Small Projects #34: Cat Can Corral

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Blog entry by Madmark2 posted 01-08-2021 11:36 PM 352 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 33: Metric Box - It's full of METERS! Part 34 of Small Projects series Part 35: Bill Press »

The better half asked for a corral for the cat food cans on the kitchen counter. The design was to be as simple as possible and leave no hiding spots for any potential miniature livestock.

Because of the size of the cans the corner support space was limited. To maximize both internal space and strength the side slats are dado’d into the 45° corner posts instead of overlaying as in a normal crate. The carton the cans come in is 7”x14” and allows 1-7/8” vertical space per can. The cans are about 3-3/8” dia. so there is a little rattle space.

Cat food can corral

The slats were ripped from a length of oak 1×6. As the board was face sawn, the ripped slats are therefore quarter sawn and have lovely rays and flecks.

To make the slats I used an S4S board from the borg and it was fat. I didn’t think to plane it to exactly 3/4” and when I test fit them into the corner dados they were tight. So back again recutting to 25/32” instead of 3/4”. The Incra miter gauge made it trivial to recut 1/32” in the dados.

The corner 45° posts were cut from two pieces of 2×4, each 9” long. This length was chosen so that two dados could be safely cut from each end instead of trying to get all four from one end. The dados were 3/4” wide, but I only had a 1/2” straight cut router bit and needed to make two passes on each on the four dados plus the 1/32” 3rd pass. So twelve passes on all four sides of two pieces is umm … 12×4x2 = 96 router passes.

In order to get the 45° pieces each 2×4 needed to be ripped at a 45° on the TS, but as luck would have it I couldn’t find the wide saw throat plate. Thinking quickly I realized “I own a bandsaw!” and solved the problem forthwith. The bandsaw did a good job limited only by my ham handedness. Zip, zip, zip, two passes on each 2×4 and I had my four 45° corner posts.

I needed 8, 1/4” x 3/4” x 22” slat pieces. I set the Incra to 1/4” and, making sure to stand to the left of the blade, ripped away. The offcuts were gently tossed back off the saw and onto the floor – no kickback horrors.

Glue up was interesting. The short side slats were glued one end at a time into the dados on the corner piece. The corner black was pressed against a stop so all the ends would be even. The opposite end corner block was dry fitted onto the slats to ensure proper alignment. Once dry, the pieces were reversed and the process repeated.

Once both ends were glued the slats on one side were dry fit and the other side glued. The the process was repeated for the final side.

Everything is glued w/Titebond II, no metal used on this one.

The project was left unfinished per SWMBO.

The cats don’t seem to care.

6 layers of 8 for 48 cans in a 14×7x9 volume

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

4 comments so far

View BigMig's profile


555 posts in 3590 days

#1 posted 01-09-2021 02:13 AM

Practical projects are great. Thanks for the ideas.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Eric's profile


865 posts in 850 days

#2 posted 01-09-2021 11:01 AM

Neat project, storage crates are always welcome. Looks like you were planning ahead to allow them to stack with the notch you placed on top of the corner post. Great idea.

-- Eric, building the dream

View BurlyBob's profile


8304 posts in 3242 days

#3 posted 01-09-2021 05:05 PM

That is a fantastic design. I can see lots of uses for it and it would make for great practical gifts.

View robscastle's profile


7666 posts in 3181 days

#4 posted 01-12-2021 01:20 PM

Hi Mark!

I hope you knocked up a second one for a six pack!

-- Regards Rob

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