Box Joint

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Forum topic by bturenne posted 01-14-2010 05:38 PM 1101 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 3079 days

01-14-2010 05:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joinery box joint

I am writing a report on box joints and I have been unable to find some of the information that I am looking for.

I was hoping to include; various names, general information, purposes, description of the anatomy and the structural integrity, history, step-by-step execution with both hand and power tools, and possible alterations to the basic joint.

I have found everything without difficulty except for the history. I have found articles that state that “the box joint is believed to be created to solidly join the sides of wooden crates used by farmers to carry vegetables and fruits” but this was not backed up with any definite facts, resources, or artifacts. The only definite form of the box joint I was able to find was a “Mastermyr tool chest” believed to be from 1000 A.D.

And I know that it was very influential in the Shaker style. I was hoping someone would have any facts on the joint form any date or style of furniture, or any good sources on any of the categories I would greatly appreciate it.

2 replies so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3358 days

#1 posted 01-14-2010 10:49 PM

I sort of doubt you will find out an origin for box joints. I imagine they have probably been invented quite a few time in different area. The reason I say that is because to me it is such a natural progression joining skills that quite few carpenter of old probably thought of it. Furniture made in ancient Egypt was constructed in the same ways that we still join furniture.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SteviePete's profile


226 posts in 3327 days

#2 posted 01-14-2010 11:29 PM

I’m always game for a bird walk. Try this.

At the Department of Agriculture Forest Product Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin they have an archive of old time (1800-early 1900s) specifications for wood, timbers, box making, coopering. Poke around the website. You will find some great information on the means and methods used by our forebears to learn about and use wood and wood products. The current magazines (FWW, PW, etc.) all have articles on joint making tips and directions for hand and machine made joints. GOOGOO GAAGAA it.

There are a number of interesting patents on woodworking machinery at the US patent office. If you like to see how problems were solved with creativity and innovation find a good way to look at patent documents.

Cut a few box joints. Start with a hand saw and knife. Try to understand what is important and what isn’t. Marking and measuring should be understood to make fine tuning simple. Try several different methods. Then…..look at all the jigs and contraptions someone would have you buy to make box joints.

You will find some really good sources (and seredipity) for things you will want to learn in the future.

Finally, Charles Hayward wrote a book—(actually lots of them) Woodwork Joints. Great illustrations and discussion. I think it is the best.

Didn’t answer your question. Sent you on a bird walk. Enjoy the trip. spj

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

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