First box, white oak and walnut, keyed miter joints

  • Advertise with us
Project by Glenn posted 1754 days ago 2104 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Sides are white oak, top and miter keys are walnut, bottom is 1/4” luan ply. Finished with Danish Oil.

Going through Doug Stowe’s book, Basic Box Making, and this is the first box in the book and the first box I’ve ever made. As might be expected, it turned out NOTHING like it was supposed to. Let me just say that mitering corners isn’t as simple as you might expect. That’s why the box turned out with slightly different dimensions than planned. Additionally, the top and miter keys were supposed to be darker, but I think my walnut piece (I bought a short) was sapwood instead of darker heartwood. If the box had turned out as planned, the top would overhang the bottom by about 1/2” also. See his book for a picture. Anyway, gave box #1 to my wife and have already started on #2. The book, by the way, is excellent, and I would recommend it.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

13 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


112010 posts in 2203 days

#1 posted 1754 days ago

Nice box Glenn

-- Custom furniture

View CharlieM1958's profile


15684 posts in 2845 days

#2 posted 1754 days ago

Good job.

You have learned the first and most important lesson every aspiring box maker must know: Making a box is harder than it looks!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Glenn's profile


140 posts in 2013 days

#3 posted 1754 days ago

It’s almost like precision is even more important because they are so small that the slightest defect just stares you in the face.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

View tomd's profile


1738 posts in 2397 days

#4 posted 1754 days ago

Very nice box. I agree with CharlieM, box making is difficult.

-- Tom D

View ellen35's profile


2566 posts in 2059 days

#5 posted 1754 days ago

Nice box. The first one is always the hardest… and the most precious!
I’m sure your wife is very grateful to be the recipient.
Box-making can become an obsession… they are fun and only limited by your creativity!
I agree about Doug Stowe’s book. I have the DVD that goes with it. If you don’t
have the DVD, it is worth a look. For me, it is much easier to watch, read and watch

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View sharad's profile


1063 posts in 2431 days

#6 posted 1754 days ago

In making first box you always face unimaginable problems however careful you are. It is just like a child taking its firt steps. But still your box is very good and your wife will cherish it. Next try to make a simple box and one day you will become master.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View bibb's profile


288 posts in 2157 days

#7 posted 1754 days ago

Oh NO!!!
You have been Stowed !!!
Welcome to the world of box making.
Nice job

-- "Imagination is more important than knowledge" Bibb in CO at

View SPalm's profile


4784 posts in 2508 days

#8 posted 1753 days ago

Sweet. That is a favorite box of many LJs. You did well.

Keep it up. You will end up building yourself some nice jigs and learn to double check angles and such.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View littlecope's profile


2894 posts in 2128 days

#9 posted 1753 days ago

Great Job, Glenn!! You’re exactly right, the smaller they are, the more challenging they become!

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

View Glenn's profile


140 posts in 2013 days

#10 posted 1753 days ago

The first box I built over a few days without the sleds on my project page. It took a while to figure everything out, and that probably contributed to many of the mistakes. Over the last two days, I’ve built two more (except for the lids), and I must say, the third one is such a HUGE improvement over the first. I even stepped out of line a little and made it out of Arkansas cypress, which has a nice regular horizontal grain.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

View kcrandy's profile


285 posts in 2059 days

#11 posted 1753 days ago

Now I’m really afraid to try to make my first box and I have the walnut pieces ready to cut!

-- Caulk and paint are a poor carpenter's best friends

View Glenn's profile


140 posts in 2013 days

#12 posted 1753 days ago

You can do it. Just get started. Mistakes are inevitable and part of the learning curve. That’s partly why I used the cypress. They were scraps from the outdoor table. I got tired of wasting my “good” white oak.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

View scrappy's profile


3505 posts in 2057 days

#13 posted 1753 days ago

Never be afraid to try new things! This turned out wonderfull. As with all things woodworking, sometimes there are ”mid proccess design changes” Your first box is just fine.

Mitered corners are NOT that easy to do. My first mitered corners were for a box that STARTED 5×5 and ended about 4×4. Had to re-cut several times to get the miters right. haha

You ended up with a nice box and a great learning experiance. Your next will be even beter.

Keep up the FUN!


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase