For beginners or those who are out of practice…
I was recently searching for a toy chest that was both functional and cheap and after searching on places like Pinterest and several online stores I came across your website and immediately knew this was the one I wanted to build. Sadly I didn’t know about this when the charity was going on however I love the fact you do these kind of charity builds.
For starters I’ve always loved building things however like many folks it became a hobby I neglected due to work and the daily grind until I was recently laid off with a new born. The last thing I build was a workbench that underneath held lumber for future projects. That was 12 years ago and coincidently how long I had worked for the company that let me go. So I found your site and dusted off some of my tools and began to dive back in.
From watching your video I knew this would be a challenge as it went above and beyond my skill set and if it weren’t for the details in the video and the time you took to explain certain things I’d never have even tried.
My first obstacle was all my Power tools were 12 years old or older. Surprisingly my old DeWalt (don’t have the model number off hand) and it’s original battery still worked. That said Almost every other tool needed to be replaced or needed to be purchased for this build. Here’s what I ended up buying for this project:
Ridgid Gen 5x Combo Kit, a DeWalt Jigsaw, Ridgid Gen 5x Sander, Centipede Sawhorse XL, Kreg for 1 last update 2020/07/13 K4MS Jig Master System, Freud LU79R007 60 tooth 7 1/4 circular saw blade, DEWALT DW3742C 14-Piece T-Shank Jig Saw Blade Set, a Mini paint roller with extras, 2inch paint brushes, painters tape, Valspar and Kilz Latex primer, Paint, 1/4 inch thick chalk board, IRWIN Bar Clamp XP/36-in, Lowe’s Pactiv R4 Unfaced Polystyrene Foam Board Insulation 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch plywood 4×8 (table top), 40 inch-pound Lid-Stay Torsion Hinge 2 pack, Rockler #8 Pro Tapered Countersink Bit, dust masks, Elmer’s 32-oz Probond Wood Filler-Stainable, Freud Sanding discs 80 grit up to 220, Elmers wood putty, Gorilla wood glue, plastic drop cloth, a small Kobalt Plane, box of 1 1/4″ screws, T Square from Lowes, a level, Lid-stay torsion hinge jig (wasn’t needed), Kreg SML-C125-100 1-1/4-Inch 8-Coarse Washer-Head Pocket Screws, 100-Count (need less than 20) , hearing protection (for Circular saw and sander), a Ridgid wet/dry vac $99 with free auto detail kit, 3 IRWIN 2-in Metal Spring Clamp, IRWIN 2-Pack Mini Quick Grip, Kreg Saw Cutting Guide, sanding sponges (Whatever they’re called) with different grits, and a Swanson Tool Company 8.3-ft SAE Straight Edge.Ridgid Gen 5x Combo Kit, a DeWalt Jigsaw, Ridgid Gen 5x Sander, Centipede Sawhorse XL, Kreg K4MS Jig Master System, Freud LU79R007 60 tooth 7 1/4 circular saw blade, DEWALT DW3742C 14-Piece T-Shank Jig Saw Blade Set, a Mini paint roller with extras, 2inch paint brushes, painters tape, Valspar and Kilz Latex primer, Paint, 1/4 inch thick chalk board, IRWIN Bar Clamp XP/36-in, Lowe’s Pactiv R4 Unfaced Polystyrene Foam Board Insulation 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch plywood 4×8 (table top), 40 inch-pound Lid-Stay Torsion Hinge 2 pack, Rockler #8 Pro Tapered Countersink Bit, dust masks, Elmer’s 32-oz Probond Wood Filler-Stainable, Freud Sanding discs 80 grit up to 220, Elmers wood putty, Gorilla wood glue, plastic drop cloth, a small Kobalt Plane, box of 1 1/4″ screws, T Square from Lowes, a level, Lid-stay torsion hinge jig (wasn’t needed), Kreg SML-C125-100 1-1/4-Inch 8-Coarse Washer-Head Pocket Screws, 100-Count (need less than 20) , hearing protection (for Circular saw and sander), a Ridgid wet/dry vac $99 with free auto detail kit, 3 IRWIN 2-in Metal Spring Clamp, IRWIN 2-Pack Mini Quick Grip, Kreg Saw Cutting Guide, sanding sponges (Whatever they’re called) with different grits, and a Swanson Tool Company 8.3-ft SAE Straight Edge.
