I'm just finishing up a false floor in my van - 8" high - makes space
for conduit, ground rods, shovels etc, and frees floor space for wire,
and supply boxes.
At the side door, I have space for 3 drawer/boxes. 7 1/2" high, 12"
wide and about 30" deep. They will work like drawers, but can be
completely removed if job requires it.
Question is, what joint to use for the corners? Plan on using 1/2
plywood with 1/4" masonite bottoms - rabbeted in to the sides/ends.
Sides are a little taller than ends so they act like runners.
Don't need anything fancy - this isn't furniture!, just tool/small
item mobile storage. Just looking for ideas or experiences.
I have made lots of boxes/drawers like this from 3/4" pine. I just nailed
through the sides into the front and back. I also drilled a couple big
holes in the front and back and cut out the space between them for
handholds. All the sharp edges on the box were rounded over with a quarter
round bit in a router.
I would question the strength of 1/4" masonite bottoms. I would go to a
minimum of 1/4" plywood if not thicker. I am not comfortable with the 1/2"
plywood sides either. One thing that I found about boxes like this is that
not only were they subject to abuse, but they often carried things in them
that were quite heavy. Heavy enough to cause light materials to fail.
Another trick I did with boxes like this was to make up an extra or two.
That way you can load them up with the tools and supplies for certain types
of jobs. Just yank out what is there and subsitute the proper boxes.
These joints are going to take a lot of stress over time. If you have
a table saw, yes a box or finger joint with the addition of nails or
screws would likely hold up. I assume you don't have the facility to
dovetail them but if you do that would also be plenty strong. The
other option is to do butt jonts but add corner blocks screwed in.
Even just a 1x1 standing in the corner. glued to front and side and
screwed from outside of both faces of the box into the block will lock
in those corners for taking the stress. Mostly just needed on the
front where you drag them out.
Also, if you do go with 1/2" ply, be sure to use Baltic Birch or
similar have value ply. Typical construction ply will not last in this
Also, masonite bottoms will only be good if you are storing linens.
The first time you drop a hammer or a pipe wrench on that stuff,
you'll start having problems. It will add weight but if you use a 1/4"
ply (at least) you will have a much more useful box over time. I would
build the whole thing form 1/2 Baltic and have it be bullet proof.
Finally, if you will load these up with lots of weight, you might
consider adding some 2" hard wheels near the back. Trim out the inside
of the bottom for clearance and put them inside the box with the axel
bolt 3/4" up from the bottom so you have 1/4" clear. Depending on what
you will keep in the boxes, you can build a inside fender like in the
bed of a pickup if you have small stuff that might foul the wheels or
1/4" plywood for the bottoms will last much longer than masonite and
probably costs less.
For quick and dirty, rabbet the drawer sides and attach the back and front
with glue and finish nails; or make a locking rabbet joint on your table saw
and just glue:
Works just dandy in 1/2" Baltic birch plywood.
I think I'd butt them (with glue) and use dowels. Maybe 4-5 pieces of
1/4 dowel per side. I'd just apply the glue, clamp the two pieces in
position, drill through one piece into the other, tap in dowels and
cut off the excess dowel after the glue is dry.
Tools can be heavy. You want a strong joint. A box joint, although
not quite as strong as a dovetail, is very easy to make and very
strong. Once you make a box joint jig, it should go fast to make all
12. Inside corner glue blocks will give additional strength. A
shellac or varnish spit coat should protect the boxes for many years.
I'd use waterproof carpenters glue.
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