The other day, we found ourselves with a leftover cedar board and the need for some storage at the shop. An hour and one simple woodworking project later, we’d turned our leftovers into a cute storage solution. Here’s how (don’t let the length of this post scare you – it’s an easy project, just with a lot of pictures):
The basic idea for the crates is to cut boards to length and attach them to corner posts. This makes a square without a bottom. Then you make a bottom by attaching boards to a pair of thin “skids” and then attach the bottom panel to the sides.
1. If you don’t need the crates to be any particular size, measure your wood and determine how many boards you can cut out of it. You’ll need three for each side of the crate and at least three for the bottom (depending on the width). Our board was long enough (and wide enough) to make a small 12″ x 9″ crate and a large 18″ x 12″ crate.
2. Make sure you have all the right PPE before working.
3. If the boards are short enough to safely work with on your table saw, make sure the boards are square by cutting 1/16″ off each side.
Make sure you use proper push blocks when working with a table saw and use the saw’s safety equipment.
If the boards are too long to safely cut, out them into shorter pieces first (see step 5).
4. Cut the boards to their final width (we cut ours to 2-5/8″ to give us two equal-width boards).
5. Cut your boards to length, first by squaring up one end on your chop saw / miter saw.
Then, using a stop block to make sure all your boards are the same length, cut three boards of equal length for each side. If your crate is rectangular, you’ll obviously need six of each length. You also need boards for the bottom. They should be as long as the long side of your crate. You’ll need enough so that, when you attach them together, your crate has a fairly solid bottom. For us, that meant we needed three boards for our big crate and three for our small one.
6. You then need to cut the corner and bottom supports. This is the only remotely tricky part. To make the bottom fit into the crate, you need to know how thick your bottom skids are in combination with your bottom boards. We made a 1/2″ thick bottom skid and our bottom boards were 3/4″ thick, so our total width was 1-1/4″.
The corner supports are 1″ square. They can be any length you want, since making them longer or shorter will just make the box taller or shorter. Just remember that you need to factor in the thickness of your bottom panel. We wanted a 10″ high crate, and, because our bottom and bottom supports were a total of 1-1/4″ thick, we cut our corner supports to 8-3/4″.
The bottom “skid” is 1″ by 1/2″ and as long as the width of your crate. For our 12″ x 9″ crate, that was 9″, and for our 18″ x 12″ crate, it was 12″.
7. Now, cut a shim that has a length the same as the thickness of your bottom. This will really help you make a square box. For us, our shim was 1 1/4″ (that’s the measurement we determined in Step 6).
8. You now have a stack of wood
and are ready to glue and nail together the crate. A nail gun is really handy here. Make sure your nails are long enough to attach the boards together, but not so long that they go through all the way through.
9. Start with the top of a short side and attach a short board to a corner support, making sure everything is square and flush.
10. Attach another corner support to the other side of the top piece. Then attach the bottom short board to the corner supports. Use the shim to make sure you leave enough space at the bottom for the bottom panel.
11. Attach the middle short board, centering it between the top and bottom boards.
12. Attach the long boards to the sides, using the short boards as a guide to make sure all the boards go on parallel. Then attach the remaining short boards.
13. Using the bottom boards and the bottom skids, make the bottom panel the same way you made the first side, but without the shim.
14. Put the box upside down and add a dab of glue to the bottom of each corner support.
15. Place the bottom panel into the bottom and nail it into the bottom of the corners. Don’t forget that the nails you use here will probably need to be longer than the ones you’ve been using for the sides in order to get through the bottom skids and bottom panels.
16. Wipe off any glue that squeezed out during assembly and let the glue dry for as long as recommended by the manufacturer. Then give the crate a good sand, and you’ve got a great storage solution!