Woodworking Talk banner

weight constraints

988 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Frederic
So I started a project, a simple box 16" x 24" x 12" made of 1/2" baltic birch with box joint assembling. The box weighs in the 14lbs range, which turns out is too heavy. So now I'm stuck redoing it lighter, so that leaves me with a few questions.

Could I do it in 3/8" baltic birch? or is that too thin for its size and for the box joints? I'm afraid its not much surface to glue the joinery, and I am insetting the bottom into a 1/4" groove, which is also maybe borderline? The other problem with that is it doesn't bring the weight down a whole lot.

The other thought I had is making it from glued up solid wood panels, I'm thinking to 1/2" thick in a wood that would be considerably lighter than baltic birch plywood, what is light and strong would cedar be a good bet? This will be used outdoors at times, and subject to the elements, so solid wood did scare me a bit.

This thing should go down to under 10lbs, so I'm open to other suggestions.

I'm sure you can imagine what this looks like but I added a picture anyway


See less See more
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Take a look at the 1/2" Purebond at Home Depot. That stuff is probably 30% lighter than BB.

that's a thought, I was using BB because the plies are pretty uniform so it lends itself well to joinery and keeping edges exposed. Could the box joints be an issue with purebond?
It isn't quite as good a product as BB but you'll have to take a look and make that determination. The outer ply is thinner and easy to sand through if you're not careful. But it isn't a bad product at all.

The only reason I had a sheet was to make Longworth chucks for selling in our Etsy shop but after I cut the first one I decided it was too lightweight for that purpose and switched to BB.

You do not tell us the purpose of this box. Just what weights/forces does it have to withstand? How will the box be used.

There are a lot of potential materials that it could be made from depending upon usage. Possibly it could be made of cardboard.

GeorgeC, The box will be mounted on a bicycle, it's a cargo bike so it's meant to accommodate a box or load of that size. The bike will be stored indoors, and rarely used in the rain, probably only if the person is caught by the rain unintentionally. It will be subject to wear and tear, I'm sure the bike will be sometimes leaned up against walls or laid on the ground, and possibly even crashed. This means the material needs to be strong and not fall apart too quickly, which is why baltic birch seemed like a good call. The client didn't request any specific weight constraints at the beginning but now it's become an important issue for him.
In all honesty I would buy a large plastic motorcycle back box for that situation. a couple pounds weight, totally weather proof, even comes with a lid and a lock.

Sometimes hard work isnt the answer.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
In all honesty I would buy a large plastic motorcycle back box for that situation. a couple pounds weight, totally weather proof, even comes with a lid and a lock.
My thoughts exactly! But hey not my call, I'm just the one making it!
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.