Father's Day has been and gone and being behind on projects lately I just finished this seed box for my Dad. It's made completely from pallet wood except for the latch which was made with a piece of old bed frame. There's 2 dividers inside which can be written on with chalk to organise your seeds inside.
There's some instructions below and also a video up on my YouTube channel, I hope you enjoy it!
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Step 1: Tools and Materials Used
- Smoothing and jointing plane (or a jointer)
- Crosscut saw and rip saw (or table saw)
- Hand drill and/or brace (or drill)
- 3mm bit and 8mm bit
- Two chisels including a thin chisel (8mm or so)
- Carving chisels
- Dividers or compass
- 2 X lengths of pallet wood (100cm X 10cm X 1.5cm)
- 1 X length of pallet wood (70cm X 14cm X 1.5cm)
- Small piece of scrap wood for latch
- 8mm Dowel
- 24 X 4cm screws
- 8 X 1.5mm screws
- Blackboard/chalkboard paint
- Black gloss
- Wood finish (I used Danish oil)
Step 2: Jointing, Gluing and Planing the Boards
I cut the two long lengths of pallet wood to just over 70cm and jointed them using my jointing plane which is a fairly simple process though can take some getting used to. I glued them along their sides overnight and then planed them down the next day with a smoothing plane.
Step 3: Cutting the Sides and Making the Dados
With the 2 planks glued together and planed smooth I was then able to cut the front, back and the two sides to the dimensions shown in the plans. I don't have a router plane so I had to do dados the old fashioned way! I cut down the lines using a straight edge and a knife and then deepened the cuts with a wide chisel. It was then just a case of taking a thin chisel (mine was around 8mm) and cutting out the waste to form the dados. I lined up the front piece to the back piece to make sure I got the dados in the same place.
If you've never done dados with a chisel I suggest you try it, it was quite a satisfying process!
Step 4: Drilling the Front, Back and Sides and Screwing Them Together
I opted for screws on this build for a few reasons; first of all I wanted to make this build accessible to as many people as possible, secondly I had some interested salvages screws with prominent heads which I thought would look cool and thirdly I'm going to be making a box with dovetails in a few weeks so I thought it best not to repeat myself!
You could use dowels as well or splines and still remain true to the dimensions on the plans. You'd of course have to alter them a little if you wished to dovetail it.
I found that clamping the first 2 pieces to the side of the bench at a right angle made the joints perfectly square and kept the screws true. When using a screwdriver to drive screws into a frame/carcass I always find it easier to use clamps to do all the holding.
Step 5: Cutting and Fitting the Bottom
Because my wood was not exactly 15mm thick I had to measure each side to get the size of the bottom piece. I cut it slightly over sized and planed it down piece by piece until it fit snugly. After that it was just a case of clamping it to the bench and screwing it in. I put a flay headed screwdriver piece in my brace to make screwing in a doddle, this also allowed me to take it slowly and listen for any splitting which may have occurred.
Step 6: Fitting the Lid and the Dowel
When I cut the lid to the dimensions as shown on the plans I then chamfered all the edges and corners to give it a nicer look. I needed a way of keeping the lid shut so I drilled an 8mm hole on the front side of the lid and then split a piece of pallet wood off and hit it through my dowel plate. It was then just a case of gluing it in and cutting it to the desired length.
I took care to clamp the lid on top in the exact place I wanted it (which took a lot of fiddling) and then held one hinge up and marked the holes. I measured where I placed the first hinge and made sure the other hinge was the same distance from the edge. Using some small screws I had lying around I screwed the hinges on.
Step 7: Carving the Latch
This step is of course completely optional and I'm afraid my carving "skills" are not that great at this point in my life so I feel my authority to "teach" this part is a little wobbly!
I will however tell you how I did it. I drew a picture of an acorn and then transferred the outline to the wood with a pencil, using a carving knife I cut along the pencil line. Taking the 8mm chisel I then just curled away the wood until I had something that vaguely resembled an acorn. I cut it out of the piece and finished it off with a carving knife and a small carving gouge.
Step 8: Fitting the Latch
This part is a little tricky and required some trial and error on my part. I covered the end of the dowel in pencil and then held the latch over the box where I wanted it to be when closed, I then pushed onto the dowel which left a pencil mark on the latch where the dowel would go. I then marked a point on the latch where I wanted it to pivot.
I made a slight mistake here in the video but now realise a better way to do it. After marking where the screw would go it would be best to drill a very small hole all the way through. You can then use that hole on the back side of the latch to put one point of a compass or dividers into. Put the other point on one side of the dowel hole and mark a line to the side of the latch, repeat process for the other side of the dowel hole as you can see in the photo.
After that all that was left to do was cut out the waste and screw it to the front of the box.
Step 9: Making the Dividers and Lettering
To make the dividers I cut a piece of pallet wood down the centre to create two small and thin pieces. I then had to plane them down smooth and decided to curve the ends over. This is another step that needs tweaking as you go along, I just used a block plane to shave down the edges until they fit snugly but not too tightly into the dados.
For the lettering I just printed out a font that I liked and cut out the letters, I then used it as a template and drew the letters on with pencil.
After finishing the box with Danish oil I waited for it to dry and then used black gloss to paint the letters. After that I got some blackboard/chalkboard paint and painted a little on the top of each divider so that I could label the dividers. For example I labelled them "flowers" and "veg" but of course being chalk you can change them to whatever you like. It might be a better idea to use chalkboard/blackboard pens or markers for this as the chalk was a little hard to write with in such a small space.
Step 10: Put Your Seeds In!
I'm fairly pleased with how this box turned out and my Dad seems to like it. I think in the future I would maybe make the box a bit more interesting, maybe paint some details on or use different coloured woods. It works well though and closes up tightly so that should hopefully keep the seeds dry and keep any plucky mice away from them.
If you liked that Instructable then please feel free to shoot me a comment below, whether it be just a general comment, a question or a criticism I welcome them all.