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Thread: The Chuckbox

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Auburn, WA.

    Default The Chuckbox

    Chuck is made out of wood, does this make Chuck a woodchuck

    When I was in Boy Scouts eons ago, our scoutmaster had a chuckbox for camping.
    We mostly backpacked, but occasionally we car camped at a dedicated site somewhere, and out came the chuckbox to prepare meals.

    I soon forgot though about those old chuckboxes from long ago until they started appearing before my eyes on forums where I saw trip reports and researched them more from a few online places that make them like:
    Blue Sky Kitchen
    Drifta Camping Kitchens
    Kanz Outdoors
    The three above are all very nice units, with the first two having several models.
    If one has the tools and the skills, Blue Sky Kitchen has plans available and many videos on his site showing the construction of them.

    Before I got interested in them much though I had already bought a Cabelas Instant Cooking Station that I have used for the past few years.
    It works great, but between the two plastic drawers and the kitchen itself, it takes a lot of room in my rig.

    I saw a design by Chad (JJBigg's on Expedition Portal site) that was built around the same stove I have, the Camp Chef Denali, and I took a liking to it immediately.
    His 3D modeling threads he posts up are incredible to look at.
    I got the plans from Chad for the chuckbox and I had talked to a local crate builder who supplies Boeing with customized crates for shipping parts, and a salesman there saw the plans and said they could build it for me.

    I was getting ready to call them up a month later to give them the go ahead when a member on a few forums I am on (Titanpat57) contacted me after he saw I was interested in them and said he could build one for me, so I emailed him the plans and he looked it over.
    He modified it a bit as I measured out the two right side shelves so one could hold my 8" Lodge cast iron skillet, and my 8" Lodge Dutch oven, and the other shelf for my French Press coffee maker and plates.
    The two left side shelves would be for the utensil tray and miscellaneous stuff.

    I have a Cabelas Deluxe Roll-Top table I bought a few years back and it hardly takes up any room when stored in the rig.
    It will be used to support the chuckbox, and it will have plenty of room to hold other stuff on top when preparing meals, much more room than the old setup.

    While the Cabelas Kitchen setup was very nice I have used for the past few years, there is something about the chuckboxes that seems much more nostalgic to me.
    Something like this can be passed on down the line too when I get to old to get out

    The chuckbox arrived just a few hours ago via FedEx.
    It had a long journey from New York to Washington state, and the way Pat packed it, it arrived unscathed.
    It was packed with foam core and taped all around, and heavy cardboard on the outside, very nice.

    When I opened it up outside a few neighbors were eyeballing it, and they commented on how it looked like fine furniture.
    The pictures do not do it justice, it looks great!
    The finish on it lets you see the lines in the wood through it too.

    Pat did an incredible job on the box from us just communicating via email back and forth.
    Hats off to Pat for offering to build this for me, I am very impressed with it.

    Below are some pictures of the chuckbox unloaded and then loaded up with all the stuff I had in the other setup.
    I still need to figure out something to hold a roll of paper towels like the Cabelas kitchen had on it.

    Box unpacked and set up on top of my ECS cargo cases

    Side view showing the holes that are the carry handles and also the exit for the propane hose and assembly

    Undo the two front latches and the top goes up, and the front comes down like a draw bridge

    Loaded up with everything to prepare a meal except the food
    Left side bottom is for the utensil tray and foil.
    Left top is for the blue enameled plates, paper plates, bowls, toaster, measuring cups, ect.
    Right side bottom is for the cast iron skillet and Dutch oven with the former nestled inside of it, and a stainless pot for heating water behind them.
    Right top is for the French Press, blue enameled coffee cups, cutting board, towels, ect.

    Upper part that holds the Camp Chef Denali propane stove
    I have the non slip toolbox liner stuff below it that I buy from Griots Garage.
    I use that stuff in my toolboxes at home, and also in my cargobox in my rig to prevent tools from rolling around.

    Front closeup view showing the goods
    Look at the reflection in the wood, nice finish!

    Another shot showing the utensil tray and cast iron cookware pulled out

    View from top

    I take cooking very seriously when camping.
    I was the head chef, well the only chef when I took my two young sons at the time many years ago camping after a divorce.
    We ate generally better camping than at home.
    I am a firm believer in that food tastes better when when camping and fresh air if prepared correctly, so I tend to cook better too.
    The chuckbox will allow me to keep my items better organized and give a certain ambiance to the preparation of meals.
    Easier access too to the items than my previous setup.

