Build your own Newfie sized Bowl Holder!
About this project:
I started this project because I love my dogs. Big dogs are susceptible to Bloat, and that scares me to death. One of the ways you can prevent bloat is by feeding your large dog in an elevated bowl. This is supposed to make the dog take in less air while eating.
I looked in the pet stores and found ugly wire bowl holders for $60, and in the pet catalogs I found beautiful wooden bowl holders for $120. It was the $120 wooden bowl holder that got me started. I realized, looking at the picture in the catalog, that this item was nothing more than a fancy box with two holes in the top, and some nice trimming. I figured I could make the same thing for $20. I was close. It would have been right around $20 if I already had the stain and such. I could be talked into making one for you. Make me an offer. ;-)
This particular bowl holder holds two 3 quart stainless steel bowls. We have two Newfoundlands, and they both eat out of it at the same time without a problem. For a one dog house, this could be used for food and water. I am working on a cool looking single bowl model. Stay tuned.
Please note that I made this from my own head, using no plans or other instructions. There may be an easier way, or a simpler tool, but these instructions reflect what I did. Feel free to embellish, add on or take away any feature you desire. Handles might be cool.
These instructions assume you know about woodworking and safety in the workshop. Always wear eye protection, always wear a filter mask, and be sensible around power tools. I am not responsible for any misuse of your tools or any injuries you may incur making this project.
And now onto the Bowl Holder!
- One Big 'ol piece of 1" plywood.
- One long piece of corner moulding.
- Power Compound Mitre Saw
- Circular Saw (Table Saw even better)
- Stain Wood Conditioner
- High Quality Brush
- Finishing Nails
- Wood Glue
- Rough Sandpaper
- Medium Sandpaper
- Fine Sandpaper (220 or higher)
- Hearing Protection
- Eyesight Protection
- Filter Mask (for sawdust and fumes)
From the 1" plywood cut the following pieces:
- Long Sides - 24" X 10.75" (2)
- Short Sides - 11.75" X 10.75" (2)
- Top Piece - 24" X 13.25" (1)
From the corner moulding cut the following pieces:
These are better too long than too short! In fact if you doubt your precision, you might want to make a couple extra of each piece.
- 10" pieces with 90 degree ends (4)
- 11" [inside measurement] pieces with 45 degree ends (2)
- 22" [inside measurement] pieces with 45 degree ends (2)
These last four pieces will comprise the moulding along the outside of the top of the Bowl Holder. The 45 degree angles will match up on the corners. The [inside measurement] is the distance measured on the top portion of the piece, on it's shortest side. Picture a trapezoid: This is the line where the top of the triangle was cut off.
Take the two short sides and glue/nail them together with the long sides. The short sides should sit inside the long sides.
Sand all the ends smooth and let the box dry overnight.
While the box is drying, you can make the holes for the bowls to sit in. I made the circles using the bowls themselves, then made the circles smaller by about 1/3 inch all around. If the wholes are too big the bowls will fall through. If the holes are too small the bowls wont sit flat in the holes.
I used a router to cut the holes because that was the only capable tool I had. Certainly there are many other ways to accomplish the same result. As long as the holes get made, who cares how you do it. BTW I measured the final holes to be 9.25" in diameter.
If you measured and sanded and nailed right, the top should fit nicely right on top of the box. Glue and nail the top onto the box and let that dry overnight.
Now's a good time to see if your corner and top pieces line up properly. If they don't, trim them as necessary so they fit nicely. Don't over-trim or you'll lose that piece! Here's where having extra corners pays off. Be careful and take your time.
When you've got all the pieces just the right size, sand all the pieces smooth starting with course, then medium then fine sandpaper.
At this point I stained all the pieces. I chose the following finishes:
Only stain in extremely well ventilated areas, using a filter mask or outside. These chemicals have lethal fumes that will knock you on your butt in mere minutes.
- Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
- Minwax #221A Ipswitch Pine Wood Finish (Stain)
- Minwax Clear Satin Fast-Drying Polyurethane
If desired, condition all pieces using the pre-stain conditioner according to the manufacturer's directions.
I stained all the corner pieces with one coat and all the box pieces with two coats. This made the moulding slightly lighter than the rest of the Bowl Holder which makes a nice contrast in the finished piece.
Let all the pieces dry overnight and sand with fine sandpaper according to manufacturer's directions. After the stain is all dry and smooth, I applied two coats of polyurethane. I figure Newfies + Water... Well you get the idea. Let that all dry overnight and sand smooth once more.
Now to make the finished piece! Place the top mouldings in place and make sure they still fit. They should be perfect after your previous adjustments. If they are too long, trim them using the mitre saw but be careful! Cut too much and your set back two days worth of staining etc.
Glue and nail the top four pieces in place, then glue and nail the four vertical corners on, thus covering all exposed joints on the box. That's it!
Make sure all sawdust is removed from the finished Bowl Holder (moist paper towel works great) and that all stain and polyurethane is completely dry before using with your dogs. These are very toxic fumes that your dog doesn't need.
Enjoy your creation, and may your dogs be ever healthy.
Be Well, Be Strong.
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