Chuck Box (Camp Kitchen)

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Project by easiersaidthandone posted 07-24-2013 03:11 AM 59017 views 28 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I saw this project on LJs a short while ago and knew that I had to build one. So here it is, my version of the Blue Sky Kitchen Grubby One. I also made the leaf accessory and a couple of special extras. I really liked this design that seems to that give you endless possibilities for storing items for a camp kitchen. There are two drawers, an adjustable shelf, and a storage pocket on each side. One of the side pockets has hooks at the top to hang cooking utensils and the other is a spice rack. The base slides onto the top of the box for carrying. And the side covers become extra counter top space. The leaf accessory has a foot with a french cleat style attachment to a mating piece on the box. The leaf’s folding leg is hinged on a 1/4” Oak dowel. A second oak dowel can be inserted through both sides of the top and the far ends of both legs to lock them in place for transporting.

The wood is 1/4” MDF core Oak plywood (as called for in the plans) and Douglas Fir for the ‘bone’ material. The plans had specified Redwood, but I was unable to find any. There are only a few screws used in the base and the leaf, otherwise it is all held together with lots of glue and brad nails. The finish is two coats of spar urethane.

I do have a few gripes now that I have reached the conclusion of the project. The first is weight of the finished project. Even with the innovative ‘skin and bone’ construction technique espoused by the creator, the box still weighs in at almost 32 pounds when empty. Fully loaded it weighs over 50 pounds. This is still manageable for carrying short distances but I still wish the box was lighter. I am thankful that I didn’t try coming up with my own design and using 3/4” plywood. The second gripe is that the base does not secure to the box. Thus requiring the carrier to grip the base through the cutouts in the sides while using their fingers to carry the weight of the box itself. I did come up with a solution to this as described later. The third gripe is with the plans themselves. I purchased them expecting the PDF to contain lots of assembly photos like in the woodworking magazines. What I got was lots of CAD drawings that were not the easiest to follow.

But wait there is more! The special extras that I have been alluding to…

The first is a solution to the carrying problem. I decided that somehow the box must be secured to the base during carrying and storage. I thought about some form of machine screws through the base into threaded inserts in the top of the box. But I thought this would ruin the ‘all wood’ look of the project by drilling holes in the top and adding hardware. So I came up with some ‘locking bars’ to wedge between the box and the base. With all four in place the base and the box become one unit for transporting. See the last picture for how these look.

The second bonus feature is a trash bag holder. I considered buying a collapsible trash can, but instead came up with this. It is simply a piece of steel wire bent into a circle and welded together. A small piece of Oak has a dado through it that captures the wire. Some wedges of Douglas Fir were glued in place to secure it. And a C shaped claw on the end is sized to slip securely onto the leg stretcher of the accessory leaf. Binder clips secure a trash bag to the hoop.

And the final bonus feature of the project is not my idea but merely a slightly different implementation of it. It is a paper towel holder made of a piece of 14ga copper wire. It threads through a roll of paper towels and hooks onto the leg locking dowel in the leaf. Ken the creator of the Grubby One showed this technique by hanging it off the side of the spice rack in his videos. But the dowel in the leaf also seemed like a perfect spot for it to go as seen in my pictures. I like that it continues the theme that all elements of the project serve multiple purposes.

Thanks for looking.

11 comments so far

View johnstoneb's profile


3220 posts in 3628 days

#1 posted 07-24-2013 03:26 AM

Nice job I need to build something similar.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 3897 days

#2 posted 07-24-2013 03:37 AM

Nice job! I really need something like this. Now that you have built it, is there anything you could change to make it lighter? I saw your comment about the weight.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View easiersaidthandone's profile


82 posts in 3579 days

#3 posted 07-24-2013 03:44 AM

I suppose the only way to lighten it would be to try regular veneer core plywood instead of MDF core plywood. The tradeoff would be some loss of strength.

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4644 days

#4 posted 07-24-2013 08:27 AM

Great work and very functional. Nice work….

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Albe's profile


228 posts in 3466 days

#5 posted 07-24-2013 11:51 AM

Came out very nice.

-- Be yourself everyone else is already taken.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3748 days

#6 posted 07-24-2013 03:05 PM

Great project! Reminds me of items my father used to create for family camping trips and Boy Scouts.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View dbhost's profile


5906 posts in 4687 days

#7 posted 07-24-2013 09:15 PM

Nice chuck box! I just use a plastic tote and a coleman folding table!

BTW. Nice to see other liquid fuel users out there. You must camp a lot, propane gets WAY too expensive for more than a couple of trips a year!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3631 days

#8 posted 07-26-2013 04:21 PM

Great looking and very functional build, like every useful feature of it. This is a must on camping trips. Great work!

View Blade66's profile


9 posts in 4487 days

#9 posted 12-02-2016 05:53 PM

Nice job..I too purchased the plans and found the CAD drawings difficult to use and just abandoned the plans and built it just by watching the finished dimensions. I used some 1/8” luan door skin material and pine from an old box spring I was pitching out. I used it for several years, called it my prototype and never put any finish on it. My kids used to love taking it on their camping trips with their friends and of course had several of them wanting one built for their
If the plans were made more like the ones in woodworking magazines, it would really make a big difference. It was my biggest negative, if not the only one!
My box ended up getting left out in rain and got ruined, so will have to rebuild at some point, but this next time around I will try to incorporate some form of attaching some wheels, in order to haul it that way rather than slugging it.

View JHMKE's profile


1 post in 1397 days

#10 posted 07-24-2018 02:42 PM

Any suggestions for making it lighter? A sheet of 1/4” MDF weighs 29lbs, vs 26 lbs for a wood core. Not a huge difference. I wonder about working with aluminum sheet.

View easiersaidthandone's profile


82 posts in 3579 days

#11 posted 07-25-2018 04:40 AM

The only thing I can think of is to mix MDF core ply with veneer core ply. I would use veneer core on some of the less critical pieces (front & back covers, shelves, back of the side panels, and so on) to save a few pounds. And maybe drill holes in the shelves and drawer sides & bottoms to shave a little extra weight off.

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