Boxguy Vs. The Octogan

  • Advertise with us
Project by Boxguy posted 757 days ago 1928 views 7 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured: Two octagonal boxes with pivoting lids anchored in place with a screw in back and a rare earth magnet in front. They are about 4 inches tall and 8 inches side to side. One box is red alder with a figured anegre top. The splined box is curly cherry with white oak sides.

Story: From time to time I have made octagonal boxes. The problem is always the hinges. The short side does not allow for a long enough surface to make a hinge work well. The lid can wiggle and won’t stay aligned as well as I would like. This design solves those problems. The lid swivels and can actually turn far enough so you can access the entire box interior.

Techniques: Of course the eight sides are all cut the same length and the ends are each 22 1/2 degrees. Sizing the bottom is best done by taping the box together with masking tape on the outside then tracing around the inside on your bottom board. Now take a 1/4 in size scrap and re-mark and enlarge each side by 1/4 inch or whatever depth of cut you dadoed into the sides. Don’t try to fit the bottom in too tightly you will just fight the fit when you use your strap clamp to pull the box together after applying glue.

Rather than struggle with the alignment of the screw and the magnets in the top and the bottom, I found it was far easier to just drill through the lid and into the bottom. I filled the hole with a contrasting dowel and sanded it flush. It is a real help when you are opening the box to be able to know which sides have the pivot and the magnet.

As a practical matter I glued on the roughly sized top and shaped it before I cut the lid off. The splines in the one box add strength, but look pretty busy. Sides of about 3/4 of an inch work better because you need room for the screw and the magnets to be embedded.

Critique: The rare earth magnets hold the box in line and worked better than I thought they would. The octagonal form is attractive, but is not too practical for storage. Adding splines calls for building a special jig to cut the slots. I avoided that by just cutting the slot across the whole side and inserting a long spline.

Thanks: As always thanks for looking and a special thanks to those who take time to add comments and make suggestions. Wow, a “Top Three.” Thanks, Lumber Jocks!

-- Big Al in IN

26 comments so far

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1481 posts in 1703 days

#1 posted 757 days ago

nice little boxes. Lots of details in these. Great wood choices for the tops and I like the splines.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and so little time!

View Hawaiilad's profile


1863 posts in 1619 days

#2 posted 757 days ago

Again you came through with some nice boxes

-- Larry in sunny and warm Hawaii,

View Ken90712's profile


14821 posts in 1786 days

#3 posted 756 days ago

Nice job on these and I reall like the wood and the long splines. Very nice!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View marshee's profile


31 posts in 758 days

#4 posted 756 days ago

great job and good selection of wood


View Boxguy's profile


1410 posts in 865 days

#5 posted 756 days ago

Robert, Marshee and others. There is something magical about hearing comments from woodworkers in India, Alaska, California, and Hawaii on a box I made in my shop in a small town in Southern Indiana. Thanks for taking time to make comments and sending them along.

-- Big Al in IN

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

463 posts in 773 days

#6 posted 756 days ago

Great job. Keep up the good work. After making a few boxes I decided that wasn’t my cup of tea. Sure glad we have someone like you that seems to love making them.
Indeed a work of art and will be around many years after you are dead and gone. You know that’s a good feeling knowing a part of you will live for many years in your work.
God has blessed you

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View Roger's profile


14098 posts in 1402 days

#7 posted 756 days ago

Every bit o these are very neat. I like how you did the lid to open. Very nice

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View ratchet's profile


1283 posts in 2385 days

#8 posted 756 days ago

Very nice. I favor the long splines. Well done and thanks for sharing them with us.

View dclark1943's profile


155 posts in 785 days

#9 posted 756 days ago

Hey Boxguy ! looks like time well spent in that little shop in southern Indiana ! It’s fun, and rewarding isn’t it? very nicely done friend!

-- Dave, Kansas City

View dustyal's profile


1195 posts in 2073 days

#10 posted 756 days ago

I really like these… will have to put on my project list… they would look good sitting on a dresser… my wife likes to keep her clutter organized…

Thanks for posting and taking the time to describe the build.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View helluvawreck's profile


15404 posts in 1464 days

#11 posted 756 days ago

I always like to see your work. These are no exceptions. Very nicely done!


-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View littlecope's profile


2883 posts in 2100 days

#12 posted 756 days ago

You do good work Al…
Great Job on these!

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

View Daiku's profile


195 posts in 1505 days

#13 posted 756 days ago


I really like the looks of the long splines! Very creative. My only suggestion would be to rotate the lid one more section so that the splines alternate rather than line up with the ones below.

Thanks for posting,

-- Cal Noguchi

View Mosquito's profile


4505 posts in 890 days

#14 posted 756 days ago

Looks good! I really like the long splines, they’re unique and add a little something too it. Great work.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist -

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2175 days

#15 posted 756 days ago

Cool boxes Big Al

-- Custom furniture

showing 1 through 15 of 26 comments

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