Captain's Table

Mark Austen

There are a number of plans available in the Internet for making medieval chests or ones that look like medieval boxes from the outside and we decided that, since two of the boxes we have are either damaged or don't really fit the period we are reenacting, it was about time to replace them with better ones.

After browsing around for a while we settled on the plans by Robyyan Torr d'Elandris with additional photos by Master Terafan. I like these boxes, they are simple and easy to make but I don't really like plans that start out with the cutting of the pieces immediately followed by "trim x off the sides of one of the pieces". Why not just cut them the correct size to start with?

Well, it's not quite as easy as that, but I did decide that a slightly different approach would suit me better. So, here is a photo essay on the construction of the smaller of the two boxes.

When I bought the 3/8" (9mm) plywood I had it cut by the supplier since they offered a cutting service and I needed to cut the sheet so that it would fit into the car. I had them cut a 24" piece off the end of the sheet which will form the longer sides of the box.

On the plans this is cut into 4 equal parts of 12" width, however, each part will end up less than this due to the width of the saw blade. Instead I marked out the first 12" piece and cut it exactly to size and repeated this a further two times to give me 3 pieces 24" x 12" and 1 piece 24" x 11 and a bit" and this last piece will be trimmed to 23 1/4" x 11 1/4" and for the bottom of the box

The end pieces were cut in a similar fashion. The required width is 12" x 11 1/4" so I cut these exactly to the required size rather than cut them to 12" x 12" and then trim 3/8 off each side as the original plans require.

So, the plywood is 9 mm or 3/8" thick and the other wood for the battens is 70mm wide by 22mm thick. If your materials are of different dimensions you'll need to make the appropriate adjustments.