New Dutch Door – Part I

Dutch Door 2

Jenny’s cat door in the van. She likes it alreaady!

Hello and welcome to the blog today.  With a day off, I decided to start working on a new Dutch door (top and bottom panels open independently) for the van.  The bottom was the first part to be worked on.

At first I thought about a square hole or arch… but where’s the fun in that?  I decided a cat opening should look like a cat.  A quick internet search yielded a cat pattern with promise!  I just needed to enlarge it a bit… or put Jennifer on a fast diet.


2_Pattern with toes

This picture looked like it might work for a pattern! The toes had to go… so the model was severely “declawed”

The next step was to print out the picture from the computer, glue it to poster board, and glue that to the wood.


In blowing up the photo, I lost the ears and tail… so a little improvising was necessary.  Then I let the pattern dry to the wood.

3_Cutting Cat

A little surgery was needed and voila!

I used a good quality 3/4 inch sanded birch plywood panel from The Home Depot.  I think it was about $30 for 24″ x 48″.  You get what you pay for.

If you notice that the opening is a bit above the bottom, that is by design.  It should maintain strength and reduce warping by not cutting the bottom edge.

That’s about it for now.  By this weekend I will likely get the bottom door mounted but might have to use the stealth curtain for the top part until it is completed.  Camping is still planned for this weekend.  I’d like to visit a museum, a grist mill, and a different campground.

In any case, this was a really enjoyable project to complete.  I hope Jennifer uses the passage in the future!


She likes to steal the Sharpie markers…

Thanks for visiting.  Safe and happy travels always!

Brad and Jennifer
Jones County, Iowa



 362 total views,  1 views today

Bookmark the permalink.

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

6 Responses to New Dutch Door – Part I

  1. Lucy. says:

    Please be careful, sharpies’ ink may be toxic to kitties.

  2. Jo says:

    Love her little face looking through her doorway. You sure are at design and things like that. I bet it will be great when its done. Can’t wait to see it finished

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks Jo! I stained it in the living room last night but had to lock Jenny in the bedroom so she would not get sick from contact with the chemicals. I hope to have the new door mounted after the weekend. I’m still working on figuring out the top panel which will fold down into a dinner table / computer desk. 🙂

  3. my_vantasy says:

    I love it! What a clever idea! I would have just done the square or dome cut, but then again, I have a dog and I think they are less discriminating than cats. Hahaha. Looking forward to your next post.