Some of that definitely wasn’t needed like the drill bit but it sure made things easier (I started without it and ended up getting it). Most of those things weren’t purchased until mid way through the build.
So I started this project in my garage and laid the foam board on the garage floor and put my plywood on top of that. I hadn’t used a circular saw in 12 years and when I did use one it had been less than 4 times as honestly the words “Kickback” always scared me the same way electricity still does however after reading the manual and tons of safety videos on Youtube I gave it a go and wished I hadn’t waited so long. Before I cut my plywood I made a track/zero clearance guide and made my first few cuts.
Since this was at the beginning of summer I had a vacation coming up so I put the project on hold and when I returned I made a few additional cuts and then realized while I was gone my circular saw track had somehow warped. It wasn’t immediately obvious at first until I noticed my measurements on freshly cut materials weren’t right and sure enough when held at the right angle the board was bowed slightly. This is where I went with the Swanson straight edge and the Spring clamps. I just put the foam board on the floor then the plywood and then put my straight guide on top and clamped after adjusting my measurements according to the saw shoe. Really missed the ease of the track but money is tight and couldn’t keep buying boards that could have warped on me later (I think my board was too thin and possibly still “Wet”.
I initially did my first run cuts on the Cedar boards (everything but Plywood) on two sawhorses. I never used a sawhorse before as I had my home made workbench however that wasn’t an option this time and I had some issues near the end of the cuts on some of the longer boards despite trying different placements on the sawhorses. I ended up doing the rest of those cuts on the foam board on the garage floor as well. I’ll say that I”m an ex Army engineer who built steel bridges by hand and after all that cutting my back was killing me. I came across this Centipede Sawhorse XL http://www.lowes.com/pd_649692.....=centipede and I immediately returned the sawhorses and used this puppy for the rest of the build. I just got a 4×8 1/2 inch primed plywood board for the table top, put the foam board on top of that for cutting, then put a plastic drop cloth on top of all that for painting. Love it! I’ll probably cut that table top board in half and put hinges on one side so it’ll fold up since the centipede sawhorse folds up the same way an outdoor chair from walmart folds up so I can have my garage back when done.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Fast forward to the curves featured in the design… I couldn’t find the nifty Lee Valley drawing bows so I used a flexible yard stick and did it “Gangsta” style. This was my very first time using a jig saw in my life so it came out a little “Gangsta” as well. Also I’ll note that I used Cedar for everything except the plywood which I used OAK. I hadn’t bought wood in over a decade so I forgot to skip those with all the knots so I had some fun times with the jig saw and some knots. At my local Lowe’s and Home Depot their Cedar selection was NOT great as the boards were either curved, bowed, knotted, or had cracks near the ends. I was literally buying some wood where I’d only be able to use half a board for this project due to the imperfections. I say this to warn those who, like me, haven’t done this very often but do enjoy it.
Instead of Dowl Rods I again went “Gangsta” and did wood filer which worked out pretty well. I don’t have a band saw or a table saw so I improvised.
One Part I got confused on was the stile panels where you say to put a screw in at an inch and two and a half inches in but you didn’t say how far from the side to put them in. I guessed from the video and looking ahead but it did throw me for a loop for a min.
I’ll also admit I jumped the gun on the side rails and didn’t think ahead before using the Kreg Pocket Jig as I ended up putting some of the holes in a side that would’ve had the board facing outward versus inward. Rookie mistake but Wanted to warn others on this as after I did my first board with the jig I was in love with that thing and did not stop and think about which side of the boards I should be putting the holes in. Also as a side note you didn’t specify how you covered the holes from the jig. I assume you used the Kreg Wood plugs however I ended up having to use a hacksaw (not mentioned in the list above) to cut them down and then I had to hand sand the sides of all of them for them to fit then used putty in a couple where I had ended up sawing too much (bandsaw would have come in handy). I will also say those Kreg Clamps are really nice and I wish I had two on this project.
Since I didn’t have a table saw and had the snafu with my home made track guide I ended up having to adjust the top and bottom shelf among other things. The only thing I can say to others is that it’s important to measure and measure often and use clamps for guides whenever possible and something I didn’t realize until later on is that even with a circular saw you can if carefully guided saw even (just a guess) an 8th of an inch (maybe 16th of an inch as well?) off of a board if needed.
