Friday, January 25


Crating begins by making rubber booties for the cradles rockers to protect them from rubbing after nesting the cradles together. Then I nest them and take careful measurements of the overall size of the total package. In addition to the booties I use Styrofoam to pad the sides of the cradles where they might rub together.

The finished crate must be snug to keep the cradles from shifting about, but not so tight that things get crushed. Once I have my measurements and have added figures for packaging I stretch out the monster sheet of crate board and begin laying out the panels. To help keep everything nice and square I borrow a tool from the drywall industry; a huge T-square. As long as I working from factory cut edges things turn out nicely squared up.

After the panels are cut I begin to build the base of the crate. Like the foundation of a home or the chassis of a car, a good base is necessary even for a crate if it is to properly protect the contents and allow it to be moved about. I cut relief’s in the longs sides so a fork lift or pallet jack can be used to move the crate – the dock workers and truckers appreciate this and since it means not having to man-handle the crate around the truck it also means less chance of damage.

Once the crate base is done I lay it on a roller platform and set the cradles in place on it, insert the separator foam pieces and securely strap the cradles together with cellophane ‘flat twine’. Then I install the blocking rails under the cradle rockers that will help support the cradles evenly and prevent them from trying to rock. Additional blocking is made up of crate board scraps and Styrofoam. This blocking is added to key points inside the crate to hold the cradles in place. I suppose I could just build a box and fill it with foam peanuts or shredded paper, but with a box this size, it would take a WHOLE lot of peanuts, and those would make a big mess when the crate is opened up. Doing it this way is lots more work, but better for everyone in the long run.
The blocking is glued together then glued to the side panels as I assemble the crate. The side panels will lift up and out after a few screws are removed for easy access to the furniture inside. No crowbar required. Once the blocking is all in place I begin applying the banding around the perimeter of the crate. This too is held in place by a spray-on contact cement. Key joints are reinforced with screws for easy disassembly.

The final step is to cut the top piece, add banding around the edge to give the screws a bearing surface and reinforce them. Once the top blocking is glued in place I secure the top with screws. Then the crate is ready to weigh and move to the dock where we will put it on our truck and take it to White Pine TN, the closest O.D.F.L. truck dock. The truck line won’t send their semi-trucks up Piney Mountain Road, and if they did they’d charge an additional $65.00 fee for doing so since our dock is not large or sturdy enough to run a fork lift on. So we take it to them.

The crate is 43” x 46” x 36” high and weighs 140 pounds.

Tools required:
  • A #2 Robertson head (square drive) screw driver. A power screw driver or reversible drill with this bit is recommended, but that’s up to you.
  • A knife or pair of scissors.
  • A wheeled platform or cart is recommended if you must move it very far.

If you must tip the crate up on its side in order to move it through a doorway look for the side marked “Alternate ‘down’ side”; setting it up on this side is least likely to cause damage to the contents. Set the crate down flat before opening it.

1) Remove the 4 wood grained couplers around the base of the crate.
2) Remove the screws around the perimeter of the top and lift off the top.
3) Remove the 3 screws along each corner post and remove the side panels.
4) Cut the strapping that holds the two cradles to each other.
5) Remove the cradles.
6) Please remember that cardboard is recyclable.

Thus ends this adventure in furniture making.


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