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Here is a new approach to the classic camp box or chuck box. I wanted a box that stored all of my cooking gear including my stove, was light enough for one person to carry and easy to build.

There are two big changes from most boxes. First the top is open, this allows easy access to the stove and reminds me of the old Volkswagon buses that had built in stoves. Second, the front doors open to the side instead of dropping down. Most people think that it is nice to have a work space in front of the box but I think the drop down table makes it hard to reach the stove. When this box is sitting on a picnic table, I use the table as a work space and can easily reach the stove.

The sides of the box are made from 1/2" plywood with a 1/4" inner shelf, doors and back panel. Everything is held together with framing brackets. No glue or nails.

The box holds everything I need to cook, clean and serve for 4 people. At camp, the pots hang on the left hand side to dry and the spatula and other utensils hang on the right. There is a spare propane canister behind the stove and the plastic tubs are used for washing dishes.

 
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k8e1 month ago

- Has ANYONE built one of these using industrial cardboard? I've seen some things done using it and they are strong enough to sit on (chairs) ... plenty strong enough for something like this it seems. Lighter, cheaper, ... ?

dougbyte1 month ago

Nice build. I put one together years ago and still use it. On the side of the "door" I took a 3 ring binder apart and mounted the clip part that holds the paper. I use that to hang dish towels etc. Thanks for posting this beautiful project.

wgreunke (author)  dougbyte1 month ago

I like the idea of re-purposing a three ring binder. Most of my stuff was obtained from the Goodwill. It doesn't make sense to buy something new if it is only going to be used ocasionally and I don't mind if something is broken or lost on a trip.

Tzhwhcrbv1 month ago
I love this! We have a similar one for my boy scout troop. For ours because it is much bigger he have removable legs that attach on the side. I
ka1dza3 years ago
I would suggest that you use large cup hooks for the pots and pans as screws won't hold them when you are underway.

The Boy Scouts have similar kitchen boxes too.

THAT would be something nice for my '78 Westy too.
wgreunke (author)  ka1dza3 years ago
When underway, the doors are closed and the pots and pans are stored. The screws are only used to hold things while at the campsite. I used the small screws because I did not want anything protruding from the side of the box that would get caught when loading and unloading the box.

if you have access to a nut riveter you can set nits into the side of the cabinet and use wing screws to mount strips with the hooks on the sides when its time to break down unscrew the strips and remount them on the inside, out of the way. you can use Eclips to retain the wing screws on the strips by putting them on the under side of the strip (use a diagonal cutter to strip a grove where the clop needs to sit) and if you cant find wing screws, inverted wing nuts threaded on to machine screws with a bit of red Loctite on the threads ant the head of the machine screw will do the same thing.

PitStoP3 years ago
This is cool. I like the idea that is portable. The only thing I will probly add is maybe some sheet metal or tiles for the top where the stove is. This way the grease or anything you heat, cook or spill won't stain into the wood and it'll be easy to clean. Also paint or an clear coat will work.
I think I might make one of these! Thanks for the idea wgreunke..
wgreunke (author)  PitStoP3 years ago
I like the idea of some simple smooth surface to aid cleaning. I may make a trip to Tap plastic to get some kind of liner for the top shelf. The wood is already coated with waterproof deck stain but it may be hard to clean. The stove seems to catch the bulk of the spills and splatters.
You could get a scrap piece of Formica and some contact cement that might work.
PitStoP rbbiggs3 years ago
I was thinking that this morning also. Basicly you can use just about anything that can be adhered to the wood and can be wiped clean. It's just a mater of choice and also trying to keep the weight to a minimun. speaking of weight, I was thinking if I make one I probly add some wheels in the back side kinda like a cooler has with something to pull it with this way if it gets heavy with all the things in it I won't have to carry it as much!
I could think of so many things I can add to one of these to do alot more than just cooking but it might just get too heavy.. =) But the again sometimes simple just might better.
wgreunke (author)  PitStoP3 years ago
Simple is the word. I tried to define this box by what I left out rather than what I could put in. At the moment, one person can easily carry the box. I do have to keep the food in a separate basket. This basket usually goes into those raccoon boxes that you find at campsites.

