Pine Toy Chest #1: Design and Milling the Wood

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 02-26-2015 05:15 AM 1773 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Pine Toy Chest series no next part

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

View Avimaelwoodworking's profile


22 posts in 608 days

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

Looking good keep it up

View HappyHowie's profile


272 posts in 1367 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

View HappyHowie's profile


272 posts in 1367 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

View HappyHowie's profile


272 posts in 1367 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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics