How to build your own biltong box (with just IKEA material)

At BiltongMagazine.com we designed a biltong box starting from an IKEA EKET cabinet. We’ll take you through all the steps in detail, so you can create one at home.

We’ll go over the components and tools you need, how to prepare the components, how to put everything together and add how to add some flair to your new biltong box.

1. BUILDING NECESSITIES

1.1. Components

the needed components

As a first step, let’s look at the components that we’ll use. First off it’s the IKEA EKET wall cabinet, with a glass door. We’ll use a USB powered fan, we’ll use a mosquito net to close the ventilation holes and wooden dowels to hang the meat from.

Also, we’ll use a wooden corner profile to close the gap between the glass door and the cabinet. We can use washers to reinforce the attachment of the wooden dowels. Optionally you can use some LED lights, this is not for heating the biltong box, but it just makes it so much nicer.

1.2. Tools

the needed tools

Now that we know which components we’ll use, let’s look at the tools that we need to create our biltong box. We need a drill, holesaws to make the ventilation holes and the fan hole.

A wood drill for the dowels, a glue gun, a wood saw, some screws, a screwdriver, some measuring tools, a miter box, a scissor and a pencil, that’s all we need. So let’s get started.

1.3. Ikea Eket

The IKEA EKET cabinet

Now is the time to open the IKEA EKET box. In the box you can find a manual, the four different boards, a backboard and also a wall anchoring kit, in case you don’t want to use the wall mount.

2. READY THE COMPONENTS

2.1 Ready The Panels

In this step, we will identify the five panels of the IKEA EKET cabinet.

This panel is the back panel of the cabinet, you can see it’s a very thin panel, let’s put this aside for now. The other panels are the main cabinet panels. You can identify the top and bottom by their plastic dowels.

If you look closely, you can see that one of the panels has a number 1 on its side, this number indicates the top panel. The other panel with the plastic dowels is the bottom panel, let’s put aside the top panel for now. Let’s place the bottom panel in the centre of our worktable.

Place the left panel on the left side of the bottom panel and the right panel on the right side. In a later step, we’ll construct the cabinet by placing the left en right side at a 90-degree angle on the bottom panel’s plastic dowels.

Make sure that you align the back panels’ groove. On the right panel, we’ll drill a hole to fit the fan. On the left panel, we’ll drill three ventilation holes. Finally, we will drill four dowel holes on each side panel to fit the wooden dowels which will be used to hang the meat from.

Things we need to do

So first, let’s start to measure on the right panel. and let’s take away the left and the bottom panel for now.

Make sure to identify the back, bottom and top side of the panel in order to know where to measure as the fan will be mounted on the bottom of this panel. As we have this panel now, you are looking at the inside of the cabinet, we’ll measure on the outside.

In order to measure, we’ll turn over the panel, but be aware, now the bottom side is on the opposite side. The fan will be placed at 10 cm or 3.94″ distance from the bottom. Let’s put two markers in order to align our tape measure when we measure to identify the centre of the panel.

So align your tape measure and place a dot at 17.5 cm or 6.89″. This will be the spot that we’ll use to place our hole saw and drill the fan’s hole.

Measure the fan hole location

2.2. Drill the fan hole

Drill the fan hole

Let’s now drill the fan hole using our 89 mm or 3.5” hole saw, the size is of course chosen in relation to the dimension of your fan.
You can see we used carton to elevate our working spot, you can use anything as long as you have some free space under the panel’s drilling area, in order to not drill through your working bench.

Make sure you can see the measured and indicated spot from the previous step. Now we’ll take our drill which has the hole saw attached to and align the drill point with the measured spot on the panel.

Once your drill is aligned correctly, you can start drilling but make sure you put the hole saw level with the panel, and don’t drill too fast to make sure the panel doesn’t get too hot from the friction caused by the drilling.

Also, drill only halfway through the panel as we’ll drill the remaining part from the other side of the panel. This in order to have as least chipped paint as possible.

So turn the panel and use the small hole to align your hole saw from this side, now gently start drilling again until you feel you got through.

If the whole piece isn’t coming out yet, don’t use force, but just turn over the panel again and gently drill again from this side.

Once the whole piece comes out, you have your fan hole ready. We can now check if the fan fits and move on to the next step.

2.3. The Ventilation Holes

Next up are the ventilation holes.

We will now continue with the left panel, where we’ll add three ventilation holes.

Place both side panels next to each other, to make sure we identify the bottom and top side correctly. Just a quick visual check, and ok. Let’s flip the panel as that will be easier to measure.

Make sure to double-check which is the top side and which is the bottom side of the panel after flipping it. Let’s put aside the right panel.

We’ll start measuring now, first off we’ll start measuring 12 cm or 4.72 inches from the top, we’ll measure this distance on two different spots so we can align our tape measure to those spots. Using the tape measure, we will mark the three drill holes which will be vital in the next step.

