DIY: Easy Drawers and Boxes

Author:
Publish date:
Functional drawers are easy to make using the author’s method

Functional drawers are easy to make using the author’s method

During the extensive refit of my Pearson 40, I needed to create a significant number of custom-sized plywood drawers and stowage bins, or boxes. These included 10 under-floor storage bins, under-sink organizers, boxes for tools and stores, and even a specially fitted cat litterbox. There are many traditional ways to create the joints to build such boxes, but in the interest of quick build times and the desire to make them waterproof and easy to clean, I chose a method that uses a fillet of epoxy paste. The following photos show how to easily create boxes of any size or shape.

The parts of the box have been cut and are ready to be assembled (top left); Assembling the box with wood glue and clamps to hold the parts together (top right); The author uses tongue depressors to shape the epoxy fillets (bottom left: This box needs to take heavy weights so fiberglass tape has been laid into the corners (bottom right)

The parts of the box have been cut and are ready to be assembled (top left); Assembling the box with wood glue and clamps to hold the parts together (top right); The author uses tongue depressors to shape the epoxy fillets (bottom left: This box needs to take heavy weights so fiberglass tape has been laid into the corners (bottom right)

Step 1: Cut the four sides and bottom. This is best accomplished with a table saw but can also be done with a circular saw. The joints are simple overlaps without any special joinery, like dovetails or rabbets. Remember that with an overlap joint you need to accommodate the joint thickness when you cut the sides and ends to length.

Step 2: Glue the box together with inexpensive wood glue, and then clamp until the glue sets up. This glue only holds the box together until the next step is completed.

Step 3: A fillet of thickened epoxy paste makes for an extremely strong joint. I use this method on all the interior joints within the box I am building. It takes a little practice to make the fillet smooth and even, but once you learn how to do it, it is very fast. The best tool I’ve found for making these fillets is a standard wooden tongue depressor. You can also cut a plastic spatula/spreader into the desired curve and use it to create the appropriate radius in the epoxy paste. Although standard 90-degree joints create hard corners that can be hard to clean (and can also trap moisture and water) an epoxy-filleted joint is waterproof and creates a nicely filled curved joint that is easy to clean. If the box is going to be used in a particularly abusive environment or needs to be capable of carrying heavy loads, you might want to add some fiberglass tape reinforcement over the fillet.

The finished boxes can be varnished or painted (top row); As well as storage bins (bottom left) the author made a custom litterbox for his cat (bottom right)

The finished boxes can be varnished or painted (top row); As well as storage bins (bottom left) the author made a custom litterbox for his cat (bottom right)

Step 4: Once the epoxy hardens—usually around 24 hours—it is ready to be sanded and finished, with either paint or varnish. If the box is going to be subjected to significant water exposure, I recommend that the entire box be epoxy-coated, especially the edges. Once this waterproof layer has hardened, it can be sanded and finish applied. As you can see in the photos, if the fillet is properly shaped and the appropriate sanding is done, the book should look great even with clear varnish. 

Ed Note: SAIL is sad to report that Chip Lawson, who recently completed an 11-year refit of his Pearson 40, Passion, passed away unexpectedly this past winter. A great guy and a fine sailor, he will be missed by many, including the staff at SAIL.

February 2019

Related

Pico-Michael

Cruising: Less (LOA) is More

The breeze kicks up. The boat digs in, and I tighten my grip on the mainsheet. It’s overcast but warm. The slate-blue water around me is patterned with whitecaps. Ahead, the low, tumbling hills of Old Mission Peninsula, a 17-mile long finger of land separating the east and west ...read more

2020-06-01_13-53-06

A New Era for Sailing Program Safety

As states begin to lift restrictions on gathering and marinas open back up, many sailing programs are still wary, especially since sailors from different households will necessarily be in close quarters, whether on their boat, in a launch or at a yacht club. Most will not be ...read more

MTcyNTIwMzc1NDYzMTkyNDkw

Zipwake

Zipwake Series S, the world's first inexpensive dynamic trim-control system, incorporates a state-of-the-art family of durable, fast-acting interceptors. The system is fully automatic, and is designed to significantly enhance performance, fuel economy, comfort and safety when ...read more

CCA-story-2048x

Safety Culture Starts with the Skipper

Sailing might not be the first pastime that comes to mind when you think of extreme sports, but that’s not to say risks don’t abound. The Cruising Club of America tackles many of them head-on in their newly released guide for skippers, Creating a Culture of Safety: The Skipper’s ...read more

GMR19_F53_0539

Boat Review: Beneteau First Yacht 53

Luxury performance-cruising isn’t entirely new. You can go fast and still be comfortable. You can even race if you make the right tradeoffs—or so says Beneteau, which recently launched its First Yacht 53, in the process also reinventing the company’s “First” brand. Design & ...read more

BirdonBoard

Cruising: Birds of a Feather

One of the neatest things about sailing offshore is the other lifeforms we encounter. We smile when we see flying fish skimming over the surface of the sea. We cheer when dolphins leap and dance in our bow waves. We are duly reverent when mighty whales sound and spout, and ...read more

pirate-marlin-logo

Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament

This Spring has felt a bit like a slow day of fishing but it’s almost time to time to Bait…and Switch. The Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournaments offer something for every member of your crew. Exceptional fishing, fun times with family, old friends and new. Our run is short, our ...read more