How to Make a Reinforced Marquetry Wood Chest

How to make a wooden trunk of reinforced plywood

A wooden trunk, in addition to being a great storage system, usually looks very good as a decoration at home. But on the other hand, thinking about the hobby to which I dedicate this blog, it is also a project that we all like to do when we start with our first carpentry work, since it helps us to see how our skills are with wood and with assemblies.

Plywood trunk

Thus, depending on the type of wooden joints or assemblies with which we dare, we can get an idea of ​​where our skills go. But to make a large wooden trunk, we will also need to scratch a lot in our pocket. So in this post we are going to see a cheaper version and still easy to make. So let's see how to make a reinforced marquetry trunk.

How to cut plywood boards

Ready-to-cut plywood sheets

To make this reinforced plywood wooden trunk I am going to use some 5 millimeter plywood boards.


And this is where I explain that I usually call this plate marquetry, since when I was a child at school we made figures cutting these plates with the hand marquetry saw. And we called these plates marquetry. I don't know if that name is correct, but I guess it really is plywood. In this case 5 millimeters.

How to fit the vertical pieces of the trunk

Well, we continue. I have 2 identical square plates for the short sides of the trunk. And four also identical rectangular ones.

These rectangular ones are one for the front, one for the back, one for the base and the last one for the trunk lid. And the problem is that due to system that I will use to fit the different pieces of the trunk, I have to cut the sheets in a certain way that we are going to see next.

First of all, keep in mind that I will not cut the sheet metal on the base and the one on the lid. And in addition, we will also take into account that the side of the square pieces is equal to the short side of the rectangular sheets.

How to adjust the short sides

To adjust the short sides we put one on top of the base more or less in position. And we put behind, adjusted against the long side of the base, a sheet and a reinforcement that add up to a thick A.

Since the sheet plus the reinforcement add a thickness equal to A, that is just what we see that I have left over where I have my hand.

Then, as in the front (where I have my hand) I will have another plate with another reinforcement, I will have twice as much. So I have to cut a vertical strip with a width equal to 2A (two sheets plus two reinforcements).

Mark the marquetry strip I want to cut

I put two reinforcements and two sheets against the edge of the square sections and mark the strip that I have to cut.

In each square sheet I only have to cut a strip on one of the four sides.

How to adjust the long sides

But now to adjust the long sides I just put a reinforcement (with a thickness B) adjusted on a short edge of the base. And since on the other side I will have another reinforcement I have a width equal to 2B. So I have to cut a strip equal to 2B. Since the bulk of the reinforcements I call B.

Mark the strip that I want to cut on the long sides

In this way, I put two reinforcements against a short side of the two rectangular sheets that I have to cut, and mark the strip that I have to cut.

Just like before, I just have to cut a strip into two rectangular boards.

Precisely cut plywood sheets

And I'm going to cut the boards making sure that the pieces are exactly the same two by two. For this I make a guide for cutting boards with the circular saw. Since I'm actually going to make three trunks, this guide allows me to quickly and accurately work with this wood saw.

Keep in mind that I made the cuts on what will be the vertical edges of these boards (on the edges that will remain vertical once the trunk is finished), so that the height of the boards remains as it was.

Plywood sheets to make the trunk

And after cutting all the pieces, I can get an idea of ​​what this reinforced plywood trunk will look like.

How to make the template to reinforce the plywood

Make a template to reinforce the plywood sheets

To make the template to put the reinforcements, I have to put one of the rectangular boards that I did NOT cut on top of a chipboard that serves as a work table. And as seen in the photo, so I can screw a few pieces of boards all around.

And now I put the wood reinforcements inside the template, apply a glue bead on top of the reinforcements, and staple the plywood board on top of the reinforcements. I have to do this with the two rectangular boards that I did NOT cut.

Trunk lid and base made of reinforced plywood

So I get the base and lid of the plywood trunk.

Put reinforcements on the front and back of the trunk

The next thing is to put the reinforcements on the front and on the back of this wooden trunk. And in this case the template that I am going to use to put the reinforcements is the same one that I used in the case of the base and the cover. And I put the reinforcements inside the insole in exactly the same way.

But now the plywood sheets are the ones I cut, and therefore are somewhat shorter than in the previous case. The trick is to use a B brace on each side to center the plates on the template. So, I apply the glue on the reinforcements, center the sheet over the reinforcements and the clip. And I have to do the same with the two long plates that I had cut.

Make the second template

So now I only have to reinforce the sides of the trunk. And for this this time I have to make a new template for the plywood pieces that were square.

But these pieces are now rectangular, so I put two vertical plywood cutouts and glued to the long sides of this piece. And I screw some ribbons all around. I think the image shows well how to make this new template.

As in the previous cases, I put the reinforcements inside the insole again. Note that the reinforcements go against the 4 slats of the template.

I apply carpenter's glue and put the plywood veneer on top of the reinforcements, centering it with the help of cutouts C. And I staple the veneer to the wooden reinforcements. So I have reinforced the short sides of the plywood trunk.

How to fit the short sides of the trunk

In this way we get the sides of the trunk to fit the front and the back, as seen in the image.

How to assemble the plywood trunk

Now assembling the reinforced plywood trunk will be very easy, as the corners will fit easily. So, we are going to apply glue in the small corner that we have in the front piece and in the back piece. We fit the short sides of the trunk in these corners, and we reinforce the joints with the help of a pneumatic nailer.

Glue and nail the trunk base

And since I don't have to wait for the glue to dry, I can now put on the base and the trunk lid.

To put the base I apply a bead of carpenter's glue and nail the base with the help of the pneumatic nailer.

And to put the lid of the wooden trunk I am going to install some simple hinges and a simple lock to which I can put an old padlock that I have. I also put another reinforcement on the sides to put some metal handles. And also, since I want this trunk to be easy to move, I installed some wheels for it.

And so far the manufacture of this wooden trunk. I tried to explain everything step by step, but if you prefer you also have at the beginning of this post the video in which I make this wooden trunk.

And since not everything always works out perfectly, something that you will already know if you follow my carpentry channel on YouTube, below you have another video in which I tell some details when it comes to making this trunk.


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