Mini pallet wood travel chest

I’ve made a miniature travel chest/box for the missus, using some of the planed pallet wood left over from the Christmas beer totes. What I didn’t mention in the write up for that project was that I bought some chest corner protectors on eBay but when they arrived they were so light weight that they would have looked ridiculous on the beer totes. This project was a way of testing to see what they look like on something scaled more appropriately.

I started by cutting the four sides; two long, two short and then box jointing these using my simple box joint jig. It is small at about 20cm by 8cm. Here it is with the joints dry fitted:


Next I traced and cut a board to size for the base.


I milled a rebate around the edge of this to recess it into the bottom of the box for extra gluing coverage. This will be more than strong enough for a box of this size.


Arty angled shot

I glued up the box sides and then sanded down all the joint ends to a coarse grit. I had left these a little long for easier sanding. Then I glued in the base, clamped it up good n’proper and wiped off as much excess glue as I could reach through the nest of clamps using a damp cloth. 45 minutes later I released all the clamps and used a scraper to remove the rest of the squeeze out.

After the glue dried fully, I flush routed the base to the sides before moving on to the top. I was worried about chip-out of the light pallet timber when doing this because the boards are the softest timber, so I travelled the length of the grain on the two long sides and then sanded the narrow endgrain portions.

I had a choice to make for the top of the box; more flat material or something even more rustic. In the pile of leftovers I had a roughly curved, live edge piece of pallet slat, which I thought might fit the bill nicely.

I traced the top of the box onto this and went through the same process for cutting to size and rebating as I had done with the base but also sanded the top to accentuate the natural curve already there. Then time for another dry fit.

I glued the top in place and sanded it flush all round before finish sanding the whole box by hand to 400 grit. Then came the scary bit - I marked the front and back of the box and then positioned the fence of the table saw before cutting all the way around the box to separate it into two parts, a body and a lid. It was my first doing this and I nearly got it right. I used a spacer the same width as the kerf to hold the box steady on the last cut but I should have put spacers down the sides too. As a result I nicked the underside of the top but I was able to sand out most of it.


It was at this point that the irony hit me - the chest corner protectors led to this box being built but they didn’t suit the construction so I scrapped the idea of using them! No matter, it was a fun and educational piece to do.

I sanded both pieces to 240 grit and applied a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil.

Last I fitted the lid using two tiny hinges that I picked up at a local hardware store. I’m quite pleased with the end result.

I’ve ordered a little latch on eBay to finish it off.

Hope it goes down well with the boss.