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Strong joint for plywood sotrage box, back of SUV?

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Forum topic by BinghamtonEd posted 01-12-2016 08:06 PM 853 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1835 days


01-12-2016 08:06 PM

A neighbor recently came over and was asking for ideas regarding a storage box for the back of his SUV. The box will have a couple drawers, and be the width of the SUV interior. So, as this will be in the vehicle at all times, it will see normal vibration, bumps, etc.

I’m thinking that 3/4” prefinished 1-side ply would be the best material for the box (unfinished side on the interior) and drawers. I’m tossing around ideas for the joinery at the corners, trying to decide which would hold up to this application the best. I can pocket screws, biscuits, tongue/dado. I’m also pretty sure I want to use a solid wood face frame to support the span, and make inset drawers of 1/2” plywood with an applied hardwood front to match the face frame.

I’m looking for opinions, or other suggestions on what joinery type would be best for this application.

Thanks in advance.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.


17 replies so far

View splatman's profile

splatman

563 posts in 865 days


#1 posted 01-12-2016 08:25 PM

Without any mechanical fasteners, finger joints would probably work best. Or dovetails.

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

394 posts in 685 days


#2 posted 01-12-2016 08:27 PM

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3553 posts in 1233 days


#3 posted 01-12-2016 08:32 PM

For cosmetic reasons I would cover the entire box including the drawers with the same carpet as the one in the vehicle and make the whole thing from plywood. Structurally, the carpet, when glued on the ply will provide additional reinforcement to the joints as well as reduce or eliminate shaking, bumping and other movement noises than bare lumber would otherwise produce.
As far as joinery goes, I would build a frame from 1-1/2 squares and glue and screw the panels to the frame before gluing the carper to it.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1835 days


#4 posted 01-12-2016 08:50 PM

I’m not worried about whether or not we use mechanical fasteners, the main focus is durability. Cutting the finger joints or dovetails in a piece of plywood of that length (the width of the SUV) may be a bit awkward.

Carpeting the thing may be an option, I’ve done that in the past with speaker boxes, I’ll have to run that by him. If we do that, I’d nix the prefinished ply for unfinished, and ditch the face frame and just double up the front horizontal cross-members top, middle, and bottom (only 2 drawers).

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View brtech's profile

brtech

905 posts in 2388 days


#5 posted 01-12-2016 08:59 PM

If you really aren’t worried about appearance and fasteners, use angle iron & screws from the outside. I think I would care about appearance and I’d cut finger joints with a dado blade and clean up the corners with a chisel. If that’s too much work, then I think glue & pocket screws would be the strongest

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2575 posts in 1723 days


#6 posted 01-12-2016 11:07 PM

Hey, Ed, why not just use dado joints, as you suggested, like you would for kitchen cabinets? Once those are glued and screwed, they won’t move.

-- Art

View splatman's profile

splatman

563 posts in 865 days


#7 posted 01-13-2016 12:38 AM

I was thinking of FJs or DTs only on the vertical corners. Did not think of the horizontal corners. There, rabbets or other joinery would be more practical. Angle iron did cross my mind. AI + glue + self-tapping flathead screws would probably be the strongest joint type. If in case FH self-tapping screws are not a thing, predrill and thread, and use FH fine-thread screws (may be too much work), or predrill the AI before applying the plywood, and fasten from the inside (essentially fastening the AI to the plywood). Especially where appearance counts. If you weld the AI together into a frame first, that would be better. Then, thin plywood can be used, as the frame provides the strength.
If you wish not to do any metal work, then Mahdee’s idea gets my vote.

View hotbyte's profile

hotbyte

844 posts in 2441 days


#8 posted 01-13-2016 01:04 AM

You can also get angle aluminum which would be strong, much lighter than angle iron and easier to work.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#9 posted 01-13-2016 01:05 AM

If the drawer design will allow it, I really like glueing triangular ‘gussets’ into each corner. Hope this is clear: long, narrow gussets the lengthy of the joint. Quick, easy, and STRONG.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View joey502's profile

joey502

487 posts in 984 days


#10 posted 01-13-2016 01:28 AM

I would use dados and rabbets, glue and screws. I don’t see any reason that would not hold up.

It would not have occured to me but i like the carpet idea. It would allow the cabinet to blend in to the rest of the cargo area. I would think the vehicle would become more appealing to a theif if the box stands out.

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1835 days


#11 posted 01-13-2016 02:21 PM

Thanks for all of the suggestions, guys. Certainly a lot to think about. I think right now I’m leaning towards rabbets/dados and screws through the side to pull everything tight. Face frame if not carpeted. I found some corner protecters that’re marketed for speaker enclosures that look like they will work, and some short (1/4”) rubber feet to keep it from sliding (the rear is not carpeted).

The drawers are going to use locking rabbet joints.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2325 posts in 1762 days


#12 posted 01-13-2016 02:34 PM

Think about a mechanism to keep the drawers from sliding open when accelerating and slamming shut if he has to brake hard. Also think about drawer dividers, even if just short ones. keeps things organized and will add stiffnes to the drawers as well.

View devann's profile

devann

2202 posts in 2158 days


#13 posted 01-13-2016 03:25 PM

You could keep it simple. I have a box that I made sometime around 1992-93 that has been in the back of my pickup trucks ever since. It’s a box the I made to fit behind a truck tool box & snugly between the fender wells. I built the box to carry 3 standard 50 lb boxes of nails in separate compartments across the top & below that are 3 compartments that are open to the face of the box with a board across the face of the box forming bins for miscellaneous items, ie,lag screws, washers, joist hangers, etc… It’s fairly simple construction using dado joints at the corners & dividing the box into sections. simple glue & screws where needed. I built the box out of 2x dimensional lumber and plywood. I have had caps on the beds of my trucks for security & weather reasons so the box hasn’t been exposed to the elements.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1835 days


#14 posted 01-13-2016 03:55 PM


Think about a mechanism to keep the drawers from sliding open when accelerating and slamming shut if he has to brake hard. Also think about drawer dividers, even if just short ones. keeps things organized and will add stiffnes to the drawers as well.

- dhazelton

We’ve got that in mind. It’ll probably be some sort of bar that slips in front of the drawers to keep them from moving. I’m also thinking about suggesting some small tie-down anchors that fold flat, to allow him to run bungee cords or a net over the drawer contents.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7483 posts in 1473 days


#15 posted 01-15-2016 03:28 PM

Do a Google search for ”drawer storage for back of suv” and you’ll see a BUNCH of ideas. Here’s an interesting one …
.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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