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The Basic Wooden Box

Tips on Making a Basic Butt Joint Box:

Recommended Tools:
table saw >miter saw >router/router table

Note:-all safety rules and owners manuals pertaining to the tools should be read before starting -make sure all guards are in place and operating correctly - proper eye and ear protection should be worn -power supply to any machine should be disconnected when making any adjustments.

1.Determine the dimensions of your box and select appropriate width wood. Mark exterior and interior faces.

2.With a scrap piece of wood, check squareness of your miter saw. Make a cut with the blade at 90 degrees to base and check with a square. Check both across the width (1) and thickness (2) of the wood. Adjust accordingly and lock the base of your mitersaw in place when you're happy.

3.Clamp a stop block on the fence of the saw to cut to length the box's end and side panels. Note: A stop block may take extra time, but reduces or eliminates migration of material during the cut, producing precise joints.

4.Cut all the pieces for the box carcase using a stop block.

5.Pre-assemble the box carcase using clamps only -NO GLUE! Check each exterior corner of the box with a try-square and recut if necessary. Note: a piece of scrap material should be placed between the jaws of the clamp and box to distribute clamping pressure and prevent marring of your workpiece.

6. Once satisfied that the box is square, disassemble and apply glue to the joints using a small brush or spatula to ensure good glue coverage. Reassemble the box with clamps or tape, check for squareness and let stand for 1 hour to dry.

Don't overdo the glue or you'll have a big job cleaning up the squeeze out afterwards. A small amount is inevitable, and I have found that a small metal ruler is the best tool to remove it. (use an old one, or make sure you clean it off well when done)

7. Select wood to be used for the top and bottom of the box. Cut this material to be slightly larger than the outside dimensions, to accommodate any inaccuracies. Check for fit and then glue in place. When dry, sand excess material off so that top and bottom are flush with the sides.

If you would like to add a decorative veneer to the box surfaces, this is the point at which you would do it. Veneer the 4 sides first, finishing off with the top. Add a felt or cork to the bottom side.

8. If you are not veneering the box, and want the edges of the box to be rounded, now is the time. Route as desired, sides and top.

9.The box may now be "split" (separating the top from the carcase). First adjust the rip fence on your table saw to desired depth of the lid and adjust the blade so that it is one saw tooth higher than the thickness of the sides of the box. Cut the two longest sides of the box first (with the top against the fence).

Stop and tape a spline the thickness of the saw kerf into the groove cut by the blade on both sides of the box (this will prevent the lid from caving in on the blade during the final cut). Cut both ends of the box, shut off the saw, and remove splines and tape. The box should fall into two pieces, a top and a bottom.


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theWoodbox.com Jan 2007