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I've got a notion to build what's called a 'kitchen box' or 'grub box' for car camping in my VW Westphalia camper. If you don't recognize those terms, it's a sort of portable cabinet to hold cookware and cooking utensils, dishes and cups and flatware, and so forth. You can carry it out and set it on a campsite table, then when you're finished cleaning up you close it up and lock it so the critters can't get in. Folding handles on the sides to carry it around.

Traditionally it would have been built out of pine, but the pine I can get around here is flat-sawn and I don't like the look of it. I'd rather have quarter-sawn wood, for appearance. I'd also like to use a light-weight wood, so that the box all by itself isn't too heavy. It'll be heavy enough with the cookware and so forth in it.

I'd use butternut if I could get it locally, but I can't. Yellow cedar's too yellow, fir is too pink - I'll finish it natural, with no staining on account of the problems matching stain for repairs.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Tom
 

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The first thing I would suggest Tom is that you finish filling out your profile so we have an idea where you are because if you live in Florida and some member says you can go to a supplier in north west Washington it won't be very helpful to you.

If you can easily get flat sawn it either means the quarter sawn is somewhere you aren't looking or the trees are so small that there isn't any. Vertical grain can be had most anywhere if you are willing to pay the price. Red oak is probably one of the best choices between hardness, price, and weight.
 

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frame the box and use dadoed in plywood panels...
 

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I'd go with the framed plywood too. You can veneer the panels with a wood you like and the frames can be made out of the same wood as the veneers or a contrasting wood. I would think 1/4" ply wood work.
 

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Thanks, folks. Those sound like good ideas. Doing 1/4" ply framed panels seems like a great idea to keep the weight down. I'd been thinking of solid wood panels, about 1/2", but the 1/4" ply would definitely be lighter, and would perhaps allow me to use a more durable wood for the framing.

Tom
 

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Thanks, folks. Those sound like good ideas. Doing 1/4" ply framed panels seems like a great idea to keep the weight down. I'd been thinking of solid wood panels, about 1/2", but the 1/4" ply would definitely be lighter, and would perhaps allow me to use a more durable wood for the framing.

Tom
and if the ply is Baltic Birch you will be miles ahead of the game...
get it w/ Phenolic Facing will be like moving to the head of the class...
 

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Thanks, folks. Those sound like good ideas. Doing 1/4" ply framed panels seems like a great idea to keep the weight down. I'd been thinking of solid wood panels, about 1/2", but the 1/4" ply would definitely be lighter, and would perhaps allow me to use a more durable wood for the framing.

Tom
One of the things that has surprised me in woodworking is how little wood you really need for strength. I bet if you use 1/4" BB and 1/2" x 1/2" poplar stock for the frame it will be plenty strong. You might be able to get away with 1/2" ply and frameless construction. Not sure which would be lighter. Let us know how it turns out.
 

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One of the things that has surprised me in woodworking is how little wood you really need for strength. I bet if you use 1/4" BB and 1/2" x 1/2" poplar stock for the frame it will be plenty strong. You might be able to get away with 1/2" ply and frameless construction. Not sure which would be lighter. Let us know how it turns out.
don't think poplar would be a good choice..
¾'' BB for the frame because of possible very heavy use and torquing......
 

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I guess we disagree stick. Glued and screwed, it would hold up pretty well. Be worth a test. I think most woodworkers have a tendency to overbuild.
built a bunch of them for the Boy Scouts...
over building in their case is about mandatory...

Oak, Ash, and the like fared well...
firs... okay...
Poplar, pines... not so good...
splits over time and CAN NOT absorb the abuse...
100% BB did the best overall...
piano hinges rank at the top...
M&T joinery all the way...
hardwood border the plywood edges

Poplar: Very easy to work in almost all regards, one of Poplar’s only downsides is its softness. Due to its low density, Poplar can sometimes leave fuzzy surfaces and edges: especially during shaping or sanding. Sanding to finer grits of sandpaper may be necessary to obtain a smooth surface.
 
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