I use full size (people) bathtubs in my shop.
I like using a regular bathtub over a stainless steel grooming tub, because they are not as deep as the stainless steel ones.
After so many years of grooming my back needs all the help that it can get.
Bending over into a deep tub is way too painful for me now.
Also reaching across the tub to bathe a dog that smashes itself up against the back wall kills my back.
For many years I had searched unsuccessfully for a tub grate that would fit in a regular sized tub.
So I made my own.
It has worked really well for me for the last 13 or 14 years.
There is only one problem...I have to make a new one every year.
The plywood that I use for the dogs to stand on only lasts about a year before it get so water logged and starts to mold that I have to replace it with another piece of wood.
It does not matter whether I paint it with water proof paint, it still eventually gets water logged.
I have constantly been searching for something other than wood for the top of my tub grate.
It has to stand up to the water and the weight of large dogs.
I have bugged many of the sales people at our local hardware store in hopes that one of them would be able to come up with an idea that I had not thought of.
More times than not, they just look at me like I have three heads.
Well, I think that I have finally solved my problem....at least one of them.
I had found a product that I feel will stand up to the water and the weight of large dogs, now I needed to figure out how to keep them from pasting themselves to the back wall of the tub.
About a year ago I came up with the bright idea of making a backboard like I use on my grooming table.
Because it would be totally made out of wood, I needed to figure out how to protect the wood so that it would not get water logged.
This picture shows what I came up with.
I covered the backboard with sheet metal.
Boy, was that a job.
I could not get a piece of sheet metal large enough the cover the backboard in one piece, so I had to use several pieces and then seal them up.
It was great while it lasted.
It brought the dogs up close to the front of the tub.
Between the tub grate and the back board, it was so nice and comfortable to bathe dogs.
Unfortunately, the backboard only lasted about 6 months.
The sealant that I used kept coming off, exposing sharp edges of metal and letting water into the wood.
After letting the wood dry out and resealing it several times I gave up on it.
Then I started drawing up new plans for a new tub grate with a backboard attached.
This is what I came up with.
I bought decking planks.
Not wood, but that new stuff that they make for decks.
It is water proof and does not need to be stained.
My list of supplies:
~Deck planks cut to fit the tub
First I cut the PVC pipe to fit down in the bottom of the tub.
Then I screwed two of the planks to the pipe.
Next came the brackets.
I did not want to screw the brackets on, just in case I did not like the backboard piece that I was putting on.
I marked the holes for the brackets.
Then I took my trusty drill.....I love my drill....and my trusty hole drilling bit, (sorry I don't know the technical name for this bit) and drilled holes in the planks for my bolts.
I have to say....this stuff was not easy to drill through.
Now I attached the bracket to the planks with a couple of nuts and bolts.
This way, if the backboard didn't work out, I could easily remove it and just use the tub grate.
This is the front of the tub grate/backboard.
This is the back of it.
I added another board for large dogs to stand on.
Since I can't remove the backboard between bathes, for large dogs, without having to remove the bolts, I decided to put locking hinges on the top plank of the backboard so that I could lower the top plank when bathing large dogs.
Top plank of backboard up....
......Top plank down.
My thought was that the large dogs would straddle the lower backboard.
This also keeps them from sitting during the bath.
If I have a large dog that is old, or has bad legs, they can easily keep all four feet on the front side of the tub grate and still have room to lay down if they need to.
This is what it looks like in the tub.
It sits a couple of inches higher in the tub than my old tub grate did, but that is okay.
I like it higher.
I love having the dogs this close to the front of the tub.
Especially those little ones.
So far all of the dogs have fit in the tub, and on the tub grate really well.
There is only one draw back.
Some dogs do tend to hang their heads over the side more now, causing water to go on the floor.
So, I have started putting a magnet towel under the rim of the tub, next to the floor mat.
I'll deal with the water if this thing helps my back. :)
We have been using this backboard/ tub grate for a couple of weeks now.
I am very happy with it so far.
It is a little heavy to move when cleaning the tub, but not too heavy.
It also cleans up really nicely.
I hope that this tub grate will last a long time. :)
✂ Happy Grooming, MFF ✂