Difficulty: 3 of 5


Building a western red cedar deck storage box is a one-day project that will provide convenient storage and an extra place to sit. Western red cedar was chosen for this project because of its beauty and natural abilities to stand up to harsh weather and insects for many years. In Part Two of the project, the box itself will be built. Download PDF Plans

View Part One


Always wear eye and ear protection when using a table saw and power tools. Follow the safety instructions that came with the table saw.


– Brad nails
– Clamps
– Combination square
– Countersink bit
– Dado blade
– Drill
– Nailer
– Pencil
– Scraper
– Screws
– Table saw
– Tape measure
– Western red cedar stock
– Wood glue

Step 1: Project overview.

In Part Two of the project, the box itself is constructed. The box is made up of one 8-foot 4 X 4 milled down to 2 3/4-inch. Each post has 5/8-inch dados cut into both sides to receive the side rails and the tongue-and-groove slats. The 3/4-inch slats are held in place by the dados. The rails are made up of four 8-foot 2 X 4s with a 3/4-inch tongue cut into each end to insert into the post dados. The four sides of the box are made up of 16-inch sections of tongue-and-groove board cut from 8-foot lengths. Each rail will also have a dado slot cut into it to hold the tongue-and-groove boards.
Dado slots in the post will receive the rails and the tongue-and-groove boards.

Step 2: Cut a tongue into each rail.

Start the project by cutting a 3/4-inch tongue into the ends of each of the eight rails using a table saw.
Cut 3/4-inch tongues into the rails.

Step 3: Set the dado stack.

To cut the dados into the posts and rails, stack the dado blades to form a 5/8-inch set of stacked dado blades.
Form a 5/8-inch dado stack.

Step 4: Cut the dado into the posts and rails.

Use the stacked dado blades to cut the slots into the posts and rails. You will cut two slots for each post and one slot along the length of each rail.
Cut two slots into each post.

Step 5: Dry-fit the box together.

Assemble all the pieces to dry-fit the box.
Slide the rail into the post dado slot.

Step 6: Drill pilot holes and drive in screws.

Use a countersinking drill bit to drill two pilot holes into each side rail at a 45-degree angle. Drive a screw into each pilot hole, securing the rail to the post. Continue for all four posts, for the upper and lower rails.
Drive the screw in at a 45-degree angle.

Step 7: Cut and attach the cleats.

The bottom of the box will rest on 3/4-inch square cleats nailed 1 1/4-inches up from the bottom of the rail. To make the cleats, cut sections of 3/4-inch cedar to the same length as the inside of the bottom rails. Fasten the cleats with stainless-steel brads set about 8 inches apart.
Fasten the cleats to the rails 1 1/4-inches up from the bottom of the rail.

Step 8: Glue the box bottom pieces together.

The bottom of the box is made of two 1 X 6 boards glued together. Run a thin bead of wood glue along the edge of one board. Connect the two boards and clamp them in place until the glue dries. When the glue has dried, scrape off the excess.
Clamp the two pieces together until the glue dries.

Step 9: Cut the bottom to fit, and cut the corners off.

Measure and cut the bottom piece to fit the inside of the box. Cut off the corners to allow room for the legs and to allow for the free circulation of air.
Cut off the corners of the bottom board.

Step 10: Place the bottom into the box and let it rest on the cleats.

The bottom board can now drop into the box. It will rest on the cleats.
Drop the bottom into the box to rest on top of the cleats.

Step 11: Fill the slots under the rails.

Cut eight lengths of 3/4-inch square cleat material to slide into the slots under the rails at the bottom of the legs. Fasten them in place with brads. This will further strengthen the box when it doubles as a seat. The western red cedar deck storage box is now complete. The western red cedar will stand up to the weather over the years, gradually mellowing to an attractive silver-gray color.
Install cleat material blocks for the slots under the rails.