Some Box-Making Tool Advice

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Forum topic by DetroitJoe posted 01-29-2010 04:29 AM 1108 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 3036 days

01-29-2010 04:29 AM

I’ve been out of the woodworking game for over a decade. Now, in my late 20’s, I am looking to pick up the art again and want to focus on box-making. I live in a small apartment, so few power tools will be in my arsenal. I will have some access to my dad’s table saw, band saw, and drill press to but boards to size, etc. But what about the rest of the stuff…the tools and accessories that I can use with my limited space?

I have been looking to acquire some small hand saws for cutting small boards to size, cutting joints for the corners, etc. If I had to pick one or two crucial saws from Lie-Nielsen, what should I get? Carcass saw? Dovetail saw?

How about sanding? Is it even worth picking up a random orbital sander at this point, when the focus of my builds will be small to medium sized boxes?

Without access to a router, what can i do to give my boxes some cool shaped edges?

-- - DetroitJoe

8 replies so far

View billythek's profile


18 posts in 3033 days

#1 posted 01-30-2010 06:28 AM

Hi Joe,
You can accomplish quite a bit with a dovetail saw, a #4 or #5 bench plane and a card scraper.
One of the problems that may need some creativity is a work surface that isn’t shaking every time you push or pull the tool.
At one time I did all my sanding outside but one winter the weather just wouldn’t get above 0. I wanted to build a hall table so decided to bite the bullet and learn some hand tool skills. I’m still thankful for that cold winter.
Look at this as an opportunity to build something quietly!
These skills will always be useful.

-- Bill

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18241 posts in 3638 days

#2 posted 01-30-2010 06:50 AM

For the edges you can make a scraping beader.

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

View bigike's profile


4050 posts in 3251 days

#3 posted 01-30-2010 06:53 AM

to get some real nice shapes on the edges of boxes u can use the TS and bandsw too but to get stuff in the middle of the wood u might want to look into cove and bead hand planes also different carving chisels. I would still get some type of router though rockler has the PC 690 on sale for about $100 or so, u can mt that to a piece of wood and clamp a straight board to it for a fence.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View bill merritt's profile

bill merritt

203 posts in 3251 days

#4 posted 01-30-2010 08:15 AM

In your situation I think the Bridge City Joint Maker might be the answer. It is small ,quite, and makes a lot of different cuts. And very little mess,check it out.

-- Bill Merritt -Augusta Ga. woodworker

View russv's profile


262 posts in 3131 days

#5 posted 01-30-2010 03:17 PM

planning is the key. sounds like a well designed workbench and storage should be your first priority. a small dremel or laminate router might help with edge shaping and inlay work.. maybe start with a good assortment of chisels and hand carving tools. a pair of good japanese saws and a miter box will take you a long way.

box making is very cool and rewarding. start simple and figure ways to do things like they did 100 years ago.

thinking about a solid workbench is your main challenge in my mind. maybe 3 cabinets that can be bolted together so you can get them into the apartment. a bottom drawer in each can be filled with weight till you get the drawers filled to weigh down the bench. make the bench tall enough to stand at or sit on a stool rather than desk height.

just a couple of thoughts. have fun


-- where to go because you don't want no stinking plastic!

View DetroitJoe's profile


6 posts in 3036 days

#6 posted 01-30-2010 03:48 PM

Thanks everyone – your pointers/advice are greatly appreciated. I will definitely start looking into everything that everyone has mentioned above and let you guys know if I have any other questions (through a private message).

-- - DetroitJoe

View iamwelty's profile


259 posts in 3078 days

#7 posted 01-30-2010 09:27 PM

Isn’t the Bridge City Joint Maker about a zillion dollars???

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3539 days

#8 posted 02-10-2010 06:16 PM

It’s about $1250

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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