The problem with the boxes that carry food (other than size) is critters, ants bugs and even larger start picking up the smell of anything that was in the box in the past. And eventually become a nuisance. This design works with coolers which Ive found are the best thing for dry goods as well as cooled because the keep bugs out and can be rigged to keep animals out as well even hanging them from trees if needed. They also work with campers (trailer and motorhome) as the modular aspect simplifies everything, and this size box compliments that, fitting out of the way, being stackable, fasten in place as units with bungi cords, and over all, keeping everything simple, And as I said earlier, I would absolutely add removable legs to make it easy to use off a table, keeping the table clear as a worm surface and not have to move anything to serve the meal. and adding a flip tom cover would useful for when it isn't in use. keeping enclosed when in transit, and something I didn't think of then, an additional surface to prepare foods on prior to cooking...

I was just going to comment that Formica sheet (veneer) is available that can be added to the cook top surfaces to prevent stains and make cleaning easier.

sschoemann1 month ago

The one thing I would absolutely add is a set of legs. Tying up half of the table can become a problem, and adding removable legs would be fairly easy. another nice to have would be a "flip top" simply two hinged pieces, one covering the top opening and the other hinged to that, which would drop down totally enclosing the stove, keeping it enclosed during transport, and would simply swing over the top and hang down the back when it is in use.

Consider using sink cut outs from the counter top / kitchen cabinet store for at the very least the top shelf. It would be very easy to keep clean. GREAT 'ible!

David the R1 month ago

Nice straight forward design. Buy the utensils and build the box to match, that's the way to do it.

Good job.

rstalker1 month ago
All it needs is come wheels.
dorchard6 months ago
I love that this box isn't huge. As a small person, that's an important factor for me. You've obviously thought out how to maximize your space and efficiency. Thanks for the tute!
phanson41 year ago
this is the second chuck box that I have seen.. both designs are solid in the retrospect that their designers and users built them for their needs. I'm looking at size, weight, material , what I will be storing in the box and what I am going to use as a stand. I do a lot of camping and setup and tear down times are a real killer when it comes to where I go and how long I am going to stay.. so if this can help I'll build it
wgreunke (author)  phanson41 year ago
When I was doing my design, I encountered the extra stuff spiral. The more I have, the bigger the box, the heaver the box, the longer it takes to clean everything and the longer it takes to pack. When I minimized the stuff, I could spend more time camping and less time moving things around.

The next version of the box is actually going to be smaller as I incorporate the learnings from this project.

Ward
kjamesro1 year ago
I too have been looking for a light, but strong design, and will look closely at this.
One question, does the side of the wood by the camp stove get hot?
wgreunke (author)  kjamesro1 year ago
After five trips, I have not noticed a problem with the right side getting hot. Remember that the short width is a design mistake because I did not measure the stove in the opened condition. When you build your version, just add a couple of inches to the overall width and you can use your stove with both windshields on.
ki4oyh1 year ago
Looks nice. Thanks for the information and photos, should ease the construction considerably. The field notes were quite helpful, also.
jbuschie3 years ago
Hey wgruenke, thanks for the inspiration, and the good photos- been meaning to build one of these for years, and your post gave me enough detail to get going.  My son & I spent a few hours on a Sunday morning and built ours.  Photo attached from our first camping trip over the 4th of July with the new box- it was great to have everything we needed in one spot, instead of digging in the bottom of plastic bins all the time.

One customization I added is for my gas bottle, if you zoom in the picture, I used a jigsaw to cut out a half-circle to hold the bottle upright.  When the doors are closed, it can't tip over, so no risk of leaks.  We camped for 5 days, and cooked a lot, and had enough gas for the trip.  

Lots of fun to build, and even more fun to use- thought you'd enjoy the photo- Thanks!  
Chuck Box.jpg
wgreunke (author)  jbuschie3 years ago
Great Job! I really like how all the utensils are matching and ordered according to height. Looks like a great spot to spend 5 days. Glad you and your son had fun building it together and were able to complete it quickly. Really enjoy the picture; having my ideas used is a great compliment. Hope your success is an inspiration to others.
rbbiggs3 years ago
Great Instructable! Thanks so much for posting this. Exactly what I was looking for. You saved me from a bunch of trial and error !!
wgreunke (author)  rbbiggs3 years ago
Thanks RB.

