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Hello,

I'm looking into building a toy box for my little girl and have a question about wood types.

First, would Pine, Cedar, or PureBond Plywood be the best for a toy box?  These woods are affordable so I'm not to worried about the cost.  

Second, the Cedar boards that the local big box stores sell have a smooth face on one side and are then very rough, splintery and groovy on the other side. I don't have a planer to pass the board through to smooth it down. Is this typical of all cedar boards, or just the way the big box stores receive the wood? Would sanding it be best or would using a hand planer be better?

Thank you!

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I used 3/4 AC plywood on my toyboxes, its already sanded smooth on one side. As for your second question, if you own a belt sander it will smooth it down pretty quickly, if not, a plane will reduce the amount of time you spend sanding with a less powerful sander

The cedar boards with the rough-sawn side, hasn't been planed smooth, like the smooth surface on the opposite face.  It's intentionally made that way.

The rough-sawn surface can be easily be sanded or planed, to make it smooth.

The rough-sawn board side is intended/used for projects, where a rough-sawn texture is desired, such as for trim work on exterior projects, such as decks, and the like.

It also makes for great looking planter boxes.  If a rough surface is desired on all exposed faces, the smooth surfaces can be made rough, by using a rotary style wire brush in a rotary tool, to give it an appealing texture.

The cedar wood can be left to age naturally, turning to a grayish color, or stained with a clear coat, so as to retain the natural beauty of cedar.

Cedar can also be treated, for exterior use, by applying boiled linseed oil, to retain it's natural beauty.

Pine or spruce makes for a nice toy box.

Plywood can also be used, but the edges need to be treated to cover the laminations.

Edge treatment can be accomplished by veneer strips or edge banding, bonded with wood glue.

Thank you so much for the great information?
Whoops...not a question above.
When it comes to pine wood the big box stores around me carry three types. There's what you could call standard, premium and select.

What application would these three types be for? The select pine is very nice, straight with a very nice grain.

Select grade is "free" of knots---used for projects where you don't want knots showing and is my choice for your intended project.

You could use a "choice" grade---select the boards that have minimal knots.

"Standard" grade will contain many knots.  It's okay for cutting around the knots and using for smaller project pieces. 

When wider panels or sections are needed, it's best to use 3-4" wide boards and edge join them.

Wide boards, of 6" and greater, will develop cutting,

Cedar material makes for a very nice looking toy box.

Select boards that contain some knots, which will make for an attractive appearance.

For some projects, I want some knots, just for that purpose.

Knotty Pine, is another nice material, if that's the end result you desire.

Choice or standard grade can be used, followed by filling the voids and then painting.

Ken Darga said:

Select grade is "free" of knots---used for projects where you don't want knots showing and is my choice for your intended project.

You could use a "choice" grade---select the boards that have minimal knots.

"Standard" grade will contain many knots.  It's okay for cutting around the knots and using for smaller project pieces. 

When wider panels or sections are needed, it's best to use 3-4" wide boards and edge join them.

Wide boards, of 6" and greater, will develop cutting,

Hey Ethan,

As an aside, are you following specific plans for the the toy box build?  I'm curious as I will be building a toy box for my own baby...he/she is due around the end of June...I figured I might get a chance to build one over the summer.

Thanks for any info.  

As far as the wood choice, when I build mine, I will likely use Pine or Poplar, though Cedar would be just as nice.  I don't think you could go wrong with whatever you choose.  Best of luck!

Thanks Keith, same to you! I haven't chosen any specific plans yet for the toy box because I'm still going back and forth with the style I want to pursue.  I do however keep coming back to a Pirate Treasure Chest as the look for the toy box. It's certainly not the most girly toy box, but very cool nonetheless. ;)  I will either use Pine or Cedar. Those two types of wood are readily available in my area.

For the lid I'm going to use a hinge like this to prevent pinched fingers. 

Toy Box Hinge

If you have any plans or styles you've run across I'd love to see them as well.

Here are a few toy box plans/pictures that I've looked at. Maybe these will help you out, although most are geared toward the pirate chest look.

Plans:

https://chiefs-shop.com/html/pirates_chest_.html

http://www.gcwoodworks.com/Treasure%20Chest%20Woodworking%20Plans.htm (I really LOVE the look of this one. I'm tempted to try and recreate this on my own without the plans)

http://ana-white.com/2013/09/plans/simple-modern-toy-box-lid

http://woodcraftplans.com/osc/personalized-toy-chest-plans-p-244.html 

Pictures

http://www.target.com/p/cherry-finish-barrel-top-toy-chest-by-badge...  

http://www.officialpsds.com/images/thumbs/PIRATE-TREASURE-CHEST-psd...

http://stockfresh.com/files/k/koya79/m/65/487644_stock-photo-treasu...

http://kregjig.ning.com/photo/album/show?id=2900167%3AAlbum%3A376681

This is a blanket chest, but could probably be used as a toy box if you don't plan on moving it a lot. Very cool.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37MXtPwUtQI

Wow!  Thanks for all the info Ethan...please update us when you get to finishing your build.  I'll do the same when I get to mine (i'm working on a shelving unit to fit inside the closet of the baby's room at the moment, so toybox isn't happening yet).

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