Stumpy's Tubafore Contest Entry 2x4 Box

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Project by Sanman posted 978 days ago 2816 views 4 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After starting my first 2×4 box, I realized I was making many mistakes. I started my second 2×4 box shortly after starting the first.

Each box is started by riping a 2×4 into 1/4 inch strips. This is lots of fun and makes lots of sawdust. I picked out the better strips and glued them together to form the lid and bottom. I didn’t try to glue more than one joint at a time and had a lot less trouble this way. 1/4 inch is still not very forgiving as far as alignment goes.
I think I’ll try 1/2 inch boxes next.

I’ve changed wood sources. I’m no longer using the spare 2×4’s from the back of the shed. I’ve graduated to pallets from the local retail store.

I also experimented heavily with staining and finishing with polyurethane. The staining was pretty straight forward. I pretreated the wood with minwax pre stain wood conditioner followed by a redoak stain. The poly gave me lots of problems. I was completely frustrated by the brush strokes so I tried pouring the poly on. That left an interesting swirl effect that I couldn’t capture on picture.

I finished up today with some hardware that I had previously purchased at the local Ace Hardware.

-- I'll get it done when I get a-round-tuit.

17 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


9805 posts in 1250 days

#1 posted 978 days ago

Very unique build- i’m new to the 2×4 box idea. Cool!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View a1Jim's profile


112015 posts in 2209 days

#2 posted 978 days ago

It looks like you’ve made a good improvement on this one.

-- Custom furniture

View linjay's profile


90 posts in 1256 days

#3 posted 978 days ago

Much better. You did learn something. That’s whatnit’s all about.

-- It's easy when you know how. Ontario, Canada

View Trev_Batstone's profile


317 posts in 1125 days

#4 posted 978 days ago

2×4 boxes.. pretty cool, will have to try that. There is a woodworking club a few miles from here, and every year they have a ‘2×4 Challenge’ whereby the members take a stand 2”x4”x8’ and make a project(s) with it. I’ve seen some results of what they make with a 2×4 and it is simply amazing. Congrats on a nice project.


View NormG's profile


4112 posts in 1636 days

#5 posted 978 days ago

You did a wonderful job

-- Norman

View sgtq's profile


363 posts in 1308 days

#6 posted 978 days ago

I have to say this is a huge improvement over the first, and really shows your picking this up quite quick, but nonetheless the both are pretty amazing when considering the origin so really nice job.

-- There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. ~William J. Clinton

View DamnYankee's profile


3233 posts in 1194 days

#7 posted 977 days ago

Cool box. I’ve got a 2×4 contest I need to make something for so maybe…

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View TimmyP's profile


34 posts in 1080 days

#8 posted 977 days ago

I built a couple of boxes our of ripped-down 2×6 a few years ago. Since it was leftover material, I also had to go the store and buy some extra pieces to make things like the lids & bottoms. I don’t remember if I cut things to 1/2 inch, 3/8, or 1/4 inch thickness; probably 3/8”, as the boxes were about the size of the old G.I. Joe footlockers from my childhood (when GI Joe was the 12” figure), and I didn’t want the boxes to appear to be too flimsy.

One of the boxes that I kept (it holds my gun cleaning gear) I used min-wax oil based walnut stain, followed by their oil-based polyurethane. Because it is stained so dark, it’s really hard to see any imperfections in the poly. However, I’ve just finished re-building a display case, and I used minwax’s water-based poly as the finish. One of the best things you can do when putting on that poly, is to use the best brush you can afford! And to put the poly on, in thin coats – it dries faster, and is more forgiving on the brush strokes, and will reduce any sags. The biggest problem I had is with air bubbles popping up after applying the poly – some will disappear during drying, others don’t and to sand them down, well, I usually take off all the previosly applied coats of poly when I do that. However, i attribute the bubbles to the quality of the brush – I have a nice 2” sash brush that I use for most of my painting, but for the most recent project, I found the 2” brush was too big, so I used a lesser-quality 1” brush.

Don’t get discouraged using the polyurethane. Maybe you should get a can of their water-based product (because it’s easier to clean up!) and just practice on a piece of scrap, to see what techniques work for you.

Be careful on those old pallets – I’d hate to hear your tablesaw got caught up on a nail or screw that you missed.

I’m building some…I don’t know, boot inserts? – for a pair of my wife’s boots, so that they will stand upright, and not flop over. I’m using some old pallet material to make them, and I just ripped a 2×6 to get the whole thing to the right size before I start cutting the shape.

Good luck with everything!


View gfadvm's profile


10736 posts in 1322 days

#9 posted 977 days ago

That is a huge improvement over the first one! Fast learner. Now if you just put a “Shipwright Hinge” on the next one, you will have arrived! Keep up the progress. Try wipe on shop made poly or Spar urethane. It is more foolproof (not that you are a fool).LOL

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

View ShopTinker's profile


876 posts in 1400 days

#10 posted 967 days ago

Interesting project, I’d not heard of a 2×4 box before.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View StumpyNubs's profile


6173 posts in 1432 days

#11 posted 958 days ago

Looks great! Thanks for entering it in our contest!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at:

View Dave's profile


11159 posts in 1472 days

#12 posted 950 days ago

Very nice. And a great entry for the tuba fore contest.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View ChuckV's profile


2403 posts in 2159 days

#13 posted 950 days ago

You did a great job on the box. Thanks for sharing it with us.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View mrg's profile


521 posts in 1631 days

#14 posted 948 days ago

That is a nice looking box. That was going to be my project for the contest but my 2×4 had to much stress within.

-- mrg

View Dave's profile


11159 posts in 1472 days

#15 posted 941 days ago

It was geat fun and I am glad to meet you. Great entry.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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