Building a wood framed cage has a number of advantages over a self-supporting wire cage. A wood framed cage will generally be stronger and less susceptible to bending. It can also be more secure, since the wire is usually secured all along the edge of the wood, whereas a cage composed wholly of wire may be susceptible to bending and squeezing open along the edges. Finally, a wooden cage can be stained or painted to a specific colour.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Circular saw
- 2 boxes Phillips head wood screws
- Drill bits
- 8 2x4s of equal length
- 4 longer 2x4s of equal length
- 5 1x3s
- 2 door hinges
- Bolt lock
- 8 metal angle plates
- 2 metal mending plates
- Staple gun
- 16-gauge galvanised steel wire mesh
- Wire cutter
- Tape measure
Calculate how much wood and wire you'll need based on the dimensions (length, width and height) of your cage. It's easiest to create a rectangular cage with square ends. For a cage 4 feet long by 3 feet wide by 3 feet high, you'd need 8 3-foot 2x4s and 4 4-foot 2x4s as well as 66 square feet of wire (9 square feet for each of the 2 small sides and 12 square feet for each of the 4 large sides).
Cut the 8 pieces of wood two form the two square ends of your cage.
Pre-drill 2 holes at the end of each piece of the wood you just cut. Keep in mind that you'll be butting the side of the wood up against the end when you screw them together, so one side of each piece of wood should have holes pre-drilled through at the thinnest dimension, and the other side should have holes drilled straight into the end, lengthwise.
Connect these pieces of wood with screws through the pre-drilled holes, making 2 wooden square frames.
Cut the 4 longer pieces of 2x4 to form the crossbeams. These will determine the long dimension of the cage.
Stand the square frames upright, and use the angle plates and screws to connect the long boards flush with the square frames. Start with one on the bottom, then do the other one on the bottom. The whole assemble will be sturdy enough to stand so that you can attach the top crossbeams.
Measure the space between the boards on one of the square sides. You'll want your door to fit in here.
Cut one piece of 1x3 to fit firmly in between the sides of the square. This will act as the outer frame of your door. Attach it upright and flush to the outside of the square with mending plates, as far from the edge of the square as the width that you want your door to be.
Measure the space you've created with the framing piece, and cut 4 more pieces to fit a door into that space. The uprights of the door should be nearly as long as the framing piece (but not quite, so that the door can swing), and the top and bottom pieces of the door should fit between these uprights.
Pre-drill and screw these 4 pieces of 1x3 together. Cut a piece of wire mesh to fit the door, and cover the door with the mesh using the staple gun (on the side that will face out), and attach the door to the larger wood square with the hinges so that it swings inward. Be sure to pre-drill the holes for the hinges so that the smaller wood doesn't split when you screw into it.
Attach the bolt lock to the non-swinging edge of the door and the bolt-hole to the door frame directly opposite.
Cover the entire cage frame with wire mesh, except where the door is, using a staple every few inches to ensure a strong connection. Staple the wire to the outside of the cage frame, making sure that no sharp edges are on the inside where they might hurt the animals within.
Tips and warnings
- It's easiest to work with the wire if you purchase it in rolls that match the width of one of the dimensions of your cage, as this minimises cutting and fastening.
- If you decide to paint or stain the cage, do so once you have assembled the frame and door, but don't put the wire on the door before you paint or stain. Allow to dry before covering the cage frame with wire.
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