Toy Chest Creations - A learning experience #1: The Design and initial learning experiences

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Blog entry by Woodbutchery posted 10-22-2009 04:07 PM 1752 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Toy Chest Creations - A learning experience series Part 2: The box assembly is completed - a lot of things learned, a few small inconsistencies »


My stepdaughter asked me if I could build a toy chest for my grandson. “Sure!” I said, never having built anything of this type before. She gave me rough dimensions of what she wanted, and I worked on a design. After some time, I came up with what you see below.

I wanted clean lines and an open design, rather than panelled.

The Materials

I’ve gone with a redwood frame and 1/2” maple plywood for the panels.

The Build

So. I get the wood, cut the pieces to rough dimensions and start working on the required dadoes.

I tried to use my router table, but the current set up requires me to move my fence every time I want to adjust the router bit up or down, this caused a problem with the dado, resulting in a space too wide for the plywood panels. Not only that, but either my setup isn’t good, or my understanding of routing dadoes isn’t good, or most likely, both. In either case, it was difficult for me to control the piece of wood as it was moving across the bit.

Also, I tried to shortcut the proces while the pieces were still apart and ease the edges with an orbital sander. Those of you who want to shake your heads, please do so now. I did later when I started putting it all together.

Once I had the pieces routed, I started gluing one of the side panels together, which is where I found out where all of these faults were; the pieces didn’t fit together cleanly, the dado was loose by at least a 1/32 ”, and the resulting panel didn’t look like something I wanted my family to have to pass on.

The Fix.

Bad dadoes! Bad! So I’m using the table saw to help correct the dado and square it out. Once that’s done, I’m cutting pieces of wood to fill in the too-wide dadoes. After I trim all of this back to the original spec, I’ll use my dado stack on my table saw to make the dado, with special emphasis on making sure that the dado is correct on some scrap wood before I try it on the build pieces.

Why Did This Happen?

Every new project I take up is a stretching of my skills. Not having done this type of work before, I still have to be reminded, time and again, that this type of work SHOULD take time, and that I should take that time to be careful, not only around the power tools, but in making sure that I’m doing the right thing. In this case, I did a CURSORY cut with the router and didn’t think about the set-ups down the road, etc.

Next Time …

A look at the repaired pieces, a second attempt at the dadoes, and building the top.

As always, comments are welcome.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

3 comments so far

View CaptainSkully's profile


1596 posts in 3552 days

#1 posted 10-22-2009 04:19 PM

Hey WB, if you click on the thumbnail, it takes you to a password protected site. Can you post a larger image?

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Woodbutchery's profile


383 posts in 3579 days

#2 posted 10-22-2009 04:33 PM

Captain, try it now. I haven’t figured out yet how to get a bigger picture – I’ll work on that.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View CaptainSkully's profile


1596 posts in 3552 days

#3 posted 10-22-2009 10:59 PM

Thanks! If you right-click the picture, click Properties, then highlight the Address (URL) and copy that, you can paste that into the “Insert Image” popup.

You can then past your browser’s address ( into the third window that will let your fellow LJ’s browse there as needed. The only problem is having two things on your clipboard, so I use a temporary placeholder (e.g. This allows me to easily paste over the URL with the photo’s website address (

One thing you did manage to do that I haven’t figured out is how to make the photo’s website open up in a new window.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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