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View FrankCisco's profile

Joining Camp Box

by FrankCisco
posted 09-13-2018 11:03 PM

8 replies so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7021 posts in 4082 days

#1 posted 09-13-2018 11:21 PM

Looking at your drawing, and the number of joints required, I’d use pocket hole joinery….You could glue it if you wanted to, but the screws in the pocket holes should be strong enough….Glue is optional….!!!

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16948 posts in 3506 days

#2 posted 09-13-2018 11:25 PM

Stopped dadoes would be cool, brad nailed and glued ‘Ala Norm’ at assembly. Full dadoes for top shelf. Outer carcase: dovetails if you’re so inclined. Possible with good ply, I’m told (never tried it).

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View sepeck's profile


444 posts in 3029 days

#3 posted 09-14-2018 06:24 AM

Stopped dadoes would be cool, brad nailed and glued Ala Norm at assembly. Full dadoes for top shelf. Outer carcase: dovetails if you re so inclined. Possible with good ply, I m told (never tried it).

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

I second this. For mine I used brad nails and glue with a few targeted screws. I built mine off the Blue Sky Kitchen plans. Best camp box ever. Mine is entirely 1/4” ply and some redwood ribbing.

-- -Steven Peck,

View therealSteveN's profile


6490 posts in 1462 days

#4 posted 09-14-2018 07:36 AM

As already pointed out pocket hole joinery would be sufficient to hold the box itself together. If however you just want an undertaking to practice your newfound joinery skills you could certainly dovetail the case sides, to each other, as well as to the top and bottom.

I suppose you could M&T the interior parts through the sides, and your interior partitions. Again pocket holes would work. Also you could go middle ground as suggested with dado’s, glue and nails/brads. I don’t think that is where you were heading though.

I like to pick the joinery for what the intended use is, and if i felt it either needed the “look” or the strength, and ability to work without failure in as broad a range as possible. In this case the frequent movement, possibly not under the most gentle of situations would need to be addressed.

A camp box is going to see moving, and plenty of heavy use/abuse, so the DT, and M&T joints I described earlier would not be overkill, and would add a very nice finished look. Not to mention allow you to practice your joinery skills.

Make sure you post pics of whatever you come up with.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Lazyman's profile


5874 posts in 2275 days

#5 posted 09-14-2018 11:43 AM

I would try box joints for the outer carcass. The extra glue surfaces eliminates the need to for screws and can be done with a simple jig on the table saw. Dovetails would be even stronger (make sure you orient them with the tails on the vertical pieces for maximum strength) but cutting them by hand takes some practice so you would would probably want to master that before you try that on your camp box. You could also use a router jig to make the dovetails and there are some table and band saw techniques for cutting dovetails. Of course if you are going to use box joints and especially on dovetails, it will look much better if you buy or glue-up boards instead of using plywood. In my experience, the dovetail router jigs don’t work very well on plywood because of chipout.

Note that for interior dividers I would simply use a dado and glue—no screws necessary. You could add some dowels if you want extra mechanical strength but it is not necessary. You could also use a sliding dovetail, especially if you use dovetails on the outer carcass.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View FrankCisco's profile


2 posts in 778 days

#6 posted 09-16-2018 07:40 PM

Thank you all, and per what was said by Steven, regular box joining in my head wasn’t going to stand the moving around once its all loaded. If i move away from dado the shelving and use a heavier joint may enable me to proceed with finger joints along the box edges using the shelving and divider as the anchors. I was previously convinced that regular box joining wasn’t going to hold well seeing the weight etc, and was looking for better ways to join the outer skeleton. now that was all said the stronger joints being on the inside should resolve my whole problem of how to join the box. You guys save me so much already!

Going to start adding joints into the drawing with this thought process. Also the box top, and front door/shelf detail.

P.S/ been long weekend daughters birthday party. thanks for all the replies!

View JADobson's profile


1449 posts in 2999 days

#7 posted 09-16-2018 09:12 PM

I built one for a client a few years ago. Full dovetails on the outside corners and dados in the interior. Built in solid 3/4” pine. Doors had 1/4 oak plywood panels set in grooves. Hasn’t been returned yet.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View Lazyman's profile


5874 posts in 2275 days

#8 posted 09-16-2018 09:58 PM

Unless you load it down with more weight than you or even 2 people can possibly carry, the finger joints on the corners will be strong enough. Remember that some of the weight on the inside is transferred to the sides through horizontal shelves. Even if you managed to fill it with 400 lbs of stuff, not all of that weight would be on the bottom finger joints and what ever weight is on those joints would be split approximately in half between each side. Handles on the side you use to carry it would probably fail before the finger joints would.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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