My "Patrol Box"

When I was in Boy Scouts many years ago, we used a couple of wooden boxes to hold kitchen supplies. The doors opened out and provided a workspace. The boxes could be closed up when not in use to protect the contents. I recently found plans for a box that is very similar to the ones we used. You can find it at "Patrol Kitchen Box Plans".

These plans gave me a good guideline for my box, but I had some concerns. The major problem was weight. I once weighed a 3/4" sheet of plywood and it weighed 70 pounds. Since most of the sheet is used for this box, That means that the box will weigh 65-70 pounds empty! This is probably fine when you have a troop of strong boys to carry it around, but I'm going to mostly be carrying it around myself. Also, I thought that 3/4" was overkill. So I decided to use 1/2" plywood for most of it, with a 1/4" plywood back. I used 1x2 cleats on the corners and screwed everything together with countersunk drywall screws. This should be a good compromise between weight and strength. Also, I happened to have some pieces of plywood laying around. Because of the sizes of the pieces, I made the box only 36" wide instead of 40".

Here are the dimensions I used:

top 14"x36"   *
back 24"x36"   *
front 24"x36"
sides 13-1/4"x24"
bottom and shelf 13-1/4"x35"

*Note: I made a mistake here. I should have made the back 24-1/2"x36" and the top 13-3/4"x36". I made up for this by adding a cleat to the inside corner to join the back to the top.

The box we used when I was in boy scouts had legs made of iron pipe. The pipe fit into metal pipe holders on the sides of the box. This seemed like a good idea as well as this reduced the bulk a little bit. I used 1/2" galvanized iron pipe. Each leg is 4' long. The threads aren't necessary.

I first cut out each of the pieces of plywood. I then drilled countersunk holes into the sides, bottom and top for the screws to attach onto the cleats. 


I then attached the cleats to the sides and bottom with glue and screws.  I used 1" screws to attach the cleats onto the sides, and 1-5/8" screws to attach the cleats onto the bottom. 

A while ago I bought a Ryobi minibiscuit cutter. I have found this to be great for simplifying lining up projects like this during assembly. It cuts 3 sizes of biscuits, R1, R2, and R3 -  R3 is the biggest. Because of the thin plywood, I cut R2 slots in the plywood and R3 slots in the cleats. I have found that there is still enough space to fit the R3 biscuits. 

Oh, by the way, don't forget to label the parts as you cut them! This will make it harder to make a mistake later when gluing everything together. 

Click here to see the completion of the box.