Monday, December 7, 2009

Plywood storage boxes

Everyone can use some more storage containers!  I made these for my husband, so he could store things in the garage and just grab the box he needed when working on something.

The boxes are made of  1/2" plywood, and not the good smooth stuff.  There are knots and grooves, etc. but I didn't think that mattered for this purpose. These measure 12" x 16"  when finished, but of course they could be made in any size. The end pieces are 12" x 6" deep and the side pieces are 16" x 6" deep.  The bottom is 1/4" plywood and is about 11 1/2" x 15 1/2" and fits into a groove in the sides and ends.

I joined them with glued box joints.  Each "finger" is 1/2" wide and 1/2" deep.  I used a dado blade on the tablesaw and a homemade box-joint jig.  I won't go into how to make one now, there are plans on the internet, although maybe in the future I'll do my own tutorial on that. The wood piece is clamped to the jig and then the whole jig slides over the saw blade to cut one space at a time.  The wood piece is then unclamped, moved over, and run across the blade again.  I always use a scrap piece behind the good piece, otherwise there is usually tearout, especially on something like plywood. What is important is that each piece fits into the other, not too tightly that you have to hammer it together, but not too loosely so that it would fall apart without the glue.  I always practice on scrap wood until I can get a good fit.

For the ends of the boxes I decided to cut out handle holes.  They are centered on the end piece and down about 1" from the top and make about a 4" wide total hole. This is done on the drill press with a hole cutter.  The one I used was 1 1/4" diameter, here it is ready to cut a hole in one end of the handle.  The end piece is clamped to the drill press table with a piece of scrap wood underneath.


Here it is started:

After the one hole is cut, just move over and cut the other one. Here's the two holes cut out.  After that you run your jigsaw between them on the top and bottom connecting lines.

There is a 1/4" groove run across the bottom of all the pieces, up 1/2" from the bottom, that will hold in the bottom 1/4" plywood. That I did on the router table using a 1/4" straight bit.  I made three boxes at the same time, so there are 6 sides and 6 ends and 3 bottoms.   I sanded and then put a couple coats of shellac on the insides of all the 15 pieces (I didn't shellac the part below the groove, since that will be on the outside of the box and therefore painted the same colour as the box.

The boxes are then glued up and tightly clamped for a couple hours.  I used 8 clamps.  As woodworkers say, one can never have too many clamps!

  I painted the outside of each of the boxes a different colour.

These boxes are very sturdy and I'm sure will come in handy.  I should have made myself some!

Sharing at:
Knick of Time


  1. These turned out great! Way to go... You should have made yourself some;)!

  2. are so talented! Those look great! They remind me of the vintage pepsi/coke crates. Very nice! ~Lisa

  3. Julie... great job! so colorful and useful! :)

  4. WOW!!! Now that's a start to finish project! Here I thought you'd paint it not build it!!!SOOOOOO Impressed!Thanks for linking!

  5. Look at all that detail - dovetailed corners and all.
    Great job.

    Merry Christmas & Hugs...Tracy :)

  6. Those turned out really nice. We all can use storage. :-)

  7. Woot! you go with those power tools! Those are super cool....make some for yourself next time :)

  8. Those are darling! What a great storage idea :)

  9. I am just amazed at what you can build! I smiled when I read that you were building these for your hubby, not the other way around. You go, girl!

  10. Now you're hard core! Dovetail joints and all. I'm in awe. I totally want to see your tute on your dovetail jig you made. Looks interesting.

  11. While I do not have a drill press, I think, if you were careful, you could do the hand holes with a drill.

    I'd love to feature this post on my blog. Please contact me at {} as I couldn't find your email address to contact you. Thanks so much.

  12. Very creative.

    It is just easy to make and construct.

    I'd love to try one, with different colors for the storage.

    Thanks for sharing!:)


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