Wood Storage Chest - Make your own!

My dad built our house when I was young and I was fascinated with every step. The pouring of the foundation, the framing, the dry wall, laying the brick, laying the tile, painting, the cabinets, painting the doors, etc.  I could sit and watch all day.  In High School I took a woodworking class where I learned all about the different wood cutting tools and was able to build my own cedar chest.  I was in love with building and how you could create something from scratch.  It's hard to imagine a couple of boards at the hardware store can be turned into something so useful and cute in less than a day!

I've been obsessing over Ana White's website where she posts building plans for all sorts of household furniture.  (When we get our own house I plan on building most of our furniture.. hopefully my husband is cool with that!)  I also ran into another website, Shanty2Chic, and she is totally my style.  I love her decor and she has great project ideas and building plans as well.

I saw a few ideas online for making a wooden crate. They weren't exactly what I wanted so I came up with my own 'wooden storage chest' (can also be used as a bench).  It has a lid with rope hinges and rope handles.  It turned out better than I could have imagined and I'm so excited about it.  I wanted to share my own building plans with you! It took me about 4 hours from start to finish.


Dimensions: 27" long by 14" tall by 14.5" deep

Materials and Tools Shopping List:  ***PLEASE NOTE: If you aren't familiar with buying lumber, the said dimensions of a board are actually different than the real measurements.  If you buy a common 2x4, the actual dimensions are 1-1/2" x 3-1/2".  It's weird, I know!  When I say 1x4 furring strip, the actual measurement is 3/4" x 3-1/2".  A 1x2 furring strip is actually 3/4" x 1-1/2".  The said length is always the actual measurement, so when you see 1x4x8', the board at the store will measure 3/4" x 3-1/2" x 8'(feet)

5 - 1x4x8'*** furring strips
1 - 1x2x8'*** furring strip
1/4" or 5mm utility plywood (at least 25" x 13.5")
8 feet twisted sisal rope (3/8" diameter)
15/32" drill bit
1/4" straight or rabbeting router bit*
1 1/4" brad nails (for nail gun) or finish nails (use hammer)
Wood Glue
Wood Stain

Measuring Tape
Safety Glasses
Table or Miter Saw
Nail gun or Hammer
Brush for gluing

*if you don't have a router, you can just nail the plywood to the bottom of your chest

Cut List: REMEMBEMBER: The said dimensions of a board are always smaller, but the said length is exact.  So 1X4 @ 27" is actually your 3/4" x 3-1/2" board and you cut it to 27".

8 - 1x4 @ 27"
8 - 1x4 @ 13"
4 - 1x4 @ 25.5"
4 - 1x2 @ 14"
2 - 1x2 @ 12"
1 - 25"x13.5" utility plywood
2 - 20"-long sisal rope
2 - 15"-long sisal rope

General Instructions:
I advise you to read through entire plan before beginning. Take precautions to build safely.  Always use straight boards. Work on a flat-level surface. Use glue with finish nails for a strong hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects. Ask for help if you need it and have FUN!

Step 1 - make a groove with your router and bit on the bottom edge of 2 of your 27" (1x4) and 2 of your 13" (1x4) boards.  You'll want the groove at least 1/4" above the bottom edge and 1/4" deep.  This groove is for your panel board to slide into.

Before you start the building, test to make sure your panel board fits inside your routed boards.

Step 2 - For each of your sides, lay out 4 of your 13" (1x4) pieces, making sure one of your routed boards is on the bottom, with the groove on the bottom.

Glue a 14" (1x2) and put on top of these boards on each side and use your nailer to put 3 brads in each board (or use your hammer and finish nails).

Step 3 - Align, glue* and nail your 27" (1x4) board with the routed groove to the same end as the routed groove on your sides.  I put 3 brads in each board.  

*This picture shows a very bad example of how to glue - oops!  You'll want to use a brush to spread your glue over the ENTIRE areas on all boards you are gluing together.  You'll know you have enough glue when you can hardly see the wood underneath.

Align, glue and nail the other 3 - 27" (1x4) boards.

Step 4 - Turn your project over and slide your panel board into the grooves.

Step 5 - Align, glue* and nail your last routed 27" (1x4) board to the end with your panel.

*Again, brush your glue on all areas of boards being glued together.

Align, glue* and nail your remaining 3 - 27" (1x4) boards.

*Again, bad example of gluing - brush glue over all boards.

Step 6 - For the lid, lay out your 4 - 25.5" (1x4) pieces and aline together. Glue* and nail your 12" (1x2) pieces to these boards so they are 4" from the ends.

*Brush glue to cover all areas being glued.

Step 7 - I wanted my chest to look worn and distressed so I found a few objects to hammer against my boards.  I used a screw and some metal beads that I liked the best.  It looks really cool once it is stained!

Step 8 - Decide what side you want to be your front for both the chest and lid.

For your rope hinges, measure on the back of your chest 7" from each side and make a circle about 1" down from the top.  On the lid, measure 6 1/4" from each side and make a circle about 1" from the bottom.

For your rope handles, measure across the 2nd board from the top.  Your side should be 14.5" across - mark a circle at 5 1/2" and 9".

Use your drill and 15/32 drill bit to drill each hole.  You may want to drill a smaller pilot hole to make drilling your large holes easier.

Step 9 - Use your 15" rope pieces for your hinges.  Tie the knots onto your chest first on the inside, then prop your lid up and tie the knots for your lid.  Make sure both rope hinges are the same length.  I like mine so they were tight once the lid is closed.  Cut off any extra rope.

Use your 20" rope pieces for your handles.  Thread each end in from the outside and tie your knots inside. Decide how big you want your handles before tying your last knot.  Make sure both handles are the same size.  Cut off any extra rope.

Step 10 - Sand your chest really well.  I like my corners really rounded especially since I have small children.  Once it's all sanded, make sure your chest is free of dust.

Step 11 - Stain your chest.  I did mine in sections.  After each section I would wipe the stain off and move to the next.  I did the bottom first, flipped it back over, did the inside, then the outside, then the inside of the lid, then I put the lid on and did the top of the lid (make sure it is dry enough - and even separate the lid from the chest with some cardboard pieces).  I also dabbed stain on my rope pieces to blend everything together.

Okay, that is WAY too cute!

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