What materials and tools do you need to make things for dogs?
Your project may involve using indoor/outdoor carpet, or indoor carpet. You may be able to find free used carpet that can be cleaned up. Other sources of less expensive carpet include thrift stores and discount carpet stores with smaller sized remnants that are usually ample for dog projects.
A carpet knife, razor blade or sometimes a pair of scissors, can be used for cutting pieces to size. Remember to be aware of the direction you are pushing or pulling the blade and to keep your fingers and other body parts out of the way.
TIP: When dealing with a sharp blade, STOP when you are tired or frustrated; your chances of getting injured will be greatly reduced.
PVC can be quite useful in constructing dog projects. We use it for our dog wheelchairs as well as in our dog treadmill and agility equipment. Dog beds and possibly a dog crate can also be constructed from PVC.
Like lumber, PVC pipe comes in standard sizes. Each size has a series of parts that fit snugly over the pipe so that you can connect pieces at different angles. Note that although PVC cement is very effective at bonding PVC parts together and works within seconds, it is almost impossible to separate the parts again unless you heat the pipe somehow. Therefore, we prefer to use epoxy for gluing the pieces.
There is a special PVC pipe cutter you can buy; however, we have been able to easily saw through PVC with a wood or metal saw, after which we file the edges smooth.
You may prefer a sewing machine for making sewn items. However, it is not necessary - people have sewn garments by hand for hundreds of years using some type of needle and thread.
I recommend you use a heavy duty nylon or cotton thread unless the material you are working with requires a finer thread.
Please see Fabrics for ideas for upcycling materials.
Note that a mill outlet in your area may offer lower cost prices on fabrics as well as sewing supplies and fasteners, if need be.
WEBBING - Read about webbing and hardware here.
Our dog wheelchairs involve adding wheels. For the small dog wheelchair, we use a 4" diameter wheel. Solid plastic ones that are 10" in diameter can be used for dogs of medium size that weigh less than 50 lbs. For larger dogs, pneumatic bicycle or jogging type stroller wheels with metal spokes are recommended. They should be 12" in diameter or more.
We recommend power tools if you have limited time to complete your project and can stand the noise and greater safety hazards.
SAFETY GLASSES - These are a must for any project where you are using power tools to cut or drill through wood.
POWER DRILL PLUS SCREWDRIVER - If nothing else, we recommend you get a power drill, which also has the option to add screwdriver bits. We used the kind with a cord for all of our wood-related projects.
A cordless drill is more convenient since you can use it anywhere without needing a cord that plugs into a power source. However, there will be batteries that need to be recharged.
SAWS - You can use a hand crosscut saw for many of our projects. Otherwise, a power-driven circular or table saw are a big help. A jigsaw is useful for sawing creative shapes.
STRAIGHT EDGE - For most projects, you need a straight edge at least 2 feet long for drawing straight lines. You can use a section of lumber such as a 1x2 or 2x2 - check it against a wall first to make sure it is not warped.
MITER/MITRE BOX - If you are sawing by hand, a miter box can be useful for making straight, vertical cuts as well as angled cuts.
Bolts-Nails-Screws - These are often cheaper by the package or box at Home Depot and Lowe's in the U.S. You can also get nails and screws in bulk bins at Ace or True Value Hardware stores - they charge by the pound.
We like to use drywall screws with phillips head (cross type) for our wood projects. Note that pre-drilling holes slightly narrower than the screw diameter is recommended. For bolts, you will want to drill holes that are the same diameter as the bolt. For nails, tap the head of the nail to blunt it so it doesn't split the wood.
Lumber generally comes in standard sizes. In the U.S. this means sizes such as 1x2s, 2x2s, 2x4s, 4x4s, etc. The numbers denote inches.
However, note that if you actually measure a 1x2, it is more likely to be 3/4" or .75" by 1 1/2" or 1.5 inches. The same is true for the other sizes, so you need to take that into account if precise measurements are needed.
YARN TOOLS - On our site, the only yarn tools used are crochet and knitting needles. If you have a knitting machine, you may be able to use that, but I have no experience with one. You may also wish to use a weaving loom for some items.
Many websites and books specify particular needle sizes.
Option 1: I find it more useful to take whatever needles I have and make a test swatch or two to see if the knitting or crochet gauge is a match with the pattern directions. If it's not, try option 2 below.
Option 2: On this site, I have geared patterns toward you taking measurements of the dog and determining your own number of stitches based on how tightly or loosely you knit, i.e., your gauge.
We trust you now have sufficient information on materials and tools to make any item on this website.