What wood to use

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Forum topic by justahunter posted 02-17-2010 01:13 AM 917 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 2862 days

02-17-2010 01:13 AM

I’m going to build a Pistol Box for bullseye shooting. My old box is now almost 40 years old and is made of plywood. It served me fine but now I want to build one using solid wood. Dimensions will be roughly 14” tall, 16” wide,and 8” deep. It will have a gun drawer made of metal on rollers(bought this at Bulleysgear). My question is what wood(s) will be strong enough and light enough. I plan to use dovetail joinery and may get fancy. I have an Incra system. I’ll post progress and am sure will be asking questions.

Some of the work I’ve seen on this site is beautiful. If this box comes out half as good I’ll be happy.


5 replies so far

View bobkberg's profile


420 posts in 2492 days

#1 posted 02-18-2010 06:16 AM

Well, for strong, light and stable, I’d recommend poplar. The only problem with poplar is that it often has a greenish tinge to it, and some people don’t like the appearance. However, it’s used in a lot of applications where either the wood isn’t seen, or nobody cares. If you pick and choose your pieces of wood carefully, you may be able to avoid the greenish pieces. I’d recommend that you buy (or beg) a small piece, and sand and finish it to see if you like the appearance or not. Birch and alder are other possibilities.

You could also go with some softwoods if you can find pieces old enough that they’ve hardened through sheer age. I have refinished 80 year old pine, and it’s pretty tough stuff.

As I mentioned in another post though, you could also use some alternate materials, if the entire box doesn’t need to be wood – I’m fond of garolite for things that require real toughness. It’s basically resin impregnated layers of cloth – the stuff that circuit boards are made of (without the wires), and comes in a variety of types, colors and thicknesses.

-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2487 days

#2 posted 02-18-2010 07:33 AM

For a pistol box, I would go bananas and use walnut. If you’re not as nutzoid as me, look at alder. It’s fairly light, has a nice, even, brown color (sorta like cherry), works easily, and is really gorgeous with a clear finish

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2996 days

#3 posted 02-18-2010 07:43 AM

figured maple or cherry

-- Custom furniture

View justahunter's profile


11 posts in 2862 days

#4 posted 02-18-2010 04:10 PM

Poplar, Alder, Figured Maple. Dang never even thought of those. I’ll be at the lumber yard in the next couple of days to look at these woods. Thanks for the advice.

View justahunter's profile


11 posts in 2862 days

#5 posted 03-03-2010 07:33 PM

I was at my local Lowe’s looking for something else and found 1/4” poplar in various lengths and widths up to 6”(5.5”). And it was really inexpensive. Saved me a trip to Denver. Searched through the stacks and found some that wasn’t green tinged. So now to glue up some boards. This is how I did it.

I use lots of clamps to get it flat. On the seam I use a couple of 1” angle irons to insure the seam is flat. I allow the glue to dry overnight. Not sure if this is the correct way but it works for me. But I’m open to any and all suggestions on glueing to make boards out of strips of wood.

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