Chest lids, cleats and breadboard ends

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Forum topic by DalyArcher posted 03-10-2020 04:57 PM 787 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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147 posts in 2455 days

03-10-2020 04:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shaker arts and crafts question

I have been asked to build a toy chest. Will be a frame and panel design using birch with 1/4” ply panels and a solid lid. Here is where I begin to question some design details. When I look at different designs, some incorporate two or more cleats secured to the underside of the lid, but many do not. I will be laminating multiple ~6” wide pieces to form the lid.

what is the general consensus here; cleats to keep the lid flat or are they necessary?

5 replies so far

View Wintergreen78's profile


96 posts in 1075 days

#1 posted 03-10-2020 06:29 PM

From your description, it sounds like you are talking about a chest that sits on the floor, so I’m going to guess that the lid is going to be 20” or more wide. I would definitely use cleats or breadboard ends or a frame and panel design for anything that big.

View jdmaher's profile


472 posts in 3915 days

#2 posted 03-10-2020 07:14 PM

Are they necessary? I don’t know; I’ve never built WITHOUT either cleats or breadboards or a framed panel top.

Cleats are easy and cheap. Why not?

For a toy chest, I’d STRONGLY recommend some kind of lid support / stays. Figure that out BEFORE you put on the cleats, just to be sure you leave room for the lid support.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


6350 posts in 2558 days

#3 posted 03-10-2020 07:50 PM

A lid made from 6” wide birch planks will be nice and sturdy, but even I remember standing/jumping on the lid of my toy box when I was just a wee lad 8^)
Cleats help not only keeping things flat, but also add significant strength to the lid. If you are putting real effort into making this chest, then build it to last!

Be sure to drill slotted holes into the cleats for where the screws pass through (to allow for wood expansion) and spend up a few bucks for good torsion hinges to keep the lid from slamming onto little fingers.

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1781 posts in 2295 days

#4 posted 03-10-2020 08:17 PM

I don’t with bread board ends as the weight is on them when closed…

View sepeck's profile


523 posts in 3476 days

#5 posted 03-10-2020 08:41 PM

Just glancing through this, it looks like so different ways.
A 3/4” solid wood top is pretty sturdy as it is. Frankly I’d use cleats at least because this will take some significant abuse over the years.

Also, soft close hinges. Random example:

-- -Steven Peck,

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