Build a Handmade Fireplace Woodbox Wheelbarrow

Will Shelton shares his design for a handmade fireplace woodbox wheelbarrow, includes step-by-step instructions and detailed building diagrams.

| December 2000/January 2001

Learn how to make a handmade fireplace woodbox wheelbarrow.

When the hearth dies down and the wind starts howling, the last thing I want to do is dash out into the rain and snow for a load of firewood. It occurred to me that keeping the woodbox in the house would increase my level of comfort — and if I could disguise it as a piece of fine furniture by making a handmade fireplace woodbox, my wife might just let me keep it there.

Fireplace Woodbox — Put a Lid on

Before you jump to the main project it's always smart to gather your materials. Construct the box lid first and set it aside for later attachment. First, cut two 23 inch-long half circles out of a 2 inches by 8 inches piece of wood. (You probably won't have a compass big enough to scribe the arc, so make one out of a flat stick: Pound a nail through one end, then mark a spot 12 5/8 inches from the nail and drill a pencil-sized hole.)

Next, for the cross strips, cut two pieces of 2 inch by 2 inch stock to 38 inches. Glue and nail these to the bottom inside of the half circles and plane the 2 inch by 2 inch to fit the curve of the circle (see diagram in the image gallery). Then, cut a piece of 1/2 inch plywood to 43 inches by 32 inches and groove a series of 1/4 inch-deep channels 1 1/2 inches apart. This gives the plywood flexibility (use a table saw or a skill saw with a plywood blade). Glue and nail the top to the half circles and the cross strips. The panel is a little oversized so that the fit can be adjusted. After the glue has dried, trim off the excess wood.

Building the Fireplace Woodbox

For the rest of the project, I scavenged a wheel, axle and handles from an old wheelbarrow. You can also get all of these parts at any decent hardware store. Either way the sizes will vary, so you will have to make a few calculations for the handle slots, the wheel hole in the bottom panel, the axle strut spacing, the wheel enclosure dimensions and the legs that hold up the handle end of the box.

Handle Slots

The box is designed so that the handles fit inside the handle slots. Just measure your handles' girth and add 1/6 inches for clearance, then cut the slots to a length of 38 inches. A word of caution: When you are gluing up, be sure to wipe off all excess glue from inside the slots, otherwise the handles won't fit.

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