Last week while cleaning dirty clothes out of the hamper in my bedroom, I discovered the back of the unit had broken away from the bottom. (That happens when kids stuff more clothes in than it was meant to hold.)
Now this was not an heirloom piece of furniture, but my wife and I received it as a wedding gift nearly 16 years ago. It was made from wicker and particleboard and plastic—at the Redmon Basket Co. in our town, Peru, Indiana. But it had a solid oak lid, which was, obviously, still good. So I decided I could just make a new box and keep the lid. That makes it easy because I would just build a new box to the dimensions of the old one.
And because I had several nice scrap pieces of oak-veneered MDF, I decided to make it all from cutoffs and leftovers. The front and both sides I made by framing the MDF panels with 1-1/4″-wide oak, using my Festool Domino and its loose tenons to join it all together. It’s a nice way to build, although I realize it is very pricey. Still, you could do the same with biscuits or dowels.
For the back panel I wanted to stay with the idea of a perforated hardboard panel for ventilation. (Apparently, my socks stink, but those are unproved rumors.) So I framed the hardboard with more oak, using stub-tenon-and-groove joinery. Again, very easy to do. I joined the four panels with more Domino tenons.
For the bottom I used an edge-glued oak panel, attached with screws in slotted holes to allow for wood movement. Then I made simple block feet with the inverse routed profile of the bottom. These I just glued in place with a rub joint.
After a coat of Minwax Antique Oil finish, I let it dry and then moved it into place. I’m pretty sure I’ll get more than 16 years of use from this one.
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