Business Card Box #1: Step-By-Step Instructions with Photos

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Blog entry by FloridaArt posted 03-22-2012 01:39 AM 4482 reads 10 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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March, 2012—I started making simple little wood boxes to hold business cards and small trinkets, like sea shells and thumb drives. After making about 30 of these I decided to break it down, take photos, and write step-by-step instructions. This would be a good project for beginners. Tools used:

+ Table Saw (10-inch blade thin kerf blade)
+ Band Saw (3/16ths blade for tight curves, 10 TPI—teeth per inch)
+ Power Miter Saw
+ Router (3/8ths round-over bit)
+ Belt Sander
+ Palm Sander

The Band Saw could substitute for the Table Saw and the Miter Saw. Hand sanding could replace the Belt and Palm Sanders. The Router could also be omitted, in favor of sharper edges.

Step 1—Make a “blank” of mixed wood. Gather some scraps and glue up enough so that you can trim and clean it up to have a final dimension of 4-5/8×2-3/4×1-3/8 inches (L x W x D), +/- 1/8th inch. The dimensions are not critical.

Step 2—Sand all sides of the blank using the belt sander. I use 80-grit for this operation.

Step 3—Compare the top and bottom sides, and pick the better side for the top. Use a 3/8-inch round-over bit in the router table to ease the top edge, using only part of the bit. (Do not ease the bottom edge yet.)

Step 4—Raise the blade in the Table Saw to max height. Set the fence so you can cut off the top to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. (I prefer to set the fence 1/4-inch from the blade, and run the top against the fence.) Mark a letter “T” under the top you just cut off, and mark a “T” on the carcass. Put the letters such that you can remember the exact orientation of the top. These letters will be covered by glue in a later step.

Step 5—With the same table saw set up, cut off the bottom. Any thickness is fine. I suggest something between 1/8th and 1/4-inch. After the cut, mark a little “x” near the edge of the bottom and near the edge of the bottom of the carcass. Put the marks so that you can be sure to maintain the exact orientation of the wood.

Step 6—Use a template, sized slightly larger than a standard business card, to draw a rectangle outline on the top of the carcass.

Step 7—Using the Band Saw with a small blade, such as 3/16-inch, cut into the carcass, following the outline you drew from the template. Make tight radius corners on all four corners.

Step 8—With the inside of the carcass removed, square up the interior corners of the carcass.

Step 9—Using the Table Saw again, slice off a 1/8-inch thick piece of the scrap piece that came out of the carcass in Step 7. The thin slice you are cutting will become the underside of the lid. Be sure to cut off the side that has the “T” mark you made in Step 4.

Step 10—Glue and tape (or clamp) the body (sides) of the box. You are gluing where you “cut in” with the band saw.

Step 11—Glue the lid to the underside of the lid. These are the two pieces with the “T” markings. While the glue is still setting up, test fit the lid assembly to the carcass, and adjust the lid assembly until it is centered properly on the body. Then clamp the lid assembly so it can dry.

Step 12—Glue the bottom to the body, being sure to match up the “x” marks from Step 5. Clamp until the glue dries.

Step 13 —When the body/bottom assembly is dry, sand the outside edges with the Belt Sander.

Step 14—Using the same Router set-up as in Step 3, ease the bottom edge of the box.

Step 15—Using 150-grit sand paper, by hand or in a Palm Sander, hit all surfaces, with special attention to the top and sides. Repeat using 220-grit sand paper.

Step 16—You box is now completed. If you would like to put a finish on it there are many choices and it will be completely up to you.

I hope you have enjoyed these instructions. Between the text and photos I hope it is all clear. Not including glue dry time, the time to build one of these boxes from scratch is about 30-minutes.


-- Art | Bradenton, Florida

13 comments so far

View kaschimer's profile


89 posts in 2418 days

#1 posted 03-22-2012 01:59 AM

OK this will be the dumbest question ever… How did you get your bandsaw blade to cut out the inside without cutting through the outside?

-- Steve, Michigan - "Every piece of work is a self portrait of the person who accomplished it - autograph your work with excellence!" - Author unknown

View Woodwrecker's profile


4154 posts in 3604 days

#2 posted 03-22-2012 03:32 AM

Very nice job Art.
A bunch of those would make handy small gifts.
(little bit of a departure from all those band saw boxes you make.)

Steve: You do cut in from the outside. You can see where the cut in was made in the lower left section in picture #7, or the upper right section of picture #8. That’s why in step #10 you glue and tape the side shut where you “cut in”.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3530 days

#3 posted 03-22-2012 09:59 AM

A well-presented blog, with great photos, Art!
You certainly make good use of all the scraps in your shop!
Great Job all-around my Friend!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2832 days

#4 posted 03-22-2012 11:47 AM

gr8 way to use some scraps.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View harrywho's profile


120 posts in 3261 days

#5 posted 03-22-2012 01:11 PM

Really cool. Do you have to sand the bandsaw marks on the inside and if so is there a fast and easy way to do it? Like most I’m not a big fan of sanding.
Great tutorial, thanks.

-- Harry, Indiana

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3815 days

#6 posted 03-22-2012 01:33 PM

Nice! I gotta make a few of these as gifts. Thanks for bloggin!

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

617 posts in 4294 days

#7 posted 03-22-2012 01:54 PM

Very nice blog, Art.
I would have eliminated the table saw and router to use the band saw and sander exclusively. IMHO that is easier and safer. At this scale especially it is so easy to use these safer tools when accuracy is not essential.
I’d like to see a little gallery of the boxes made with the multi-colored woods when they are finished. I’ll bet they are cute as can be.
Just had a brain fart- imagine making a long block of these many pieces of wood and then cutting them out on the diagonal. Wouldn’t that be cool. Then take the triangular end pieces, square them up and glue them together to make another pattern for a new box.
Darn, now you got me thinking band saw boxes again!

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3584 days

#8 posted 03-22-2012 09:54 PM

Really cool, Art, thanks for posting that

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2590 days

#9 posted 03-23-2012 12:25 AM

Ratchet – you can make me one while you are at it

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2718 days

#10 posted 03-23-2012 01:01 AM

That is a super well done tutorial! Thanks for posting this. I’ll bet we’ll be seeing these soon as new projects. Now Donna has me thinking about the diagonal cuts. That could be very interesting.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View FloridaArt's profile


852 posts in 3326 days

#11 posted 04-15-2012 10:08 PM

Donna is correct—The table saw could be replaced entirely for this project, by the band saw. The band saw is a very safe tool when compared with the table saw, especially for some of these cuts.

Here is a photo of the finished batch, and a photo of the inside of a couple boxes.

-- Art | Bradenton, Florida

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

617 posts in 4294 days

#12 posted 04-16-2012 05:29 PM

They are cute as bugs’ ears, Art. I especially like the one with a cross member- looks great. Plan it well and it could look like a cross and the box could function for prayer beads or other ecclesiastical item.
I round all of my corners using the belt sander. I mark the start and stop lines, place the belt in a vertical position, check the table for square, and set the box on the table on end to round the sides. Set it on the sides to round the ends. This is very safe- if you keep your fingers away from the moving belt, and accurate- if you keep checking how the sanding is doing.
Anything to keep from having to set up my router table. Bane of my existence.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

View albachippie's profile


772 posts in 3063 days

#13 posted 04-23-2012 09:42 AM

These are lovely little boxes. Great job,

Thanks for posting,


-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland

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