First box, white oak and walnut, keyed miter joints

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Project by Glenn posted 11-02-2009 04:29 AM 2578 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


113833 posts in 2668 days

#1 posted 11-02-2009 04:38 AM

Nice box Glenn

-- Custom furniture

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3309 days

#2 posted 11-02-2009 04:52 AM

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


141 posts in 2478 days

#3 posted 11-02-2009 04:58 AM

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 (online now)


1955 posts in 2861 days

#4 posted 11-02-2009 06:39 AM

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

-- Tom D

View ellen35's profile


2669 posts in 2523 days

#5 posted 11-02-2009 01:20 PM

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


1102 posts in 2895 days

#6 posted 11-02-2009 02:19 PM

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


305 posts in 2621 days

#7 posted 11-02-2009 06:56 PM

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

-- you may only live once, but if you do it right that's all you need

View SPalm's profile


5186 posts in 2972 days

#8 posted 11-03-2009 01:15 AM

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


3018 posts in 2593 days

#9 posted 11-03-2009 01:21 AM

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


141 posts in 2478 days

#10 posted 11-03-2009 01:26 AM

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 2523 days

#11 posted 11-03-2009 04:18 AM

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


141 posts in 2478 days

#12 posted 11-03-2009 05:04 AM

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


3506 posts in 2521 days

#13 posted 11-03-2009 06:03 AM

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!

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