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Seamless lids

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Forum topic by jcn posted 05-14-2010 05:56 PM 1464 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jcn

37 posts in 2396 days


05-14-2010 05:56 PM

I’m a beginner, though I’ve been tinkering for a few years now. I’ve made several boxes and containers with lids.

One skill I have not been able to develop at all is making a seamless lid. Like a situation where you can’t see the line between the lid and the body when the lid is closed. There is always a tiny gap. No matter what I do.

Is there a trick to doing this?

I have a cheapie contractor table saw. So maybe that’s it, resulting from the micro wobbles (did I just make up a new term?) of the blade.

Here’s an example, a keepsake box I made a couple of years ago. I really wanted the lid to transition into the body perfectly, but after three days of fiddling, I found myself hyper focusing on individual fibers and still wasn’t making any actual progress.

I’m going to blame the tool, because that is easiest. :)

(If that picture is too big, let me know. I used the big version to show better detail of the gap. Some sites don’t like big pictures. I can’t find any picture guidelines for LJ.


9 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3678 days


#1 posted 05-14-2010 06:22 PM

You are searching for the Holy Grail of woodworking. :-)

Mine are never perfect, but here are two tips:

To get the edges of the box and the top smooth and flat, put some self-adhesive sandpaper down on a flat surface and rub your mating surfaces vigorously until perfectly flat. This sounds low-tech, but it’s actually fast and efficient.

Second: I usually have a problem with the sides of the box and the lid not meeting up perfectly after I install the hinges. Depending on the style of the box, you can fix this by sanding the other three sides of the box flush after you install the hinges.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Walnut_Weasel's profile

Walnut_Weasel

360 posts in 2682 days


#2 posted 05-14-2010 07:11 PM

I too am a newbie and have had some struggles with this. What I have found is that now matter what, even when I was able to get the lid flat, in a few months when the humidity changed it would once again be showing a small gap. There is nothing you can do about the wood moving. However, if you put a small radius on each corner of the lid and box, the shadow created by the radii will hide that gap from your eye.

-- James - www.walnutweasel.wordpress.com

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8236 posts in 2888 days


#3 posted 05-14-2010 07:24 PM

James (Walnut_Weasel) and Charlie beat me to it. I do it both ways.
A hint: When you cut off the top, set the saw to cut 1/16 or so less than the thickness of the box and finish the cut with a back saw. I use a plane on the little ridge. Then use Charlie and James’ methods.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View uffitze's profile

uffitze

199 posts in 2414 days


#4 posted 05-14-2010 07:30 PM

  • learn how to make a dead flat, square board.
  • learn how wood moves with changes in humidity.
  • pay attention to detail (your box design, and the wood grain).
View jcn's profile

jcn

37 posts in 2396 days


#5 posted 05-14-2010 07:58 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions!

uffitze: Yes, I definitely have a lot to learn.

Charlie: I actually tried that method, with some success. I even bought one of those granite slabs that are supposed to be ultra-flat. The problem I ran into there (and this is definitely a technique problem, not a process problem) was that I would wind up unintentionally putting a little more pressure on one side than on the other. So I’d wind up with flat surfaces that weren’t parallel.

I also thought about trying a jointer. I don’t own a jointer, and actually I’ve never even used one. But it seems like as long as the surfaces were small enough to fit the jointer table then that would be a way to get flat, parallel faces on the top of the body and the bottom of the lid.

I like the shadow approach, too. Sort of like making the imperfection intentional. :)

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3678 days


#6 posted 05-14-2010 08:58 PM

The solution for putting too much pressure on one side is simple… Every few strokes, rotate your workpiece 90 degrees. Just make sure all rotations get the same number of strokes, and you won’t have that problem.

The shadow approach is one I use also. Even if the lid fits dead perfect, I find it more pleasing to the eye to a very slight bevel where the lid and sides meet. You can see what I mean on the box below.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8236 posts in 2888 days


#7 posted 05-14-2010 11:06 PM

Very nice, Charlie!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View thatwoodworkingguy's profile

thatwoodworkingguy

375 posts in 2389 days


#8 posted 05-19-2010 08:30 AM

Glue the box up as one solid cube you can get into. Let the glue dry add splines if you like then cut a quarter off the box and bam. You have a lid made with the same wood as the sides.
Or at least thats how I do it!

-- thatwoodworkingguy.com ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115201 posts in 3036 days


#9 posted 05-20-2010 04:39 AM

cool

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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