Window Box

The basic design was worked out with my friend and carpenter Ian Hurley, he also gave me a chance to practise in his workshop before I tried the real thing. However any errors in the final product are due to the student and not the teacher!

The goal was to construct a box that could sit inside or outside a window and that would be deep enough to allow me to add a self watering system (something similar to the Earth box) later if I wanted.


Design of the window box

Ian recomemended ceder as the best wood for the job however when I checked a few local wood shops they were unable to provide lengths of ceder in any reasonable time frame and suggested treated pine as an alternative. This was available in lengths 110mm wide and 25mm thick, so I ended up with 11 lengths of 1500mm (four for each side and three for the bottom) and 8 lengths of 300mm (for the sides).


I got the shop to add tongue and groove joints to allow me to join the seperate lengths into the four sides and floor of the box. Then the longest part of the job started, creating the dovetail joints between the sides.

Inside of the joint Outside of the joint

It probably would have been easiest to just screw the sides together but I wanted to make the box as strong as I could. The other consideration was to refresh my rusty carpentery skills and a perfect dovetail is probably the best evidence of true craftmanship in woodwork. My abilites aren't up to a perfect joint but with backsaw and chisel I managed to join the sides together with joints that at least bear some resemblance to dovetails!

Finally the floor was fastened to the sides with lots of wood screws.


Close-up of a wheel Underside with the wheels

Once the box itself had been assembled then one unforeseen difficulty arose, this amount of wood weighted enough to make the box difficult to move (22kg), even empty. With an interior volume of more than 140 litres we suspected that once it was full that it would become a permenent fixture.

Hence wheels, four to each side in order to make the window box easy to move. Each wheel can support up to 50kg so they should be strong enough even if we fill it with concrete!

Screw cups

One side of the box with the screw cups on display

From the very start I wanted to highlight the hand made aspect. I had no intentions of hiding the joints (hence through dovetails) nor the screws. In fact I wanted to fit brass screw cups in order to ensure that the screws were noticed.

However it turns out that screw cups are not that typical in Barcelona. In fact I was unable to find any to fit the 5mm screws that I'd used. Despite trying around twenty different DIY stores the biggest I could find was for a 4mm screw. Luckily however I was in Tralee a few weeks later and found the exact size I needed in Woodies of all places!

Two important lessons from this; first don't drill holes for the screws before you buy both the screws and the screw cups, and second a big city doesn't always have a larger selection than a small town.

The plants

We took advantage of two different fairs to stock up on plants, the Fira per la Terra and BioCultura, ending up with the following plants.

After about a month and a transplant to new pots we took some photos:

Strawberry (fresas) Thyme and Strawberry (fresons) Thyme and Strawberry (fresons) Thyme and Strawberry (fresons) Chives Parsely

The finished product

The end result turned out better than we'd hoped; as you can see from the photos below:

Strawberry (fresas) Thyme and Strawberry (fresons) Chives Parsely