The Woodpecker Ep 156 – Cat tree

The Woodpecker Ep 156 – Cat tree

Hi, on The Woodpecker today, we build a cat tree. Hey, it’s for the cat My daughter found a kitten in her backyard. The vet told her it was about a week old. She had to feed it with a syringe for weeks. After all that, she kept the cat… So Renée thought about making her a cat tree as a gift. So I drew something not too complicated; but also a little bit of a challenge to build; and this is what we ended up agreeing on. The first thing I have to do, is cut eighteen pieces, just like this. And to do so, I use this pile of plywood. To achieve this shape, I have to tilt the table saw to ten degrees. Then with a test piece, I mark the largest side of the shape. Then with a test piece, I mark the largest side of the shape. Then, with a bunch of setup blocks, I make the other mark. When it’s all marked up, I connect the points to have one section shape. I also mark a ten degree angle on the end. With all this marking, I’m able to cut on the line.. OK, it doesn’t work on the first time. Or the second. Or the third, but fourth time is a charm. Then, I screw a cleat on the sled so to cut to the line. And another on the back. And to keep my fingers, I screw a clamp. Then I can cut some test pieces. Yep, this will work just fine. Now, I can cut one side of my long plywood piece to ten degrees. Then, I let the blade at ten degrees and rip it to width. Now, I set my mitre saw at the right angle and tilt the blade at ten degrees before making the first cut. To help me hold this long piece of plywood straight on the jig, I add another piece of wood under the sliding table and hold the sled and sliding table together. Then I can cut a bunch of pieces. After each cut, I turn the piece over and make another cut. After cutting all this long piece of plywood, I definitively have enough pieces to make what I want. But I need to glue them all together now. To do so, I need to mark where I’ll cut some domino mortices; but before drilling them, I make a small jig to help keep the angle to ten degrees. Then, I can cut all the mortises. When I’m done, I spread glue on the joint, add the dominoes and clamp both pieces together. When the glue is dry, I repeat the same operation to glue my glue ups two by two. And here they are, two glue ups of four pieces. But to achieve a half circle, I need another piece. But gluing just one piece at one end like that is asking for trouble; so I’ll glue the lonely piece in the centre of both glue ups, just like that. I begin by marking where I want the mortises and cut them. But gluing this together is quite difficult; so I ask Renée to give me a little help. We have to put two clamps on the edge of the circle, tight enough so I can add another clamp on the other direction. We do this for the two halves. We glue the second half on my other workbench because moving this is out of the question. When we’re done, we let this alone so the glue can dry. The next day, we check if it’s OK.
It’s not perfect; but it will do. And just like all the other pieces, I mark where the mortises will be and cut them. But before gluing everything together, I mark the access hole and glue the half circle onto a piece of masonite, so I’ll have a base to hold the half circle while I cut the hole with the band saw. Now we can glue both halves together. For that, we use a combination of band clamps and some regular clamps. When it’s all clamped together, we have to wait for the glue to dry, again… Now I need to close the top hole; but I don’t want to use my nice plywood when I cut so many spare sides. So I mark for some mortises and cut them. Now, I just have to glue it all together; but while the glue dries, I need to fix THIS… Perfect now.
Now I’m ready to cut the top. I begin by measuring the circle size and mark it on my glue up. Then after taking the side angle, I can tilt my bandsaw to this angle and cut the circle. But after putting it in place, I can see that gluing it is out of the question; so I nail it instead. All the pieces are not at the same height; I fix this right away. I still need to make one more glue up for the circle that will be on top of this. OK, I know I should have made it earlier but… I also need wood for the base and the platform. To do so, I’ll use scrap plywood again. After cutting two sides straight, I can glue everything together. Finally, I have all the plywood to finish this. But to make the post that hold the platform to the base, I’ll use this crooked two by four. I begin by cutting it into smaller pieces. Next, I make sure it’s straight. Then I glue them together. While the glue dries, I mark the rest of the circles and cut them. Then I round over all their edges. Now that the glue is dry, I make sure I have two straight surfaces and rip my glue up square. After cutting the ends, I find the centre. With this mark, I can trace a round shape that will help me align the rip fence so I can cut all four corners. Now I can turn this round. Done.
I need to cut this to the right length. And with this cut the wooden part of the cat tree is done. It’s Renée’s turn now to cut and sew a bunch of fake fur together. Now, we can staple it. Next I cut the access hole and staple the excess inside. Then it’s time to staple some fur inside. This looks and feels great; I hope Munchkin will like it. But this wood looks ugly; we trace a round shape using a garbage can. Then Renée cuts it. This would already be stapled if the mutt hadn’t been in the way again… Next, we cut all the fur we need to cover the wood and staple it. Then we can wrap some rope around the turned post. I begin by gluing the end and wrap the rope on the post. I add glue here and there; just to make sure nothing will move. We take particular care to add a lot of glue on the last turn. Here it is the final post. Now, I can screw all the pieces together. I begin by the top. Next, I need to place the post here and the platform there. I clamp the post, lay the rest where I want it to be and drill it in place. For the platform, I begin by cutting a small hole in the fur and put a screw there. I make sure the screw will be under the fur and finish screwing it in place. It’s invisible now. Next, I can screw the base in place. Now it’s finished; I just need to screw the cat toy. And with this last screw, Munchkin’s cat tree is finished. We hope she will like it, after all the work that went into this. This is nice seeing that all this was not done for nothing. As for us, we’ll see eachother soon on The Woodpecker.

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  1. Love the video but noticed that you added the clamp to the sled to save your fingers but your jointer tries to run away when you use it. Any plans for fixing that?

  2. bonjour amis canadien,
    Ce n'est pas si facile de faire un tronc de cône en bois, j'ai essayé de faire une barrique pour voir…. juste une petite, whouaaa, arrivé à mettre un fond, j'étais pas rond j'ai donc fait une barrique à fond plus ou moins ovale et pas pareil dessus et dessous, j'y range mes chaussures de jardin, ça vaut pas plus.
    Bravo pour ce chat qui va passer l'hivers au chaud.

  3. I think the trip to the woods was very successful… Looks like Bear Fur LOL… AND I think you should be getting a call from the local brewery some time soon. Looks like you have promise as a beer barrel cooper ;D

  4. Is there any reason why you and Mathias usually release videos on the same day? I subscribed to both of you, and was just curious.

  5. I kept thinking to myself while watching this "when is he going to add some sand or something for weight so the cat doesn't tip it over." Then I remember that most cats aren't a 27lb (~12kg) behemoth like my late cat was.

  6. Wow, the construction of the cat tree can easily support few tonnes 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you, Reneé and your family!! Hugs

  7. I should also make my cat tree like this. I have a giant one which reaches to the ceiling. It was only 80€, all cardboard and plastic, very wobbly. Already had to exchange it once. Solid wood would be much better.

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