Tag: Box joints

This one is for me! I love to tailgate for all sorts of events, but I especially enjoy tailgating for Virginia Tech football games. It becomes a bit of a hassle to keep all the supplies gathered together and organized while still being easily accessible, so I built a chuck box to help out. This would also work great for camping at campgrounds. I began by collecting, arranging, and measuring all of my tailgating supplies so that I could be sure they all fit nicely. I typically tailgate with a Coleman camp stove, two cast iron pans, two small propane tanks, roll of paper towels, cutting boards, coffee percolator, in addition to all the other plates, cutlery, common spices, etc. That’s a lot of stuff! It had to be small, relatively lightweight, and strong.

The body is constructed from 1/2” high-quality plywood with box joints. The front and back panel are the same plywood but fitted into a groove much like a cabinet door. The top has two folding wings that sit on top of the doors that open up on the front for additional working space. I used veneer to cover the exposed plywood edges followed by many coats of a high-quality outdoor paint in Virginia Tech’s own Chicago maroon to make it weather, heat, and spill resistant. All of the hardware is made from stainless steel so it won’t rust. There are two carry handles, four piano hinges for the doors and wings, two buckles to hold the door closed, a lock on the front, and a bottle opener on the back.

It has worked great so far and is easily loaded into the bed of my truck by two people. I can be parked and cooking breakfast burritos and brewing a pot of coffee in under five minutes. I’m still designing a stand to put it on that integrates well with the chuck box. In the meantime, I’ve just used some crates to set it on.

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A while back, I saw some vintage P.O. boxes for sale at a flea market and an idea hit me instantly.  I thought it was going to be a unique idea and that I could make a bunch and eventually sell them.  When I got home, I quickly learned that this was not a unique idea at all, but I still loved them and wanted to make one with a little twist.

The P.O. box doors came from a post office in Pennsylvania and were manufactured in the late 1950’s according to the casting stamp inside the door.  I used walnut and two different shades of cherry all from Blacksburg, VA for the body of the piggybank.

The tricky part of this project was measuring the opening for the door just right so that it fit not too tight, and not too loose.  This took a lot of measuring and some trial cuts.  It was also critical that the box joints fit perfectly and didn’t have any tear-out since they would be a focal point of the boxes.  I made seven piggybanks this round and I gave some away for Christmas, the rest will be for sale shortly.  They were finished using several coats of wipe-on polyurethane with a brass coin slot on top and small furniture pads on the bottom.

I was really happy with the way these turned out, I really like the cherry and walnut together and the lighter colored cherry for the back.  In my next batch, I may try a different style to add some diversity.  I also just picked up some older (late 1800’s, early 1900’s), larger P.O. box doors from a cool store in Austin, TX called Uncommon Objects.