Stumpy's Tubafore Contest Entry 2x4 Box

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Project by Sanman posted 12-24-2011 04:03 AM 4158 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


12281 posts in 1709 days

#1 posted 12-24-2011 04:05 AM

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


113833 posts in 2668 days

#2 posted 12-24-2011 05:45 AM

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

-- Custom furniture

View linjay's profile


96 posts in 1715 days

#3 posted 12-24-2011 05:50 AM

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 1584 days

#4 posted 12-24-2011 07:13 AM

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


5097 posts in 2094 days

#5 posted 12-24-2011 07:17 AM

You did a wonderful job

-- Norman

View sgtq's profile


370 posts in 1767 days

#6 posted 12-24-2011 07:19 AM

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


3283 posts in 1653 days

#7 posted 12-24-2011 03:09 PM

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 1538 days

#8 posted 12-24-2011 07:41 PM

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


13945 posts in 1781 days

#9 posted 12-25-2011 03:41 AM

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


884 posts in 1859 days

#10 posted 01-04-2012 07:42 AM

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


6592 posts in 1891 days

#11 posted 01-12-2012 05:21 PM

Looks great! Thanks for entering it in our contest!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' premiere online publications:

View Dave's profile


11256 posts in 1931 days

#12 posted 01-21-2012 03:48 AM

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

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

View ChuckV's profile


2742 posts in 2618 days

#13 posted 01-21-2012 04:19 AM

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

-- “And it's only the giving that makes you what you are. ” ― I. Anderson

View mrg's profile


588 posts in 2090 days

#14 posted 01-22-2012 06:36 PM

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


11256 posts in 1931 days

#15 posted 01-29-2012 08:08 PM

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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