This was actually my second attempt, the first prototype used 1/4" panels with long wooden stringers at each of the edges. The design was a little flimsy and it took forever to build. Using the 1/2" in an H shape with metal brackets and the rest 1/4" gave the best balance between weight and strength. Several of the 1/4" pieces were reused for the second generation and there are many small holes along the edges.

The biggest challenge with working with plywood is joining two edges at 90 deg in a simple fashion.
Debi Slager3 years ago
How about a cookie sheet instead of the 1/4 inch shelf? Slides out and is useable.
wgreunke (author)  Debi Slager3 years ago
I like that idea, it gives you another portable surface. I bet a flat polyethylene sheet would also double as a cutting board.

I do have two small cutting boards that slip inside.

One of the requirements is that everything can be washed in the tubs. I am a firm believer that a mess in the kitchen expands to fill all available counter space. By limiting the space, I minimize the amount of things that have to be cleaned while camping.
dougbyte3 years ago
Really like your camp box. I made one years ago, but no where as light as this one. One little tweek I applied was to dismantle a 3 ring binder note book. and screw the metal part with the rings on it, to the side of my box. Makes a great place to hang dish cloths or utensils.
wgreunke (author)  dougbyte3 years ago
Cool reuse of the binder. I also considered some kind of mini coat rack bar with hooks. Putting the hooks on the inside kept the box from getting caught when I pack the car. Believe it or not even the small latch on the front door gets caught up when I pack my car with the standard camping equipment. My cooler already has a gouge mark from when I did not leave enough space.

The other solution is a set of hooks that you can remove. When you get to the campsite, just clip the hooks on the side and you are ready to go.
mmyler3 years ago
Instead of a split top that folds out on either side to form work surfaces, how about a hinged flap that folds up on the right side that can be supported by the right front door? This way you could still have your pot hooks on the left side and it should not add too much weight.
wgreunke (author)  mmyler3 years ago
I considered something like that but the front doors ended up below the the level of the stove so they would not meet the top when it was folded out. The other issue with this concept is that the front door would prevent access to the counter top on the side of the box.

Now that I think about it, this actually might work because the table top space that is lost is gained from the open cover. This gives you more counter space when the box is on the ground.

Thanks for the idea.
gingerely3 years ago
I see the extra (?) propane cylinders behind the stove (and strapped in - nice!), but when you are using the stove, where do the tanks sit? Or, where would the tank being used be placed?
Also, to keep the stove in place while driving or the box being moved, do you have a strap over it to keep it in its spot. I can see it bouncing out - yikes!
I DO like this! Compact, usable - thumbs up!
wgreunke (author)  gingerely3 years ago
Hi Gingerely, the propane canisters stay in place while cooking. The rubber hose just connects to one of the cylinders. The stove lid protects them from the heat. Note that there is one active cylinder and one spare. Also I number the cylinders and always use the lowest number first. This prevents storing a bunch of half full cylinders.

No problem yet with things bouncing around, first because this is for family camping in a mini-van so speed bumps in the parking lot is the closest we get to off road. Second, the car gets a little full so the box usually has other stuff on top of it.
EvlRed3 years ago
My dad built us one of these back in the 70's when we were car camping in an old Volvo station wagon. Thank you so much for sharing this, it brought back some fond memories!

BTW keep weight in mind when you select your supplies, or else you might need more than 2 handles to carry it and all of it's contents! ;)
Pops built one sort of like this in the '60s that we called the chuck box (see chuck wagon.) He made the front door hinged at the bottom. It out and down and was supported with a couple of chains. We could let the door down and have some workspace - covered with Contact Paper of course. He angled the front to fit the angle of the back of the old Ford station wagon. When we stopped for lunch at a roadside park, the chuck box was fully accessible after opening the back of the station wagon. No unloading the chuck box or its contents. Freshly made sandwiches!
wgreunke (author)  hammer98763 years ago
I had a lot of conflict on whether to make the front fold down. In the end, I felt it was easier to have the doors open to the side so I could easily reach the stove without leaning over the counter. Also when I am at a campsite or other location I can set the box on the ground and not have to worry about stepping on the drop down lid.

I like the story of traveling in the station wagon. I designed this to serve a similar purpose in a mini-van, the modern equivalent of a station wagon.
thor743 years ago
excelente me gusta mucho su idea,gracias por compartirla.
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