Toy Box Construction

This is the third of the three toy boxes I put together this spring.  About a week after I finished it, I looked closer and realized I had used the door stop I bought for the Library Closet Door as trim, oops!  That’s what happens when you’re building stuff out of the “scraps” in your shop ;0)

Bead Board

I still had one glued up alder board from the stash that came with my table saw, so I got it off the shelf, planed it down smooth then decided how big I could build my box.  After cutting everything to length, I got my bead board blade set up on the table saw to add some details to the wood.  I use my Feather Board set up to keep everything in place, then just moved the guide an inch and a half after I had run each board on both ends.


Cutting Dados

To make things easy, I set the edge guide on my router at 1″ and cut everything with a 3/4″ straight bit at a depth of 3/8″

The ends needed vertical dados for the sides to fit into, plus a dado across the bottom for the bottom board to set in.  The two longer sides only needed a dado across the bottom since they would be set into the two ends.

I waited to measure and cut the bottom until I had all my dados cut and checked to see if everything fit together nicely.  The bottom is the same length as the long sides, but only as wide the two vertical dados + 3/4″, (the depth of the dado x2)

Somewhere along here I noticed that my top and bottom edges had never been straightened….must have overlooked that part when I was planing the board.  No worries, I got out my Stanley no. 7 and took a couple of swipes across each edge until it was smoothed out.

Jointing planes are used laying on their side.  You need to raise your workpiece up off the bench a little with scraps of wood, then hold it in place.  Then just run it over the edge until you are getting an even ribbon all the way across.

Assembling the Box

It’s always a good idea to double check everything to make sure your measurements were correct before you start gluing ;0). Don’t ask how I know……I put glue in all of my dados and claIMG_9045mped the whole thing together and then used 2″ brads to secure everything.  I left the clamps on until the glue dried to ensure tight joints.

I was done for the day, so I left it clamped overnight, but you could pull them off in an hour.

I noticed not all of my joints were flush, so I smoothed them out with a jack plane before continuing on the trim.

Adding Trim


Always us glue if you are attaching with a pin nailer

I decided on a simple trim around the bottom.   A.K.A, the doorstop that I bought for the library closet ;0).  Yip, didn’t remember that’s what it was for at the time.  On the long sides I just cut a piece to length, glued and nailed it to the bottom with my 23 ga. pin nailer.  You could use an 18 ga. nail gun too, it just leaves  a bigger hole.

Next I chamfered the edges of the short sides with a low angle block plane.  All this means is I took the sharp corner off at about 45 degrees, using the plane was faster than getting out the router and doing a round over edge.


With that done I beveled the edges the trim for the short sides with the miter saw as I was cutting them so they wouldn’t be as sharp.

Glued and attached with the pin nailer.

Making trim for the top

I just got a fun new set of bull nose router bits that are a little different than normal ones.  The bottom straight edge is a little wider than the top, this allows you to put a rounded bead at the edge of a board, which I thought was rather neat!  I cut my scraps down to the width I needed and ran them all through the router.  Notice the feather boards in use ;0)


Finished edge on trim

This trim is going on the top with mitered corners, bead to the outside.  After making the first toy box my friend came by to see what I was up to and asked if I had put the top trim together like a picture frame before attaching it to the top.  No, I hadn’t thought of doing that…I just measured each piece as I went, then got them all mixed up when I took them off for something,  and then tried to get them to line up again after the jumble.

There is a better way.  It involves getting your corner clamp off the peg board and actually using it for what it is intended.  You would probably get even better results if you have 4 corner clamps.

The thing to remember when cutting miters is you are measuring the inside length.  In this case I measured from inside corner to inside corner of the toy box.  Then you cut your angle from starting from the inside, going to the outside.  Theoretically my box should have been square with each side being the same….it wasn’t quite the same on the short ends, so I averaged my lengths.

Lay everything out to make sure it fits, then pick a corner, set it in your clamp, put glue on one side and tighten everything into place.  At this point I got out the nail gun with 2″ nails and put a couple through each corner.  They didn’t sink in all of the way due to the groove in my trim so I used a punch to set them deeper.

Now you just need to glue and pin!  Make sure everything is lined up. I always put on pin in, then move to the opposite side and put another pin in to keep things from sliding out of place as I go.

Adding Legs

My router table was still set up with the beading bit so to continue the theme I just ran it on all four sides of some 2×2″ poplar, cut it into 4 pieces then beveled the edge of each one at the miter saw.  You can see in the picture that I clamped a couple of boards to my fence to hold the legs as I beveled them.

Now a little glue, some 2″ nails to hold it and a screw through the top and we’re done!

If I had thought this through a little harder, I would have put my legs on before trimming the bottom, then the nails going through the leg wouldn’t be visible.  The nails won’t hold the legs by themselves, but are great for holding it in place while you put a screw though the top.  I predrilled my hole, though the bottom and a little way into the leg.  Then used a countersink bit so the screw would sit flush.  Finally I put a 2″ screw into each leg and it was ready for a final sand and some paint!


Toy box ready to be painted!

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