We measure from the front side of the panel and the first point we mark at 9.5 cm or 3.74 inches. The second one is at 17.5 cm or 6.89 inches and the third point is at 25.5cm or 10.04 inch.

The ventilation holes measurements

2.4. Drill Ventilation Holes

We can now start drilling the three ventilation holes.

Drill the ventilation holes
We have mounted the smaller hole saw of 3.8 cm or 1.5 inches to our drill and we align it on the measured points, make sure not to drill through, as we’ll turn the panel and continue drilling from the other side.

Every now-and-then check if your drill head isn’t filled with left-over wood. Clean it before continuing drilling, you can use a screwdriver to do so.

Once you drill through, we have our ventilation holes.

2.5. Measure Dowel Holes

An important part of our biltong box is adding the 4 dowels to our box. Place both panels in front of you with the inside facing up and the backside towards you. We will now measure the drill holes for our dowels. They will be drilled on the top side of each panel.

So let’s measure first 2.5 cm or 1 inch from the top of the right panel, actually make sure to start measuring from the top of the hypotenuse as indicated on-screen. We’ll again measure two separate points to align our tape measure.

Measure the dowel holes

When the tape measure is nicely aligned on our two points, we place a mark every 7 cm or 2.76 inches. These are the four points that will be used to add the dowels to.

We now do the same on the top side of the left panel.

2.6. Drill the dowel holes

We will now drill the dowel holes on the indicated spots, while drilling we‘ll make sure we don’t drill through the panel, so be careful you don’t add too much pressure on the drill.

We mounted our number 10 wood drill bit as this size is just a little wider than the diameter of our dowels. You can easily check the drill bit size you need by comparing your dowel diameter, just hold them against each other and choose the drill bit that is just a little bigger in diameter.

Take the drill and align it on the first dowel point, drill slowly as you don’t want to drill through the panel! Do the same for the other 3 indicated points.

Drill the dowel holes

Once it’s done, take the left panel and do the same.

2.7. Outsmart The Insects

Let’s now make sure no insects enter our biltong box. We’ll be adding pieces of mosquito net to the holes, we like to add them on the inside and outside of the box. So cut two round or square pieces per ventilation hole to size, and fire up that glue gun.

Outsmart the insects

Let’s start with the right panel. Make sure the mosquito net sticks out a bit on all sides, after that add some glue to one half of the hole and attach the mosquito net, when it’s dry, do the other half, be careful as the glue is hot.

Put the right panel aside and take the left panel, we take the same steps for these smaller holes.

Once this side is done, we let it dry and continue with the outside of the right panel. And finally, we will continue with the outside of the left panel.

2.8. Measure & SAW dowels

Measure the dowels to size

Now it’s time to measure our wooden dowels, we need four dowels of 34 cm or 13.38 inch long. We bought one long dowel with a diameter of 9mm or 0.35 inch. Let’s measure our first dowel and mark 34 cm or 13.38 inch on the dowel. On the indicated spot, we will saw our first dowel to size.

Repeat this three more times, in order to get 4 dowels.

2.9. Add Optional Washers

Since the wooden dowels will carry our meat for days, we might want to reinforce the dowel holes in the box to carry this weight. This is optional as normally the box should be perfectly capable of carrying the weight of the meat strips, but better safe than sorry.

We can easily do that by using simple washers. The only important thing is that the dowels can fit through the washer’s hole. We will glue a washer to each dowel hole which means we will use 8 washers in total.

Add optional washers

The easiest way is to use your glue gun and add some glue to the washers before placing them over the dowel holes. Do this for each dowel hole.

3. Assemble the box

3.1. Put it all together

We can now assemble the box, make sure to put the side panels together with the top panel on your working bench. Remember, the top panel has a number one indicated on its backside, place it in the middle.

The top panel
The side panels should be placed next to the top panel with their dowel holes, or their topsides, closest to the top panel.

Start by sliding the right panel onto the plastic dowels of the top panel. Give the right panel a push so it slides into place.
Now we add the wooden dowels into the dowel holes of the right panel.

Attach the dowels

Once they are in place, take the left panel and mount it on the plastic dowels of the top panel, in this step, make sure you also add the wooden dowels into the foreseen holes of the left panel.

Once they are in place and you can position the left panel as intended, meaning in a 45 degree angle with the top panel, slide the left panel firmly into place by adding some pressure while holding the top panel in place.

Now we take the back panel, It’s the thinnest panel we have and we slide it into the ledge.

backpanel

the backpanel is in place

Now take the bottom panel and make sure the ledge is corresponding to the ledge on the other panels. Align the plastic dowels of the bottom panel with the side panels and push the bottom panel down.

add the top panel

3.2 Add back panel support

backpanel support

With the Ikea cabinet came a little plastic bag, containing some small plastic pieces to secure the back panel of the box. Just follow the Ikea instructions or look at how we add them to the backside of the cabinet.

