Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Cat Couch Cover Gets a Roof

Corrugated PVC panels are about a third the cost of the polycarbonate panels, are reasonably durable as long as you don't try to throw someone through them (In which case they will shatter and leave a big hole in your roof!!) but they are still a pain in the ass to cut!

When cutting a single sheet I like to use tin-snips because they cut clean, (Never squeeze them all the way closed or you will get a little crack right at the tips that will go shooting off in some random direction!) but I had 4 panels to cut to the same length for the roof of the cat-couch-cover and for that I resort to my battery-powered circular saw and cut the stacked panels in one pass, even though that produces PVC dust which must be carefully swept up and thrown in the trash as it is not bio-degradable.

In order to keep chipping to a minimum I install a plywood blade backwards in the saw and solidly support the stacked panels on a scrap of plywood with more scraps clamped over the top to keep everything in place during the cut.

The base of my circular saw extends one inch beyond the blade and here I've clamped a level (Unlike scraps of wood, I know the level is straight.) one inch to the side of where I want the cut and will guide the saw against the level.

I adjust the blade so it extends below the guide-plate far enough to just kiss the scrap wood below the panels

Then make the cut. The edges of PVC panels will chip easily during cutting if the saw is not kept tight to the guide. I managed to make this cut with one small chip on one of the 4 panels. I think that might be a personal best!

Before attaching the roof panels, which extend beyond the arches a little bit for added weather protection, I needed to fit the side panels that will be put in place during cold weather.

To do this I temporarily screwed a panel to the side of the arch then marked where to cut.

It's  little hard to see my marks here, (On the panel to the right.) but back at the bench all I had to do was connect the dots with my tin-snips and refit the panel to make sure I got it right. Happy with the fit I used that panel to mark the one for the other side and cut it too.

I've got a bag of these gasketed fasteners (Upper left) left over from building the well-house and even though they are designed for drilling into metal they work just fine on wood and these are the fastners that will hold the side pieces in place. But they are too long for fastening the roof panels to the arches so I removed the gaskets from a bunch of the fasteners so I could slip them onto shorter screws for the roof.

The trick with these fasteners, whether using the original or the shorter screws, is to carefully snug them down just until the gasket starts to bulge. This is the sweet-spot where the fastener is holding well and the gasket is sealing things up.

From here it was just a matter of screwing the panels down, then, in the case of the side panels, clearly marking them as left and right so I can get them back on this winter using the same screw-holes. For now I'll take them off and store them away.

All that was left now was to drop the cover over the cat's couch and call it done! The hinged panel across the front will be left open during warm weather and when accessing the sleeping boxes inside, yet can easily be closed up for protection from those wet, chilly winds we sometimes get during the winter.

So that's it. How to go from redneck shabby-chic (OK, trashy)

to less trashy. . .

OK, my tools are all warmed up, what other trouble can I get up to around here???

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