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$400 dog houses part of NC high school's carpentry class
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$400 dog houses part of NC high school's carpentry class

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If you’ve been on the hunt for a structurally-sound dog house, Hickory High School’s Carpentry II class has you (and your furry friend) covered.

Instructor Larry Mallonee and his students have been busy this semester building dog houses for medium and large-sized breeds. Currently, his classes are working on three dog houses.

Once students are finished with construction, the dog houses will be available to the public for purchase. “We’re asking $400 for (the dog houses), but we probably have $800 worth of material in them,” Mallonee explained. “If I calculated the amount of labor-hours spent, it would probably be closer to $2,000.”

Money collected by selling the dog houses will help Mallonee purchase additional materials for his carpentry classes. “Yes, (the dog houses) are expensive,” Mallonee said. “But when you think about it, these are fully insulated, vinyl-sided and with a proper roof. You’re getting your money’s worth.”

The dog houses have shingled roofs and can have a flap door added. They are also made with a vent to allow for air flow and an extended roof over the door for more protection against the elements.

“We’re building these dog houses just like you would build a house,” Mallonee explained. “Commercially-made dog houses will use a thinner material with no insulation. We’re using actual two by fours, and we’re using proper insulation materials. You won’t see this on a commercially-built dog house.”

Building the professional-grade dog houses has given Mallonee the chance to teach his students key concepts in carpentry.

“Once you learn how to use the tools and concepts, it gets easier,” Mallonee said. “But you have to know what you’re doing and how to solve your problems first.”

Mallonee is proud of the students’ work this semester. “The students love it — they like learning about this, and they really get into it,” he said.

Aside from teaching carpentry concepts, Mallonee also teaches his young students important lessons about having a work ethic.

“I try to get my students to understand that when you do a job, I want them to do it the way I was trained: Do it right the first time,” Mallonee said. “If you do it right the first time, you don’t have to make excuses. You have a professional-looking job, and people are willing to pay the money for it.”

If you are interested in purchasing a dog house, email Mallonee at

Emily Willis is a general assignment and education reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.

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