Plan Your Camp Kitchen


As you plan your camp kitchen, there are many things to consider with regard to the dimensions, the quality of wood, and the costs for all the necessary parts.  All the hinges, hooks, eyes, handles, etc will add up. Even if you do have the correct lumber, there will be costs.  Taking some time to plan your camp kitchen will be the best advice I could give.  There are many variations and some will certainly be more difficult to build.consider how you will use it.  Simply put, you are the best judge between funtional, or taking the plans to the next lever for organizational purposes.

Now that I have already built my Chuck Box long ago and am only now beginning to write about the process, I must state that all along, I had believed I had built the Camp Kitchen out of 5/8' plywood.  As I have made measurements for my plans, I have discovered I had actually used 1/2' ply.

I phoned the local lumber store to confirm, and have learned one difference than simply by measurements.  With any plywood, it is made of layers.  1/2' Plywood will have 4 layers, while 5/8' has 5 layers. It is also important to note that all plywood is actually just a little smaller than its stated dimensions.  This means, for example, 1/2' ply measures a little more than 3/8'.

My best tip is to make the cuts for the 4 sides, not including the 'doors', and then remeasure for the internal shelves, or in my particular case, the top shelf as only one that spans the entire length. One further note is that the top of the Camp Kitchen is actually wider than the rest of the box, which accomodates for the width of the 2 doors.

As I am not a lifetime carpenter, nor or contractor, I will not claim to be an expert in working with wood, but I have had some experience.  Assuming you are also not an expert, I will point out for you to consider the blade width.

Most blade will wive a width somewhere between 1/16' and 1/8'.  So, do yourself a favor and measure after each cut, and not simply make a few marks and cut.

I was not especially concerned with perfection, as I was about simply getting the job done.  I don't own a table saw, so all of my 

cuts were made with either a 'skill saw' or a chop saw.  For my 'non-exacting' demands, I was not so concerned with absolutely perfect cuts,

The legs, and the brackets that hold them require some angle cuts, which may require a chop saw or some other more precise cutting device than a skill saw. Other than these two cutting tools, the only other tool needed would be a drill and some bits, for pilot holes.

While everyone, may not have all these tools, there may be a couple options for you. Many lumber stores will actually make 2 or 3 cuts for you when you purchase your lumber, and any additional cuts may come with a small fee.

Once you have embarked on your project, you may need to make some further cuts, such as the angled cuts forthe legs and brackets.  You may be able to go to a small construction site, and 'bribe' a carpenter to make a few small cuts for you, possibly even for a 6 pack or a pizza.

As I mentioned before, I was not so concerned with perfection as I was about having a functional Camp Kitchen. I didn't use high quality lumber.  I had a sheet of plywood in my garage, so I used what I had, knowing that if I wanted to have high quality lumber, it would come at a cost.  If you are more concerned with having a higher quality wood, after all this is a camp kitchen, you will hopefully use for years to come, you may consider an MDF or a plywood that is finished on one side.

This 'finished' plywood is very nice on one side, which would be facing out, and the insides, are not as readily visible.

One more thing you may want to consider, would be having a wood glue for your joints, in addition to the screws that hold it all together.

Once complete, you may even consider coating everything with a poly-urithane, which will seal the wood from the elements, and should not me noticed with the naked eye.

For the legs and brackets, you will not want to use plywood of any kind, as it must be capable of supporting the weight of the chuck box and its contents.

As you plan your camp kitchen, consider that I used what I had around my home, and I happened to have some 'slats' from an old 'ikea' style bed.  I am not certain of the type of wood these are made of, but they were nice in appearance, and have rounded edges. While, they were good enough for me, I did experience some splitting when driving the screws into the short brackets.

While you will be able to weather-proof your camp Kitchen with a poy-urithane or a tarp, take into consideration the legs will be exposed to the elements at least to some extent.  The bottom part of the legs will be in constant contact with the ground, which in many cases may be wet.

You may want to consider treated 2x4's, which are certainly sturdy enough and already have chemicals injected ito the wood to protect them from the elements.

As I have stated, I was not overly concerned with the quality of the wood, as I had some around the house, but mostly it was a cost issue. The hinges, corner brackets, eyes and hooks, and the handles, all together were close to $100.

Lastly, I did use some 1x2's to aid in attaching the edges, rather than depending on screwing the edges together, which would not be stable enough should I have done that.  This is more cost effective than having lots of corner brackets as well. 

There are three additional pieces of wood, which I don't know where I got them, that support the two shelves on the inside. These are what determines the height of the shelves, which I simply match with the 1x2' at the same height I want.

I hope my descriptions of my process will help you to plan your camping box effectively, and hopefully give some insight to the many different factors to go from planning to building to actually using.


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