How to Build a Fireplace Box

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A fireplace box can be as decorative as you care to make it or merely used as a working storage bin for the wood to burn during the heating season. Either way, they both need to be sturdy. You can choose your own type of wood based on the ornateness of your preferences and the intended location for your fireplace box.

Things You'll Need

  • ¾-inch plywood A box of 2-inch self-threading screws Screw gun Wood glue Table or circular saw Power belt sander with 60- and 150-grit belts Tape measure Pencil Piano hinge Hook-and-clasp lock 4 1-by-2-inch pieces of wood 4 1-by-4-inch pieces of wood Wood of your choice for the box itself
  • Make your base. Measure out a square on your plywood. You can use the tape measure and a pencil to draw the pattern for this square. This will be the bottom no matter which wood your choose. Cut out the square using either a table saw or circular saw.

  • Cut out your sides. Decide how high you want the sides to be and measure them out as well. You will outline them to have the same top and base length as the length of your plywood square. The height can be whatever you wish. Draw the pattern and cut all four sides out. They will all be identical in size and shape.

  • Make the frame for the box to stand on. Cut out the 1-by-2s so that they equally conform to the bottom measurements. Two of them will be the length of a side of the square bottom. The other two will need to be 2 inches shorter than this so that they can fit in between the two longer pieces to make a frame for the bottom to attach to. Using the self-threading screws and screw gun, glue and screw the 1-by-2s in place on the bottom piece, making sure they are flush with the edges. When finished, it will look like a square frame.

  • Attach each wooden side to the bottom frame by gluing and screwing. Use at least two screws for each side -- one near each end. You may also wish to place a screw in the center of each side for added stability. You should now have a four-sided box. There will be a right-angled gap on each corner. This is fine.

  • Cut your 1-by-4s so that they fit in the corners of your box and end up flush with the top. You can measure them by simply inserting them into the right-angled gaps and marking them where they will end up even with the top of the box. Then cut them at this mark.

  • Glue and screw the corner 1-by-4s into place. You will use at least one screw at the top and one screw at the bottom to hold the square rods in place. Also, use plenty of glue on the unexposed sides for additional security.

  • Sand everything to a smooth finish. Using your power sander and 60-grit belt, sand the top of the box so that every side is completely flush with one another. Change belts to 150 grit and smooth the top out.

  • Cut out a piece of plywood or other wood of your choice for the top. This will be your cover. It should measure slightly larger than the original bottom square because you have added wood sides to the equation. Just measure around the new perimeter of your box to determine the proper size for your lid.

  • Attach the piano hinge. First attach it to the edge of your cover and then the side of the box. You now have an opening top. It's best to use the drill or the screw gun for this step.

  • Smooth the cover with the sander. Using the 150-grit belt, sand all corners and edges of the cover so that they are flush with the box.

  • Install your hook and latch. Usually these will also be screwed into place with custom screws that come with the hook-and-latch hardware. If your hardware did not come with screws, use screws that can easily be drilled into the wood and that will clearly hold the latch in place without interfering with the hook's movement. Now, your fireplace box is done and you can begin using it to store wood and keep your fireplace area neat.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can stain or paint this plywood to any color that fits with your decor. If you want truly decorative box, substitute 1-by-4 pieces of your favorite wood such as oak or cherry, glue them together side to side, and then you may cut them to fit using the exact directions for making a plywood box. Once again, stain to match your decor. If you plan to use this fireplace box outside, then be sure to weatherproof it using sealant.
  • Always wear safety goggles when operating saws and other power tools. Make sure that you are wearing close-fitting clothing so that you do not accidentally snag your clothes on the saw or any other tools.

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