3.3. Install the glass door

It’s time to install the glass door, Let’s start by unpacking it

unpack glass door

Now place the cabinet in front of you in its normal position, being top side up and bottom side down. In this step, you can decide which way you want the door to open. The choice is all yours, but depending on it, you will have to attach the hinges to the correct side.

Once you have decided, place the side panel that will carry the hinge, down on the table.

In the picture, you can see we will attach the hinges on the left panel of the cabinet, as we placed the left side down on our table.

hinge side down

To attach the hinges, use the included plastic measure tool. Place it firmly against the top panel, with the holes facing down on the left panel. Push it forward as far as possible on the left panel.

hinche positioning

Take a pencil to mark the holes. Do the same on the bottom side of the left panel.
Once that is done, take the first hinge, align its screw holes over the indicated marks and add the screws. In case you have difficulties getting the screw in, you can use an awl or another pointed tool, to puncture the holes first.

Do the same for the other hinge.

Once the hinges are attached, flip the box back into its normal position. Attach the included stickers to the glass on the spot where the hinges will be in contact with the glass.

Have a look at the included Ikea manual as we’ve seen different options in attaching the stickers in our previous cabinets ‘ manuals. Now you can add the glass door to the cabinet by sliding it into the hinges.

Take your flat-head screwdriver to gently secure the glass door with the screws on the inside of the hinges.

Attach the door handle

Oh and don’t forget to attach the little door handle

3.4. Add Corner Profiles

With the glass door installed, you already have a good looking biltong box in front of you. As we don’t want any insects intruding our cabinet and feasting on our meat, we will install some corner profiles to close the gap between the glassdoor and the inside of the cabinet.

Here you can see the lengths we need for the corner profiles, we will miter saw them to fit them nicely together.

Start by measuring the corner profile for the top. This profile only needs one side miter sawed as the other one will connect to the cabinet door’s top hinge. So we measure and put two marks at 29.2 cm or 11.5 inches, and draw a line between these marks in order to easily saw at that spot.

Place the profile on the miter box and align your measured line with the straight saw guide. Now start sawing holding your profile firmly in place until you are through.
Now imagine how this profile will fit in the box to determine which side you need to miter saw. Think which way the door opens to know which side is at the hinges, the opposite side needs to be miter sawed. Let’s mark an ‘X’ on the piece that needs to be sawed off.

We now place the profile on the miter box and put the ‘X’ facing down, make sure to align the profile so it’s sawed in the right direction.

Miter box

Continue to do the same with the other sides, keeping in mind that the right side profile needs two sides miter sawed. and the left side profile none.

Once all four profiles are sawed to size, we can add them in place by measuring 1.1 cm or 0.43 inch from the front of the panel to align the profiles.

Profiles overivew

Placing the dowels

We start with the right side profile, we put a couple of glue dots on the longest side of the profile and attach it to the inside of the right panel, aligned to the measured points. Always close the door to check the profiles close the gap as intended.

The top and bottom profile can now use the right side profile to align it during placing. After placing a profile, add some pressure to make sure it is firmly attached.

Once all profiles are glued in place, add some screws to each of them to secure them.

3.5. Add Fan To Box

Add the fan to the box

A very important step is adding the fan to the outside of our box. We will glue it in place, by adding glue on the four corners of the fan. Once the glue is added, be swift with placing the fan over the big ventilation hole as the glue tends to dry fast.

Make sure to cover the ventilation hole completely. Add some pressure to the fan to secure it. Feel free to add some extra glue to the sides. When the glue is dry you can cut away the excess mosquito net.

4. ADD SOME FLAIR

4.1. Add Led Strip

Add a led strip
For adding some extra flair to our box, we‘ll add some LED lights. You have a couple of options, the main choice is do we add a battery-powered LED strip or a mains powered LED strip?

The battery-powered version is the easiest as you can attach everything on the inside of the box without external wires. For both solutions, you can guide and attach the LED strips with the self-adhesive side around the corner profiles.

But first, for the mains powered strip, we’ll have to drill an extra hole to fit the power cable. We’ll drill the hole on the same side as our fan to keep all wires together.

Drill the hole, and in this particular case, we need to drill two holes next to each other as the LED connection is quite wide.

Drill the extra cable hole

Clean the drill spots by removing any excess wood chips. Glue a piece of mosquito net on both sides, don’t forget to make a small incision in order to be able to put the cable through.

Add mosquito net

Once the cable is through, we can connect it and install the LED strip.

Now cut the strip to length on the indicated spots, but before doing so, disconnect it from the power supply.

cut LED strip to size

Our LED strip has a little control unit as it can be operated via Wifi. We will glue it to the outside of our box.

Attach the console

This was the final step in finishing our biltong box. Now you can test it by preparing your own biltong, just get your favourite recipe or start experimenting. You can watch our video to see how we prepared our first biltong batch in this new box.

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