    Please note the cast iron too, I feel there is nothing better to cook on both at home and outdoors, and well worth the extra weight to have a set for camping too.
    I have tried many non stick pans at home and camping over the past several decades, and I always end up buying more non stick stuff to only throw it away after awhile.
    Since I got into cooking with cast iron recently this year at home first, I could never go back to non cast iron again.
    Food does not stick to the cast iron like it has for previous cookware.
    Cast iron is also easier to take care of if you take the time to read up on it.
    The food literally slides out of the skillet, and all I do for cleanup is wipe it out with a paper towel and spray some oil in it, then wipe it around, then store the pan for next use.
    I do not even have to wash out with water and a scrub brush like I did at first when I got them.
    They get better each time with use as they season more.

    So far all I need in the setup for camping is the skillet and Dutch oven.
    I still carry one Paul Revere stainless steel sauce pan, that is for heating up water only for the French Press.
    Heating up water with a Dutch oven would put oil from me wiping the pans out after cleaning into the coffee, yuck.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Mineral Wells, Texas

    Default resurrection

    Thanks for posting this. You saved an old warhorse.

    After reading some of the other threads in this forum, i had taken to the idea of abandoning my chuck box for weatherproof plastic containers. It different than yours, but i too have fond memories of cooking with it. I learned to cook with it in scouts, and was shocked to learn that you could cook on an electric range with something other than cast iron! So much for a college education!

    My chuck box is older than me (38) and looks like its 10 years old, thats after 20 years of service in scouting. Its been to Mexico, Canada, and just about every state in between. 1/2" ply and some old maroon paint.

    Loaded up it's heavy, and my back ain't as good as it used to be. It uses 1x4 legs right now and fairly stable.

    I'll try and post a pic:

    It's cluttered with kitchen stuff, but you get the idea.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Phx, Az
    my only concern with using a chuckbox like that is on the washboard roads not only would everything get rattled around but the inside wood would get beat to death.
    Maybe if you used some foam inside cut to hold the items it would work well.
    Again this is only for those of us who battle washboard roads all the time.
    cigar smoking, wilderness first responding, ham talking night nurse who is overland certified and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.....
    now everyone say "so what where have you been lately?"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Auburn, WA.
    Lance, that is all I drive on when I go to Greenwater and hit the back country like I did last year.
    It is all old growth forest with old service roads.

    They way I pack my rig everything is tight.
    The only things that may rattle around in it are the coffee cups and the cast iron, but I will have other stuff in there too to keep stuff from hitting each other.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Scram Diego
    Can't beat Custom!

    That's Very Nice Corey!

    I like it.....

    I'm sure you can fit a 2 meter radio on the side somewhere......hehe

    ....Woodchucks can't chuck Foam! They get all choked up.

    ......Carry On with your bad Outback Cookin' Self!.....


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    King George, VA
    Very nice Corey! You should get a lot of use out of that. BTW the only woodchuck that gets near our chuck box looks like this:
    CrowsWing Benroy Teardrop on TnTTT
    CrowsWing Benroy Teardrop on ExPo
    The 240,000 Mile Tundra
    WildCrow Tacoma

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    San Francisco
    That is a thing of beauty.
    2011 FJ NSSE | 2007 KTM 990 Adventure | 2002 XR400 (Plated) | 2000 KLR650 (Semi Retired)
    Spotwalla tip logs

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Atlanta Metro area
    AWESOME Corey!! That box came out great. I like the stained version. Very nice!

    Chad J. Austin
    Car-a-holic / Tool junky / Design Guru
    2016 Toyota 4Runner Trail

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Auburn, WA.
    Thanks Mark, Jim, Cabrito, Chad, Pat did a great job on it.
    It is heavy duty, so it should last a long time.
    And thanks Chad for the inspiration on the box.

    Will be Rearranging things around a bit to inside, that setup is not permanent yet.

    I think for a paper towel holder I will just go with one like this.
    It has that hook on it that I can hang off of the left side by the carry handle hole.
    No drilling required.
    I will come up with some idea on how to do this.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    UK- Home town Poole
    Your missing a highly important addon

    the matching bar !

    I used standard water bottles as alcohol is prohibited here and just decanted what i need into the "water' bottles, they know all the infidels drink, they don't check to far- just the obvious.

    It holds the wine, lime juice rum etc, full bottles if required and tall plastic mugs, and it was built to fit into my trailer side box

    the other side has the full food storage.

    Plywood chuck box's are pretty easy to make- I'll put my hand up though and say mine does not shine like yours ! very nice workmanship
    i find that enjoy the designing more than the finishing so my home mades end up dullish and with fingerprints !

    Last edited by UK4X4; 09-05-2010 at 06:53 PM.

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