Sunday, November 14, 2010

Building a Pochade Box, Part 3

(Apologies for this going up later than I wanted. Wrapping up Border Crossings has taken up a bit of time lately, and this just kept being pushed to the side.)

In part 2 of this series, I went over gathering supplies and drawing out the plans. Now it’s time to cut and build those boxes!

There were two main goals I was after while cutting out the pieces: Straight cuts, and clean cuts. I thought at first I could use a hacksaw to get through them, but it was a lot of work with very little return.

Enter the jigsaw! Using a jigsaw, I was able to cut up the pieces quickly. A few words of caution when using the jigsaw to cut out your pieces:

-Always wear protective goggles (this should be extremely obvious.)

-Be sure to secure your wood to a worktable or whatever it is you’ll be cutting over. I used a stack of weighted milkcrates and clamps to secure the plywood while I was cutting.

-Don’t rush through your cuts! This can lead to rough and poor cuts, and you’ll end up with pieces you can’t use (as I found out a few times.) Take your time, and make sure you’re cutting along your measurements.

In the end, you’ll have all your pieces cut out and hopefully straight, like above. If you need to, sand the sides a bit to get rid of splinters.

Now, at the time I wasn’t able to seal my box with shellac or what-have-you. I would recommend it though, as it’ll help protect your box against the elements. Ideally, you would do this after you pre-drilled the holes for the screws, so you would probably have to test fit your box first, then remove all the hardware, seal the wood, then reassemble once dry.

Since I didn’t do this step though, I can’t provide much beyond that, so we’ll move on to the actual construction of the box.

The sides of the box are not going to be sitting on the bottom of the box – instead, we’ll be putting them on the edge of the box.

Also, the approach we’re taking to assemble the sides involves each side overlapping the previous one. Hopefully the diagram explains this better than words. Believe me when I say this is a stronger design than having two sides nestled between two other sides.

To start, I decided to assemble each side one at a time. We’ll need the brad nails and wood glue for this. Apply a layer (not too thick!) of wood glue to the edge of the box bottom, then butt the side of the box side up against it. You’ll have to hold it for a few minutes, and if you have a clamp system that can do this, great, you’ll need one less person down the road.

After about 2-3 minutes, the glue will have dried enough that you can hammer in the brad nails to firmly secure it the bottom and the side together. You’ll probably need another person to hold the pieces together while you hammer them, though. I used two brads for to attach each side to the bottom, and one to two brads to secure the sides to each other.

Be sure to not do this part hastily! The wood is thin enough that if you aren’t careful about the direction the brad nail is going in, you’ll easily end up splitting the wood or finding it sticking out one of the sides. So BE CAREFUL.

Once you have one side done, congratulations! You’ve pretty much figured out how to do the remainder of the two box halves. Just repeat you’re steps for the remaining sides.

After that, you’ll have two box halves assembled! In the final post, we’ll go over attaching all the hardware and assembling your box for outdoor painting.

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