Q: Rather than glue up a bunch of my reclaimed pallet wood, I’m thinking about using some pre-formed “project boards” from the big box store to build a Dutch tool chest (further glue-ups in the house have been outlawed, so it’s either that or wait until it’s warm enough for Titebond in my unheated shop). I’m not too worried about the source material looking like a bowling alley for Smurfs, but I question whether milk paint will stick to something that appears to be 30 percent glue.
And because they also sell a 16″ project board, I thought I’d ask if either of you have seen a DTC that deep. Seems like I’d have to make it 36″ wide so it wouldn’t tumble over, and at that point, I might be better off with an English chest. What are your thoughts?
A: You can certainly use “project boards,” but there are a couple of cons: they cost about twice as much as gluing up your own panels from 1x, and they are often moisture-laden. They might look flat and inviting while sitting there all shiny in their plastic wrap, but remove the plastic and they might cup like a Pringle. But they might not. It’s a crap shoot.
For a Dutch tool chest, however, a 1×12 is wide enough for all but the lid. In fact, that’s the recommended material for those who don’t have access to a jointer and planer (and who don’t want to process material by hand). So were it me, I’d look for the flattest, straightest 1×12 you can find, then go to town. And for the lid, when I’m gluing up panels for a class with our limited number of clamps, I use Titebond and leave the clamps on for only an hour. Now I’m not saying you should…but surely there’s an hour in the day when you could get away with it? (Then hide the panel behind the garbage can overnight while the glue fully cures.)
But yes, milk paint will stick to the project boards – but if you’re at all concerned about it, you can apply a barrier coat of dewaxed shellac between the raw wood and the paint.
And sure – you can make a Dutch tool chest 16″ deep (which will end up at 17-1/2″ after you attach the front and back). In fact, it’ll be more stable than the usual 12-3/4″ deep DTC). I’ve seen them in all sizes. The only drawback with making it deeper (or larger in any dimension) is that it’s no longer as portable.