Captain's Table

Mark Austen

2018.09.08 - New Medieval Boxes

This weekend's task, or one of them at least, is to make two new medieval boxes, one to hold the Cobb and its accessories and the other will become the clothes box. The current clothes box will be repurposed as the kitchen box and the old, smaller and falling apart kitchen box will be left in the container as storage for the kitchen equipment that is not being taken on a particular event.

I did make a Cobb box a few years ago, June 2010 according to my records but it was quickly hijacked into being a non-Cobb box with a gas stove and a container for various other things.


Here it is today, battered and work but still used regularly and still gong string more that 8 years on. It is, however quite heavy. The new Cobb box is going to be exactly the same internal dimensions except the width which will be about 4" or 10cm longer. This will make the external width 30" and two boxes like this should just fit in to the minibus across the width of the car behind the front seats. However, instead of plywood & pine I'll be using plywood & Paulownia which is much lighter that pine but just as strong.

Firstly I had to get the plywood for the boxes so a quick trip to Stoke Ferry Timber, they open at 08:00 on a Saturday, got me the plywood and they cut one sheet up into three pieces 14 1/2" wide by 8' long with a piece about 4" wide left over.


I have some Paulownia left over from the batch sent to me by our late friend Thomas which will be used for the outer bit of the boxes.

I have 3 1/2 sheets of it left 40cm wide and 100cm long and it is 18mm wide.



Here is the Paulownia cut up.


I didn't have enough to get all the parts out in one piece, so some of the part are made up of several smaller pieces.


And these mahogany pieces? Well, I messed up the measurements for the 8 long pieces you can see in the photo, they are too short by about 36mm and I don't have enough Paulownia to cut new ones, so I'm going to do what all good carpenters do when face with such a situation, I'm going to make the mistake into a feature. The too short piece will be cut in two and the mahogany inserted in the middle.


I didn't measure each piece and then cut it to length, instead I measured and cut the first piece, then used the gas bottle as a stop and subsequent pieces were put on to the mitre saw with one end resting against the gas bottle and the cut made. The result was several pieces of the same length without multiple measuring.


The next job was to cut the plywood pieces. Eight large pieces to form the top, bottom and the two long sides and four shorter pieces to form the ends.


Here is one side assembled with the feature inserts correcting the error.


Several hours later fount side and four ends ready to be put together.


Here is the bottom loosely held in place which give the box some rigidity whilst woking on other bits.


It is just tacked in place with some nails for now.


The corners have been cut off to allow dust and other bits to be swept out without having to turn the box upside down.


It's always good when things fit as they should. Both the bottom and the top, shown here, were a snug fit.


So, two boxes and just the lids to finish.


And here they are. Two almost identical boxes. A good day's work.

Mind you, I'll be taking them both apart tomorrow first thing and glueing them back together again!