I made a pretty neat scratching post (well two really) for about $40 total (together so I $20 each). I got a roll of cement tubing, cut it in half, attached it to plywood circles with L-brackets, and weighted the inside with a water filled paint canister (though anything heavy would work). Here's the trick though! I hated the idea of wrapping twine (I'm lazy) so I bought a carpet that has ridges in it (http://www.tekstilconcepts.com/produ...oth-1700.shtml
) so it simulates the ridges of the twine and the cats love it! You place the carpet so the ridges are horizontal or parallel to the ground and staple away! Not only that, but at $2 a foot (and only two feet needed) it's cheap and easy to replace. I've made a few of them now for friends and family and all the cats seem to really take to it.