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"Continuous" handles?

948 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  hockeyfan_019
OK, so I scored a big sheet of 3/4 exterior ply at the BORG for 70% off, and I needed to build some boxes, perfect. Normally I cut all the pcs first, then cut the handles, then finish the assembly with Titebond III and staples. But, I have found that cutting the handles using the jig I built like another member here suggested (using a circular saw and an angle plate, nibbling away at the shape until the handle is cut) takes a huge amount of time, and my back isn't happy with me afterward. Considering that I've got parts on the bench for 6 boxes, I didn't feel like spending more than an hour hunched over the bench to put handles on 24 sides. So, while I already had the dado blade in the saw to cut the top frame rests, I just dropped the 3/4 wide dado set 1/2 way down the side and cut another dado all the way across the OUTSIDE of each part. This creates a "notch" all the way around, essentially giving me a way to grip it however I want. The only potential issues I can see are that such a cut weakens the box by taking away nearly 50% of the compressive strength, eliminates 50% of the insulating value in the strip right around the middle, and perhaps gives other insects like ants and spiders another place to hide.

Bottom line, has anybody else tried this? Any issues? It'll save a ton of time, and simplify the build process further. Using ply with lap joints, and "continuous" handles, I could probably kick out an entire set of boxes from the whole sheet in less than an hour :)


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Eliminate the "weakness" and put a cleat all the way around. Collects water too. Glued lap joints?
I second the idea of cleats as an alternative - if you angle their tops a few degrees then rain-water will run off. Glue 'em and screw-'em in place.
I dont like plywood for boxes. Have used for bottom boards. And that doesn’t hold up great to the weather.
Set your saw blade at 5° and rip 1-1/2 cleats from 3/4 stock. Fasten 2” down from the top with four 1-1/4 wood screws driven from the inside. Run a thin bead of caulk along to top joint to keep water out. The beveled top edge sheds water. The beveled bottom improves your grip. It is much more ergonomic and you can lift closer to your center of gravity.
Well, I just bit the bullet and ripped the groove in them, but I appreciate comments from everybody. I can taper the bottom edge of each with a glued-in wedge though quite easily. I didn't think to mention it earlier, but part of the idea was that I wanted to make hive wraps this year, and anything protruding from the box perimeter impairs the ability of the wraps to fit nicely., hence my reluctance to add cleats. The cleats are a bit of a pain when you are stacking boxes too, but presumably most of my boxes should be in use all the time, so storage shouldn't be such a concern. Hopefully it will not be a mistake in the end, but live and learn I guess. I'll let you all know how it goes, hopefully I am not just forming a great place for more spiders to overwinter too.

For the $8 I spent on the plywood I couldn't resist the ability to build another 6 medium boxes. Definitely I am concerned about potential water intrusion and swelling or delamination, or the ability for the bees to get to the resin bonder, so I coated all the board edges and frame rests with several coats of thinned Titebond III. Hopefully it'll soak in a bit an form a seal. Outsides are painted with latex paint.
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