I also had trouble with the poplar stock and the lid as some places the trim was the 1 last update 2020/07/13 higher and some places it was lower. At this point I probably should have bought another 36 inch clamp but loosened the screws and with the clamps I had readjusted the best I could. I tried sanding it all down flush but some places it just wasn’t budging (with 80 grit) like where the plywood was higher. It wasn’t a big deal as It wasn’t even a 16th of an inch above or below but regardless I still had this issue.I also had trouble with the poplar stock and the lid as some places the trim was higher and some places it was lower. At this point I probably should have bought another 36 inch clamp but loosened the screws and with the clamps I had readjusted the best I could. I tried sanding it all down flush but some places it just wasn’t budging (with 80 grit) like where the plywood was higher. It wasn’t a big deal as It wasn’t even a 16th of an inch above or below but regardless I still had this issue.
Hinges… I initially purchased the 60 lb Torsion hinge 2 pack and things I noticed immediately was it sounded like my lid or something was cracking each time i raised the lid. I raised and lowered it numerous times and nothing ever cracked or broke but it was a prominent sound every time I lifted up on it. Secondly there’s no way my baby could ever lift the lid with that on there which could be a good thing I suppose while she’s a toddler and I will note that the lid will not move on it’s own regardless of position. Primarily due to the cracking noise I got the 40 LB torsion hinge and there’s no more cracking noise HOWEVER as noted in the comments from others that the 40 LB hinges WILL close (softly) on their own past a certain degree and WILL fall backwards once it goes a little past 90 degrees (Not so softly). I’m sticking with the 40 LB hinges but need to find something to keep it from going all the way back.
For the chalk board neither Lowe’s or Home Depot said they had any long boards smaller than half an inch. Home Deopt said they didn’t have any white board and it wasn’t until days later with me searching on google for the boards that I seen my Home Depot did have boards smaller than 1/2 inch so I went to the store and spoke to the same guy I initially spoke to that said they didn’t have them and we looked again and he said oh you want a chalk board/blackboard…. I’m only mentioning this to try and save others this headache because I bought some 1/2 inch boards that first time which are now sitting in the garage. The boards were underneath the Oak boards I believe and was extremely easy to overlook as you could only see the ends which looked like regular boards initially.
All in all this was a tremendous learning experience on many levels. Some of the things I learned was:
This was smaller then it looked and I could have adjusted the build but instead went off looks from the picture and the video and never thought twice about the size.
I had home depot cut the blackboard/chalk board and it was too snug of a fit and I used a rubber hammer to hammer it in and now my quarter inch whiteboard stock strips that hold the panel isn’t flush on one side due to the 8th of an inch the chalk board is off on one side. I couldn’t hammer that into place and it’s hardly noticeable so left it as is and just left the screws on the cleats uncovered in case i have to replace it later… The board is very thin anyways so the likely hood of some kind of damage and the fact the surface of the chalkboard could be scratched and need some chalk board paint later on made this seem ideal. I figured I’d mention that as It wasn’t mentioned if those screws were covered up or not.
My lid sit perfectly on all sides until I installed the 40 LB hinge and for some reason one side of the lid touches the chest and the other is an 8th of an inch or so above it. Have not figured out why this is.
The ability to save this video and have downloadable cut list really helped. I saved both to my iPad and it was my guide…until I opened up the package for the torsion hinges and one fell and smashed the iPad (thank goodness for applecare, $49 and 2 days later was back in business).
For beginners read all manuals for the power tools and don’t be in a rush and if possible search for safety videos regarding any tool you’re uncomfortable with.
Primer and paint can hide some blemishes but best to use wood filer first. In some cases where I thought primer would cover some things up I ended up learning the hard way that it was better and easier to use wood filer first.
Thanks to just this one post you’ve made I’ve been looking into other projects and have seen the progress woodworking info and help has come in the 12 years I’ve been away from it. I’ve learned techniques I’ll be able to use again and again such as using a foam board for cutting and pocket holes as well as become better familiar with tools such as the circular saw and jigsaw (I did have a table saw at one point just so I didn’t have to use a circular saw). I’ve come across Woodworking for mere mortals and several other blogs and all I can say is thank you and I hope you continue to put projects like this on your site where the instructions and videos are detailed and informative. As someone who has recently been laid off this has really helped in many ways.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for https://twitter.com/JMAN_TN/st.....08/photo/1