How to Build Wood Carrying Cases

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Wooden carrying cases protect and beautify.
Wooden carrying cases protect and beautify. (Image: half-open wooden box image by Sergey Shlyaev from Fotolia.com)

Carrying cases help to protect valuable and fragile items during transport. Wood carrying cases add an element of beauty to their utilitarian purpose. Simple wood carrying cases can be built to suit almost any purpose. Whether you choose to stain, paint or leave your case natural, the grain of the wood gives the case a rich texture, and will last long after plastic and cheap metal cases have been disposed of. Each case will have its own dimensions and variations to suit the use but a simple plan can be adapted to fit almost any use.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • 1/2-inch plywood
  • Table saw
  • 3/4-inch thick hardwood lumber
  • Tape measure
  • Router table
  • Miter saw
  • Pin nail gun
  • Wood glue
  • Utility hinges and screws
  • Drill
  • Handle
  • Eyehook latch

Place the item you intend to carry on a pieces of 1/2-inch cabinet grade plywood. Draw a rectangle large enough to comfortably contain it, with at least 1-inch on each side, on the plywood. Cut out two rectangles that size from the plywood using your table saw.

Choose a piece of 3/4-inch hardwood lumber at least 2 inches wider than the item is tall. Cut two pieces to the length of the long edge of your rectangle, plus 2 1/2-inches and two to the length of your short edge, plus 2 1/2-inches.

Install a 1/4-inch rabbet bit with a bearing in your router table. Turn the two collet nuts on the router, opposite each other with a pair of wrenches. Turn the outside nut counterclockwise and the inside nut clockwise to release the collet. Fit the spindle of the bit into the collet and reverse the process to tighten it. Set the depth of the router to 1/2-inch.

Start the router and run both long edges of each hardwood piece over the bit, cutting a 1/2-by-1/4-inch rabbet along the edges. Miter the ends of the hardwood pieces at 45-degrees one right and one left outside miter on each piece, with the rabbeted edge against the saw fence so that it is along the shorter edge of the mitered piece.

Glue and nail the hardwood pieces together to form rectangle. Stand the pieces on edge, with the beveled, rabbeted face to the inside and fit the corners tightly to form perfect 90-degree corners. Use 1 1/4-inch nails in a pin nail gun to make the joints. Avoid nailing in the center 1-inch of each corner. Glue and nail the two plywood panels into the rabbeted rectangle on either face of this frame.

Set your table saw blade to 7/8-inch height and adjust the fence to position the blade in the center of the width of the hardwood frame. Start the saw and pass the box over the blade, cutting one long edge.

Place two 1-inch utility hinges on this cut edge, bridging the cut, 2-inches in from each end. Attach the hinges to the box using 3/4-inch wood screws, one through each hole in the box. Start the saw and cut the remaining three sides to cut the box in half, so that it folds open with the hinges.

Install a 3-inch utility handle on the face of the box opposite the hinges, centered between the corners of the box, and 1/2-inch from the cut you just made. Attach the handle using two 3/4-inch wood screws, one through each hole in the handle.

Drive the screw portion of the eye half of an eyehook latch into the hardwood on one side of the cut, near the handle. Install the hook half of the latch on the opposite side of the cut so that it holds the box firmly closed when latched.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses when operating power tools, especially saws. Hearing protection is also recommended.

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References

  • Making Wooden Boxes; Jeff Greff; 1996
  • Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Box Making; Doug Stowe; 2004
  • Reader's Digest: Miter Saw
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