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