Potato Bin: part one

Over the next two weeks I’m going to be posting some detailed info on my current project along with pictures and thoughts about the build. As I mentioned this is going to be partly salvaged material (shutters) augmented with only what you can buy at the local big box home store.

I love working in nice hardwoods, and even the occasional exotic species, but let’s face it, this is going to hold potatoes and onions. No need for mahogany here. If, on the other hand, you want to adapt the build to something a little more up-market, I’ll give some thoughts on what I would do along the way.

To start out, I reclaimed a stack of shutters from a local home that was being updated. The shutters I saved were a little dirty, but structurally sound. They measure roughly 15″ x 55″ and they were painted sort of a royal blue.

20150604_144838The first task, of course, when you’re dealing with something like this is to clean it up and take stock of what you’ve got. Just like any work you’re doing you want to continually remove dust and debris to make all of the glue joints and mechanical joints as clean as possible.

So what have we got?  At the risk of oversimplification, we’ve got two frame and panel constructions. They’re not quite traditional mortise and tenon joints, but they function that way, and they’re sturdy. I’m going to need to add structure to turn it into something more like casework, but it’s a good start.


With the first build, I was really just making a utility stand that might be used as a nightstand or beside a reading chair. I love having stacks of books next to my bed, so in that application I decided just to create two open shelves. Here I’m doing something different so I went out and purchased some baskets with sturdy wire frames that will hold whatever my wife wants to store in them. They’re roughly 11 1/4″ square in every direction.

Spacing out accordingly, you can start to imagine the rest of the framework needed. We’ll get to that tomorrow.

In the mean time, what do you do if you don’t stumble upon a nice batch of shutters? Well, as I mentioned, they’re really just frame and panel constructions so you could build a 1 or 2 panel side with mortise and tenon joints and 1/4″ birch plywood panels. That would look pretty classy. If you went that route you have an option in the next part of the build, to make more traditional casework.

There’s another option that is far easier and would probably fit the aesthetic better and scrsc-bnbs-3b3-lthat is to build 2 simple board and batten shutters like these:

The dimensions would stay very close to the same and if you were creative about where you placed the battens and other structural elements you could make some of them do double duty.

Anyway, more on that tomorrow. Go find (or make) some shutters and get ready to build along!


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