Are you falling over yourself to get in the door? Is your family beset by the problem of too many shoes on the front step? Never fear - Justin Newcombe has the answer in a box.
I feel like putting up a sign: Imelda Marcos lives here. The shoe situation on the back steps can get right out of control if you've got a small space like I have. Even if you have plenty of space, shoe containment is a recurring problem, although it seems worse in winter. I don't even wear shoes for most of summer but in winter each destination requires different footwear - the shops, the garden, sports games, school, work - multiply those outings by a family of four and it all gets a bit unmanageable.
So instead of making everyone put their shoes away in their room (a regime I personally would not be able to maintain), I decided to bring the mountain to Mohammed and build a shoebox for the back door. I really like the aesthetic of laminated plywood and when I was at Bunnings I noticed a big stack of five ply on special. I wanted a contemporary take on a basic drawer box, which is easy to build. I went with a drawer design because you can still open it when there's something on top of the box. The drawer is a bright fresh green, and instead of handles I drilled two neat holes at either end. The outer box, made of laminate ply, was varnished to show off the material.
Cut one full sheet of ply into three equal sections lengthways. Tip clamp a straight edge on to the board so you can run the saw down it. Getting straight edges now will save you lots of work later.
Glue and clamp the boards together using a strong glue. I used Ados F3, which is a strong contact glue in a gel form, making handling easy. If my box was in the weather more I would use a stronger two-pot glue system.
Once the laminated boards are fully dry, trim, plane or sand any irregularities on the edges.
Mark and cut the laminated timber into sections that will form the outside box. The top and bottom lengths should overlap the side panels.
Glue the pieces together. Follow the directions on the packet carefully.
Drill a hole right through the top and into the adjoining side panel, then drive in a dowel. Use long rod lengths of dowel and cut to fit. Pre-cut lengths are too short. To finish this step, sand with a fine-grain sandpaper.
Attach L brackets on the back corners for extra support. Varnish your box.
Using a single width of ply, make a drawer to fit into the box. Allow 2-3mm around the outside as clearance for the draw. I used a glue and screw construction method for this. Make sure you pre-drill all the holes and countersink the screws.
Sand, fill any holes and paint. Drill two large finger holes in the front of the drawer to use instead of handles. To keep the holes tidy, set the drill on slow.
DIY workshops at your local Bunnings warehouse this weekend
Saturday 10am: Art and craft - kids' DIY workshop; 11am: How to prepare for exterior/interior painting; 1pm: How to build a pine retaining wall.
Sunday 10am: Art and craft - kids' DIY workshop; 11am: How to fix a leaky tap; 1pm: How to sand and polish a timber floor.