I have two Mastiffs - an English and a Neapolitan. I love owning giant-breed dogs, but they have their own special needs, particularly as they start to age. I've always allowed my dogs up on a small section of the couch, but it just got too broken-down, and we got rid of it. Also, because my English Mastiff started hogging all of the couch and preventing my Neapolitan from using it. Even though we provided a comfortable, padded area to sleep on temporarily, the dogs were NOT happy, and began waking us up at night to complain (and hint to get in bed with us - um...NO!). So my solution was to build a Two-Tier Pallet Dog Hammock.
How I built a Two-Tier Pallet Dog Hammock:
FYI: Tools & add'l non-pallet supplies needed:
- Saw (I used a 10" chop saw)
- Drill & Impact Driver. I use a Makita XLS impact driver, and drill set - perfect for smaller, female hands and the impact driver is amazing for driving long deck screws!
- Tape measure
- 4" Phillip's square drive deck screws (I understand this screw head style is being discontinued and being replaced with the "star head" style so use what you need - I have a jar of these!)
- 3" Phillip's deck screws
- 1&5/8" Phillip's deck screws
- 1&5/8" self-tapping zinc-plated steel truss-head lathe screws for securing the trim boards/material down
- Manual staple gun and 3/8" staples
- Heavy-duty upholstery or canvas material
- Wide recycled shelving material as a "headboard", & dividing board
- 1x1" trim board (I had leftover stuff hanging around, but you could rip your own pieces down if needed)
On to the fun part - assembling the Two-Tier Pallet Dog Hammock:
I measured the space I had available in our little house I wanted the dog hammock bed frame to end up being 60" wide x 30" deep - and 33" deep for the second, higher tier. I started with three very heavy-duty pallet straps - with the base strap/support cube/top strap intact. Those would be my support legs for the whole structure, AND I didn't have to dismantle anything or recreate, either. I laid them out evenly, knowing I'd be dividing the hammock frame in half. This would be so that each dog would have a place to sit. I used 2x4" redwood boards (yes, from a bunch of weird pallets we found) and used them to secure the pallet straps. I simply turned the three straps upside-down, laid the 2x4" boards in front of the ends of the pallet straps, and pre-drilled before using very long 4" deck screws to secure. This made the top of the hammock frame nearly level (or level enough for dogs to sleep on), without a lot of hassle.
I used more 2x4" pallet boards and cut them so that I could put some cross-bracing from the back to the front of the dog hammock. I installed them at approximately the halfway point - again with the idea of how to divide the pet bed into two hammocks. I secured them in place with more 4" deck screws. This created the base of the pet hammock. However, my English Mastiff always thinks he's the "baby", and he's also bigger, heavier, taller and longer than my Neapolitan, so I wanted to make a raised half that I then cantilevered out a few inches farther from front to back - so his dog hammock area is 30x33", vs. the lower half at 30x30"
I used more pallet cubes - those weird, pressed-wood-chip cubes since they're not much good for anything else. I used 8 of them to support a second, higher frame. I installed them to the base frame with 3" deck screws. I then built a 30x33" frame from more 2x4" boards, just butt-joining them for efficiency. I screwed this frame down to the pressed-wood pallet cubes.
Next, I used two old shelves from a garden shed we demolished. I sanded them smooth as this whole structure will eventually get painted, and only had to trim one board slightly to fit. I cut them to the length I wanted and installed one as a "headboard" to keep my dog from leaning against my wall, and the second I butt-joined to the first at a right-angle along the center divider, securing it with 1&5/8" screws both together and to the raised dog hammock frame, because I KNOW my dog will lean against them. :-)
Home stretch: finishing up the Two-Tier Pallet Dog Hammock:
Finally, I installed the "hammock" material. I laid the heavy-duty material right-side-down along one edge of the raised half of the bed, and carefully stapled it very closely, keeping the material taut between each staple. When one side was secured, I folded it over so that the right side is facing up the way it should be, and stapled it again to keep it evenly folded. I rolled over both sides and continued the process, then trimmed the material to length and folded over a hem. I repeated the process for the lower half of the pet bed. When I was complete with the stapling portion, I then cut 1x1" trim boards to length, pre-drilled (I pre-drill just about everything to reduce splitting), then used the zinc self-tapping screws. Technically, you shouldn't have to pre-drill with self-tapping screws, but 1x1" boards, particularly old, dry ones, just split easily. I didn't want to waste a bit of material! I installed the trim boards down over my staple lines to help double-secure the material. I quickly sanded the rough edges over to keep it comfy for the critters. Ta-DAA! I covered it with old blankets, a large pillow from a recliner I'm stripping down and ripped the back pillow off in one usable chunk, and you could even put your old pet bed/pillows on it too. It is dog AND kitty approved. I do <3 my critters!
Long-term update planned for my Two-Tier Pallet Dog Hammock: I have some 2"wide nylon strap - like seatbelt strap material. I'll cut it, melt the edges, fold over and install over the hammock areas. I plan to weave these to make a mesh webbing as a long-term hammock support. I had the old material and used it, for now, to test out my design. Also, my husband has lost the strap in the depths of his spider-infested (and therefore wife-repellent) shed.
My Two-Tier Pallet Dog Hammock still needs to be painted, but I wanted to give it a test run. I did put small throw rugs down to protect our old oak floors. I'll pick up some chunks of felt and glue it on long-term, but that's after I paint. I'll be using leftover clearance paint, of course. :D