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Boxguy Says, "Tis Me; Tissue"

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Project by Boxguy posted 653 days ago 3637 views 63 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured: A simple wooden tissue box cover. The one on the left is cherry and walnut and the one on the right is made of Padauk sapwood and White Oak with ebony corner splines. It is a 5 1/2 inch cube of 1/2 to 3/8 inch thick wood. There are others pictured of various woods. All are made to the same size and shape.

You can make these with a two foot board and a 6 inch square scrap for the top. This post also includes a how-to section and a jig for larger production runs if you are interested in that.

Story: This is a simple design and is a great starting point for developing skills used in building boxes and inserting splines. I started making these before I made boxes and now I build these with young, or beginning wood workers to get them started on the process of box making. To be honest these make great gifts, but it is difficult to make much money on these as a sale item. Customers won’t pay too much for a Kleenex cover. There is some profit in them if you make them efficiently enough. However, they are really simple, easy, and fun to make with a few tips.

Techniques:

Cutting: Start with a 5 1/2 inch wide board 24 inches long, planed to 1/2 to 3/8 inches thick. Cut it into 5 1/2” lengths, and 45 each end.

Sides: Re-assemble the board as it was originally…putting the long sides up. Now, tape these segments together, turn them over, apply glue on the angles and roll up the four sides as a square taped together band clamp it tightly until the glue dries. Now you have the vertical sides made.

Top: Apply glue to the top of your sides, center the slightly oversized top on the sides so that the hole with routed edges is in the center of the sides. Tape the top in place with an x of masking tape. If you don’t tape it down, the top will slide around on the glue and will move off center as you tighten down the bolt.

Clamping: Here you see a simple clamping jig for making these. It is two 5 inch squares of plywood with a hole in the center and a 6 1/2 inch long 1/2 inch nut and bolt with a washer under the nut and the head. Tighten this with a pair of wrenches, or if you are lucky enough to have one an impact drill will speed up the process. This will give you a great fit on the top joint and you won’t need any other clamps. (Hint for making several of these at once: If you apply the top and light pressure on your bolt clamp before you completely tighten your band clamp around the sides, your sides will all have perfect alignment with the top. Once you have fully tightened the band clamp, fully tighten the bolt clamp. This method means you only have to wait once for all the glue to dry.)

This is a simple box made to organize the clamps, bolts, and wrenches. It sure is handy when you can just pick this up and go to work making your covers without wandering around the shop looking for things.

Final Steps: Trim the top to the sides, cut spline slots, glue in splines, round to suit your taste, final sand, then apply finish. Put at least one coat on the inside to seal the wood.

Efficient Production Runs:

What’s This? This crazy looking thing is a mandrel to hold these tissue covers while you sand them. It is not worth making this for just one or two covers, but if you are going to make 6 or more of them for Christmas presents or wedding favors; it might be worth the time to make one of these and keep it on hand for future production runs. It starts with three 2×6 segments screwed together so you get a 4 1/2 inch square “post” to slide the cover onto.

How is it used? Here you see two boxes attached to the mandrel. The one on the right will hold the cover while you sand the top. Notice the plywood ends to hold the cover proud of the center so you can sand the center hole by hand. Note that there is a nut and octagonal wooden “washer” to keep the cover from sliding off the horizontal mandrel as you sand. On the bottom is a cleat that I put in the vise to hold the whole mandrel in place as I work on the covers. (Hint: If your cover rattles and is not a tight fit on the post, wrap a thin rag around the post before you slide the cover on.)

How does it help? This is where you really get a benefit from using this mandrel. There is a hinge at the back that lets you lift the post and there is a flap at the back attached to the hinge. The flap has a bolt through it into the center of the back end of the horizontal post. This means you can spin the post and put it back between the two front triangular stabilizers again. In other words you can turn the cover from side to side without removing it from the post. This makes sanding go much quicker since you have easy top access to all four sides. Since I round the sides I can sand a side, corner, and side then turn the post and the cover.

Critique and Pointers: These work well and are a super way to use up small scraps of pretty wood hanging around the shop. The weight makes it easy to pull out the tissues and they do look nicer than the cardboard boxes. There is some slight variation in box size among different brands of tissue. If your cover is too small some brands will not fit; so leave a little extra room inside. A round hole works about as well as an oval and is easier to make. Be sure to route the bottom side of your hole before assembly. If you sell or give them to others, buy a box of tissue and put it inside so you don’t have to explain what it is. It is worth the money and the process goes more smoothly.

Thanks: As always thanks for looking and a special thanks to everyone in Lumber Land who takes time to make comments and suggestions. Keep boxing…keep posting and making this posting a “Top Three” is a real show of support and keeps me excited about doing things in the shop and on line. I appreciate all your support.

-- Big Al in IN





16 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14397 posts in 2175 days


#1 posted 653 days ago

Nice work and nice lesson boxguy!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View redryder's profile

redryder

2060 posts in 1601 days


#2 posted 653 days ago

Boxguy thinks outside the box doesn’t he??? Nicely done…................

-- mike...............

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1376 posts in 772 days


#3 posted 653 days ago

Hey, Big Al

Good lookin’ tissue box covers.

And a great production combo jig. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor's profile

Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor

4736 posts in 1808 days


#4 posted 653 days ago

That is definitely a creative solution to blue your tissue boxes. Very Nice…!

-- Every step of each project is considered my masterpiece because I want the finished product to reflect the quality of my work. http://www.FineArtBoxes.com

View ratchet's profile

ratchet

1269 posts in 2286 days


#5 posted 653 days ago

Very nice boxes and mini tutorial!

View Roger's profile

Roger

13062 posts in 1303 days


#6 posted 653 days ago

You are a super boxologist!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View workerinwood's profile

workerinwood

2673 posts in 1567 days


#7 posted 653 days ago

Great job!! Thanks for sharing your ideas.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Pdub's profile

Pdub

875 posts in 1679 days


#8 posted 653 days ago

Nice lookin tissue box covers. I may have to make some rof my craft show in Nov. I may have to make a mandrel as well. Thanks!

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View SawDustKing's profile

SawDustKing

173 posts in 681 days


#9 posted 653 days ago

Boxguy, you make some beautiful boxes! Keep it coming! Thanks for sharing.

-- Woodworking for the hobbyist woodworker. http://sawdustking.com

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

1303 posts in 767 days


#10 posted 653 days ago

Thanks to everyone. What fun to get support and feedback from Lumber Land. It is magical that some guy in a little shop in Southern Indiana can hear from fellow woodworkers from all over the country about some boxes he has made. What a wonderful age we live in.

-- Big Al in IN

View rfa6's profile

rfa6

10 posts in 754 days


#11 posted 652 days ago

Beautiful work!

View TimWood's profile

TimWood

168 posts in 741 days


#12 posted 652 days ago

The tissue boxes are nicely done….but the jig!!! That’s an awesome idea. Thank you!

-- Tim Harrelson

View Rick's profile

Rick

5865 posts in 1532 days


#13 posted 649 days ago

Very Nice Projects! Thanks for Posting!

Rick

-- The Difference Between A BEER And Your OPINION Is, I Asked For The BEER!

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

2949 posts in 1012 days


#14 posted 500 days ago

Wow I missed these, very nice.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View kronewi's profile

kronewi

11 posts in 1518 days


#15 posted 356 days ago

I see you have made many of these boxes. Can you tell me what you have found to be a good size hole in the top of the 2 types of tissue boxes? (Oblong and Square). I am going to make up a template but I am not sure what to use for the ellipses dimensions.

Thanks!
Kevin

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