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Build a chuck box

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

Make camp cooking easier and more convenient with this portable kitchen box.



  • Your cooking gear
  • Tape measure
  • 9/16″ plywood (You’ll need one sheet for the small size box shown.)
  • 4 1″ x 3″ oak planks for legs (The average height for the swing-down work surface should be 30″ to 34″)
  • Scrap wood for drawer rails
  • Carriage bolts and wing nuts
  • Carpenter’s glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill and bits
  • Fine-toothed saw
  • Chain and eye screws (Instead of chain, you can substitute cable or cord.)
  • Paint
  • Exterior wood screws
  • Trunk handles (The box will be heavy, so choose handles that are strong and easy on the hands.)
  • Two eye screws and swing hooks
  • Piano hinge
  • Sturdy plastic wash tubs for drawers


Step 1: Gather all the cooking and cleaning gear you want to store in your chuck box. This will determine the size of your chuck box and how the inside is designed. The box shown here is just one example of how your box could look. Some boxes have only one or two drawers to make room for larger items such as pots and pans. It’s up to you.

Once you have decided on the size and shape of your box, cut out all the plywood pieces. Sand, prime and paint all plywood surfaces and edges before assembling. This is much easier than painting the box afterward.

Step 2: Screw and glue the box together. Remember to pre-drill all screw holes and countersink the heads for a neat finish. After your box is assembled, lightly sand and then brush on a second coat of paint.

Step 3: Lay the painted door in position and carefully screw on the piano hinge.


Step 4: Close the door and determine the position of the eye screws and swing hooks. Screw them in place.

Step 5: Attach the trunk handles. (You might want to use nuts and bolts for this so the handles are extra strong. Some larger boxes many need two handles per side.)


Adding legs can get your chuck box off the ground and easily accessible. If you don’t have a tailgate or picnic table to set your chuck box on, this is definitely the way to go. The legs store flat and can be attached with no tools needed using wing nuts and carriage bolts.

The legs can be made from 2″ x 4″ fir or 1″ x 3″ oak. The oak is more expensive but will be stronger and last longer. Make sure the legs are angled outward enough so the box is sturdy when the front is open and in use.

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10 Comments on Build a chuck box

  1. kjgfyrdtfvgb // June 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm // Reply


  2. I might not make one but to me it is the coolest thing I have ever seen for camping.

  3. our legs just come out and slide into a different position for carrying

  4. its great

  5. For legs, we used folding banquet table legs that can be bought at a good hardware store. We also put pneumatic hand truck wheels on one side and a good handle on the other for easy moving without having to have 2 people to carry it. pneumatic wheels make it easy to get over obstacles like tree roots and rocks. Good basic plan though, I like it…many different uses for the box

  6. greenhornet // October 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm // Reply

    put hinges on the legs so it can fold

  7. Troop 979 is beast // September 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm // Reply

    Thanks alot we’ve been trying to make a good one for ages.

  8. Our Chuck boxes had ‘pockets’ on the sides the wooden legs slid into. That way, we didn’t have to worry about losing the carriage bolts! Very cool article, brought back a lot of memories! Thanks!

  9. troop 218 rocks! // August 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm // Reply

    AHH… so useful.

  10. Steve scout // August 3, 2012 at 8:15 am // Reply

    Designing a chuck box is a challenge. Make it sturdy enough to last, big enough to carry what is needed, and light enough for scouts to lift and set up without adult help. I’m looking forward to seeing if this one measures up.

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