so we’ll likely be peeling it off (and sanding down the sides) at some point anyway.  He’s just sort of helping the process.

Wow!  You’re still reading–give yourself a pat on the back.

Final thoughts:
I really like this feeder for several reasons:
It goes with our decor perfectly.
It is really heavy.  This means Kobuk can’t push his dishes around.  They are nestled firmly in that log (after watching him eat, I’m positive he would push his bowls around while eating/drinking).
Minimizes mess–because the dishes don’t move, Kobuk doesn’t track water everywhere (these last two things are habits from the dogs I grew up with).

Final final thoughts:
I found the idea on pinterest, but the original makers of this dog feeder sell them on esty.  If all of this sounds like a lot of work to you or you don’t have the right tools or supplies, you should really check their stock out.  They make them from reclaimed beams instead of a log which has a super cool look that I love (we were going to use a beam, but couldn’t find one).  And, while the initial price may surprise you (it did for me, before I saw it made) I would say it’s well worth the price.  I would estimate the makers of our piece probably put about 8 hours into, at least.  Like I’ve said before, we have time, not spare change right now (ours was free–the wood was free, we didn’t buy any tools, and my parents gave us the dog bowls).  But, if you don’t have time and have the change, support etsyians!

Kobuk clearly likes his dog feeder, as both a pillow and food dispenser!

3 thoughts on “Dog Feeder… a Psuedo (and amusing) Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Preview of Grandpa’s Workshop {Tuesday Edition} | the rugged range

  2. Pingback: Grandpa’s Workshop Preview {Tuesday Edition} | the rugged range

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