Friday, August 1, 2014

Things that almost design themselves

Sometimes a product, a speech, or a blog post almost designs itself. That can happen when you already have the parts (ideas) at your fingertips.

A couple weeks ago my sister Sally, who has several cats, asked me if I could build her something wooden and sturdier than what she had recently bought. She had a Planet Petco Cardboard Ramp Cat Scratcher, but her cats had gang tackled and destroyed it. She wanted it to hold a 9”x18”x1-3/4” Planet Petco Double Wide Cardboard Cat Scratcher Refill. Are those dimensions compatible with standard lumber? Yes!

The 9” width of that refill is very slightly narrower than the 9-1/4” actual width of a piece of nominally 1x10” lumber (which actually is 3/4” thick). Surrounding a piece of 1x10 with four pieces of 1x3 lumber (which is actually 2-3/8” wide) would produce a box with a 1-5/8” deep pocket for holding the corrugated cardboard refill. Another 12" piece of 1x10 could be attached to the back of the box to make it a ramp.

So, I went to Home Depot and bought a 6' long 1x10, and had them cut it to two 18-1/4” lengths, and two 12” lengths. Also, I bought a couple of 8' pieces of 1x3. I cut the 1x3 lumber with my little mitre box, and used 2” long drywall screws to assemble two scratchers as shown above, one for Sally and one for our cats. (I included a pair of pine shims at the left to lock the refill in place).     

The new scratcher was a big hit with Sally's cats. One had a unique approach. Most of them like to scratch uphill, but he likes to also scratch downhill. 

No comments: