Captain's Table

Mark Austen


Takedown Box Take II

One of the problems with the otherwise excellent take-down boxes I wrote about some while ago is that they, by virtue of their simplified construction, are heavy even when empty. So, when one of our other not-really-even-slightly-medieval-looking boxes needed replacement I decided to build a new box that would be considerably lighter than the other two that I made. It would not be quite so strong, but since its intended contents are curtains and sheets for use in the tent, this should not be a problem. My wife also asked that the bottom be removable for ease of cleaning.

Thomas, a good fried of ours from Austria, once arranged a shipment for me of a wood called Paulownia (details may be found
here and here) which is a very light wood both in terms of weight and colour and I determined to use this wood and plywood to make the new box.

When using this wood, by the way, make sure you are using very sharp tools or the wood will splinter and crack. It is also quite easy to damage so also make sure that your workbench is clean before laying the wood on it.

The paulownia was used for the frames of the sides and top with rebate or shoulder joint to hold them together and the holes on the panels then filled with 6mm plywood rather than fixing the frames to the plywood backing as in the original boxes. I used a circular saw table to cut the frames to the desired width and length and a router table to cut the rebates. The plywood inserts were cut with a band saw and the bottom with a hand saw.

My carpentry is not of the highest quality and the panel inserts, which in theory should have been rectangular were skewed a bit and I had to do some careful cutting with the bandsaw to get the panels to fit snugly.

The required box dimensions were 77cm long, 39cm wide and 45cm high. This would make it the same size and the box it was replacing in width and height but a little longer. The meant in our game of re-enactor car tetris the new box would fit in to the space we allowed for the old one.

The frames were made 9cm wide and the thickness of the paulownia I have is 18mm. The rebates were cut 9mm deep and 9mm wide.

As you can see from the photos below, the result is not at all bad. The outside has been stained but the inside left the original colours. I also used some metal reinforcing to help brace the corners of the box and the lid.

Tina intends to paint suitable medieval scenes on the panels using milk paint. Should look very good once finished, hopefully in time for the next season.