Lee Valley & Veritas
Woodworking Newsletter
  Volume 8, Issue 5 - May 2014    
Interesting Read
Excerpt from Audels Carpenters and Builders Guide #2, Algrove Publishing Classic Reprint Series, 2006. (First published in 1923.)

Boxes and Crates.The packing or crating of household goods, furniture, etc., for removal is not usually classed as carpentry work, but the jobbing shop works up a good reputation for itself by never refusing an order, and therefore looks upon everything pertaining to woodwork and a lot of things that do not pertain to wood work as legitimate business. Many families that make a practice of moving to suburban homes for the summer months are well able and quite willing to pay for the service of a competent man to do the packing and crating, and what follows constitutes a few ideas on the subject of making crates and packing cases.
Proper way of using cleats at the corners of boxes.
Fig. 1,714.—Proper way of using cleats at the corners of boxes.
In making packing cases a very common mistake is to get them much too large. Many people procure large boxes from the dry goods merchant, probably getting a large flimsy case in which millinery, for example, has been packed. They fill this box with crockery, flatirons and preserves in glass jars and then call down maledictions upon the heads of the freight handlers because things get broken. Packing cases should be designed with a view to what is to go into them and made wherever possible of a size that can be easily handled. This, though probably using up a little more material for the job, will save money in the end.

Where dry goods boxes and such like have been procured they can be utilized by cutting them up and making them smaller, or by using the thin material of which they are composed for intermediate slats on the sides of other crates. The best way to take them to pieces is to saw through the sides close to the ends, thus wasting about an inch of each end of the sides, but obviating the chance of splitting which you are almost certain to do if you try to knock them apart in the usual way. After the sides have been cut the small pieces can be knocked from the ends and the nails withdrawn, with the result that all of the boards of the original case are in as good condition as ever, excepting that the sides are an inch or so shorter than they originally were.
One form of crate.
Fig. 1,715.—One form of crate.
A packing case is a simple thing to make, but being usually constructed of narrow boards it is often necessary to use cleats at the corners of it. Inexperienced workmen frequently make the mistake of putting these cleats on the inside of the case.

The proper way of making the case is shown in fig. 1,714. The piece nailed across the cleats at the ends as shown not only serves for a handle but in many cases prevents the freight handlers standing the package on end. The boards in the bottom of the case are put on the short way of it and the top can be fixed in the same manner, or it may be made up in the form of a lid with the boards running lengthwise and two cleats fastened across them to keep them together. These cleats also should be on the outside.
Another form of crate.
Fig. 1,716.—Another form of crate.
Although the shapes and sizes of crates vary considerably they are all made on one general principle, which is illustrated in figs. 1,715 and 1,716. If these sketches be carefully studied it will be perceived that fig. 1,716 is constructed in the same manner as fig. 1,715, but because of its greater depth the ends and sides are made of slats instead of being made solid.
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