Pochade Box in progress #1: Pochade box

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Blog entry by Jon1094 posted 11-17-2013 09:37 AM 4499 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Pochade Box in progress series Part 2: mechanism, woodburning and handle »

Several people have inquired about the Pochade box I am building for my wife. A Pochade box is a painter’s box that can be transported out into the field. Varying in size, shape and style they can contain any, all or none of the following: paints, pallets, brushes, solvents, canvases, etc. What a Pochade box really does well though is holds a canvas while one is in the field painting.

Mine is made of walnut sides with a bookmatched maple top. The base, sub-base and drawers are made of baltic birch plywood. The hardware is from Woodcraft. I began this project from a picture that I found online. I then made some alterations to suit my taste. Here is what I have so far. I’ll keep posting as the project is completed.

I first milled out my pieces from Walnut. I cut the box joints and then routed dados for the base and sub base. Placing stop blocks on my router table I cut through slots into the sides to allow for the drawers.

The base is made from 1/2” baltic birch ply and sits flush with the bottom of the box. It holds not only the drawers but the drawer guide system and two T-nuts so that the box can sit atop a tripod for field use. The sub-base is made from 1/4” baltic birch and will be the base for the inside of the box. I cut finger slots into the bottom of the base and into the drawers so that they can retract into the box fully and stay out of the way during transport. The drawers are pulled out by reaching under the box, sticking a finger in the slide slot and pulling out from the middle toward the box sides.

I drilled four holes, two on the drawers and two on the base, for rare earth magnets to hold the drawers in place while they are retracted. I drilled four more and inserted magnets in the other places to hold the drawers in place when they are pulled out. The base and sub-base are close together, roughly 1/4” + 1/32” so that the drawers fit snugly. This allows them to have very little play when bearing weight and also to stay in if something heavy is placed on them that overcomes the pull from the magnets. The drawer sides will be capped with walnut strips and holes will be drilled in one of the drawers to hold paint brushes.

I drilled holes for two different sized T-nuts in the base and installed them. The larger T-nut is for a tripod and the smaller is for the tripod’s swivel head. The swivel head will bear less weight but will allow the box to be easily tilted in all directions which may come in handy.

I did a preliminary cleanup of my box joints and fixed one finger that had, to my horror, broken off and vanished during the routing of the drawer slots. I then mortised my hinges in preparation for joining the top and bottom.

The top of the box will house the “mechanism”. The top of the box has a maple top, hollow inside and a birch bottom. Inside the top I have connected two runners. Between the runners is, labled in pencil, a floater block and, to its right, a stationary block. Attached to each of these blocks will be eyebolts with a spring connecting them. On the floater block I’ll attach a hook and another on the block to the right of the floater block. This will form a pincher with which to hold canvases to the lid while painting.

The birch base for the top of the box will have a slot cut to allow the hook on the floater and the hook on the block to the right of the stationary block to protrude from the inside of the top while hiding the mechanism. The birch base for the top will be screwed to the top via four screws to the blocks in the corners of the top. This is the “in-progress” top mechanism.

3 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2645 days

#1 posted 11-17-2013 12:06 PM

Looks like you are doing a great job on this. Will be a great asset for your wife.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Jenine's profile


146 posts in 1960 days

#2 posted 11-17-2013 03:38 PM

Looks great!!!! What strength magnets did you use for the holding the drawers in place? Nice housing for the pallet holding mechanism! I am doing a magnetic one, similar to “a la prima pochade”, I had a hard time deciding between spring and magnetic for that.
What size pallet’s can she use with your box? How many can she store wet? I am aiming for 3, but might have to fall back to two so it isn’t too thick. Not sure yet, only have the bottom of box under construction at this point. I am about to drill out for the tripod mount. Fingers crossed!
Nice work – LOVE it!

-- - Montana sucks. Tell your friends.

View stefang's profile


16209 posts in 3571 days

#3 posted 11-17-2013 06:37 PM

It looks like very nice work you are doing.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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