Building For Durability

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Unlike tool boxes that remain cloistered within the shop, site boxes must withstand the rigors of life on the road. At some time, your box will probably be exposed to extreme weather conditions, rough rides and less than courteous treatment from site gorillas ("sorry, was that your toolbox we used to jack up the loading ramp?"). In your design you should strive for great durability while maintaining the lightest weight possible.

Plan to build a site box from rugged, stable, but lightweight materials using strong joinery (see the drawing on p. 130 for general design parameters). I would build boxes larger than 2 cu. ft. from '/2-in. hardwood plywood, reinforced at the corners with an internal metal or wood framework. Boxes smaller than this can be built from lightweight solid stock-even pine—as long as you use durable joints (such as the dovetail or wedged through mortise and tenon) and metal guard plates at the outside corners. Any glues or adhesive caulking used in construction must be rated waterproof for exterior applications. Fasteners and hardware should be chosen for weather resistance—in other words, no uncoated ferrous metal. Instead, choose from stainless steel, bronze or hot-dipped galvanized steel.

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