<cheap furniture project>
I'm designing and building a dog crate/end table this weekend and have
some finishing questions that I was wondering about. I figured I'd
also convey my initial design thoughts in case others have some
potential caveats to point out.
Basically, I'm building a four-sided box with lattice panels on the
side held into the frame with dados. Think end table with a lattice
skirt around the legs. I'm considering a plywood bottom, although I'm
considering whether it really needs a bottom. I'm thinking if I do a
bottom, I'll use removable casters to make it somewhat portable. One
of the sides will be face-framed with a hinged lattice door. The top
will most likely be edge-banded birch ply.
The purpose here is to create something a little more asthetically
appealing than the standard wire crates that also fills a furniture
space we've needed for a while. I'm using cheap materials (pre-made
lattice and Borg Pine) because I expect a certain amount of abuse on
the end product. I also suspect that I will have to scrap and rebuild
after a certain amount of time, so I'll be saving the plans :)
I'm staining it pretty dark to come close to matching some of the
other furniture in the room. Now, for the questions...
1. I'm considering using basic Minwax stain or gel to get the depth of
color I need. I expect the wood to get chewed up somewhat. Will the
stain be toxic? If so, to what extent?
2. What should I use as a finish coat, shellac, poly, or something
else? I'm not opposed to different finishes on the lattice bottom
versus the top, which will be much more visible. Once again, chewing
is the concern. I'm leaning toward shellac because I suspect it will
be easier to retouch when the crate gets scartched or chewed up.
3. Any thoughts on the design as a dog crate?