Pine Toy Chest #1: Design and Milling the Wood

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 02-26-2015 05:15 AM 2492 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I am making a Toy Chest for my daughter Candace. Well, it is actually for her two girls Lola and LuLu. This project has been an adventure. This toy chest I am making it after a blanket chest that was featured on a cover of Fine Woodworking. I have modified the magazine’s plan somewhat; for instance I am going to add a base to my chest. Since this will be a toy chest I am also looking to purchase a nice hinge that will make the lid safe for small children’s use.

On my lumber shopping trip my eye was caught by a stack of eastern yellow pine. I forget how many board feet I bought. I made sure that I would have plenty of extra in order to navigate my panels around some knots. I surely was going to allow knots in my chest’s design, but I was planning to join the case at the corners with dovetails. The knots would not be allowed in the tail or pin area of the joinery.

I milled the lumber, of course, to flat and square. Then I began to glue up some panels for the sides, front, back and lid. At some point during this glue up process I realized that he magazines chest, if I was going to follow its plan, was going to be quite small. I began looking for more pine lumber that I had milled so I could at least add more height to my chest. If I followed the magazine’s plan the height of the chest would have been only about 15 inches tall. I added additional board pieces so I could get a chest height of 21 inches. There wasn’t much I could do about increasing the length of the chest at this stage but for the panels I already had glued up, I was going to maximize this chest’s length as much as I could.

For now this chest’s overall size will be approximately the following:

Pine milled thickness is 7/8 inches. The base’s pine will be 3/4” thick.
Overall height: 26 inches
Lid dimensions: 19” wide by 30 1/2” long
Dimensions of the case: 18” wide by 28 1/2” long by 21” tall
Base dimensions: 18 3/4” wide by 30” long by 4” tall

However, I am designing this chest as I progress on its build. These dimensions are just a guideline. The final dimensions may change.

A Pine Panel Glue Up…

Checking the height of my panels… I decided I need more height…

I needed to stabilize these knots so I am applying some epoxy…

After Panels are Glued I Milled them

further to Four-Square. Stick Stacked.

My Leigh D4R JIG used to cut the dovetails in these panels.

After dovetails were cut I did a dry fit of this case.

Next step will be to route a rabbet around the inside bottom edge of case so I can fasten the case’s bottom slats.

-- --- Happy Howie

4 comments so far

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22 posts in 1788 days

#1 posted 02-27-2015 01:24 AM

Looking good keep it up

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473 posts in 2547 days

#2 posted 02-27-2015 02:26 AM

I cut rabbets in the bottom edges of this pine case. Before I could just go ahead and route the rabbets on my table, I had to line up the locations where I needed to first start the rabbet and where it needed to stop before making a hole outside of the case where I have cut tails or pins.

Bench chisel work will be needed next to square off the rounded ends from the router bit.

-- --- Happy Howie

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473 posts in 2547 days

#3 posted 03-03-2015 04:19 PM

I get nervous when I am about to glue up a dovetail case this large. I used slower setting glues, but still the moisture can make the dovetail joining difficult because of the swelling of the wood fibers. That was the case with this glue-up, but the clamps and some persuasion got it done.

I realized that I could have and probably should have postponed routing the rabbet along the bottom of this case until the box was glued. However, I can complete that task now. I worry about the strength of these bottom corners but I am hoping the glue and the amount of wood left will reinforce the bond to give it the strength needed.

I will be building a base for this case. That should also give this toy box some added strength.

This photo shows where the rabbet along the bottom of this case needs to be completed.

-- --- Happy Howie

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473 posts in 2547 days

#4 posted 04-03-2015 02:33 PM

I have spent a lot of time in my shop these past few weeks. I finally completed this pine toy chest. I asked my daughter if she wanted a curved base or plinth. I am glad she chose the curves. It gives this chest a nice look. I also decided to add sliding dovetail cleats in the lid in order to give this wide panel additional strength and to keep it flat over its life (which I hope is a long one, many generations)...

Oh yeah, I also added a lid stop. I could see a grandson opening the lid all the way and then attempt to sit or worse stand on it. This lid stop will prevent that situation.

-- --- Happy Howie

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