Help With Boxes- glue up and cut or cut off top and then glue?

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Forum topic by bscur posted 04-11-2011 09:33 PM 4475 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bscur's profile


17 posts in 2059 days

04-11-2011 09:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: box glue sequence top cut jig tip question trick

I’m having an issue with a basic box. I glued up a box with miter joints and glued in the top an bottom. I planned to cut off the top, put in hinges and the be set, but it turned out to be harder than I thought. My table saw (or my lack of skills) made a mess of the cut. Getting the whole box secure was tough.

So my question is- do most people glue it all up and then cut off the top or do they cut the pieces and glue the top separately? If you glue and then chop, how did you hold the box and get a clean cut?


10 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2114 days

#1 posted 04-11-2011 09:46 PM

I can only speak for myself but I totally complete the box then cut it on the tablesaw leaving about 1/8 inch to prevent the top from collapsing onto the bottom during the cut. I then delicately finish the cut with a thin kerf handsaw and plane away the remnants. I’m curious how everyone else does it.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

477 posts in 2937 days

#2 posted 04-11-2011 10:00 PM

I have also seen it done by using a shim in the cut after the first pass through the TS. He might have taped it in (shim) after doing both ends.

I just used a band saw and it was not an issue.

-- jstegall

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2114 days

#3 posted 04-11-2011 10:02 PM

^the bandsaw’s a better choice, as the kerf is thin & you don’t lose your hard earned box height:) I’ve only recently purchased a bandsaw that has the capacity & I’ll be using it from now on.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View George's profile


82 posts in 2024 days

#4 posted 04-11-2011 10:15 PM

I’ve found that using the bandsaw for the cut after gluing the box up is the best for me. I’ve used the tablesaw, but the cuts don’t always come out even but cutting the box down to about 1/8 inch like Bertha describes is the only way i’ve been able to get a reasonable cut from a tablesaw. One step I added was to spray glue 80-grit sandpaper onto a plate of mdf to ensure it’s totally flat. Then when the top is separated, sand the cut edge by lightly messaging the box in different directions while the mdf plate is secured to the workbench. This will ensure an even fit.

-- I did measure it twice, it's still too short.

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2110 days

#5 posted 04-12-2011 03:29 AM

Apply small pine strips to the inside of the box with double face tape before gluing the top on.Then glue the top,set the table saw to just cut through the box walls,and saw the top off.the pine strips hold everything in place while the top is being sawed off.Then just stick a thin screwdriver through the kerf and pop the strips off.This has been a safe and sure tip I learned here on LJ.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2581 days

#6 posted 04-12-2011 03:49 AM

gfadvm, I like your method. I’m gonna haf to try that one. Thanks. I might also try the bandsaw method. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2342 days

#7 posted 04-12-2011 04:46 AM

I make the box with the inlayed design on it…. all but one coat of finish on it, cut the lid off in the band saw, install hinges and put on last finish coat. Made 25 boxes like this last week.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View ratchet's profile


1389 posts in 3207 days

#8 posted 04-13-2011 07:06 PM

I’ve tried cutting box tops off with the BS. Unless its the smallest of boxes it mis cuts. Remember boxes need to be proportionally correct. If its off by 1/8” it will be noticeable. When doing it on the TS I make the cut to leave the smallest of amount (like a 1/32”) behind. I take a piece of scrap of the same thickness and make a test cut to verify. If it cuts through I lower the blade, otherwise I take with a sharp utility knife and try to cut through. If its too difficult to cut through I raise the blade a tad till the cut can be easily cut with the utility knife. Work great. Leaves enough to support the cut but makes it easy to cut / sperate later. Learned this from a Doug Stowe DVD. Thanks Doug.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 2690 days

#9 posted 04-13-2011 07:56 PM

I have used both methods also. It mostly depends on the type of top I want to use. I make alot of boxes with contrasting woods so to cut off the top and put in hinges or the like is not an easy job…but it can be done.

When I do cut the boxes….I use my BS and then use my ridgid oscilating belt sander to get the top and bottom to fit well. I have also used a flat surface with sandpaper….or a shooting board to get the two parts to match.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2342 days

#10 posted 04-14-2011 01:13 AM

I cut the tops off just as reggiek does. Sand the cut smooth the same way. I do not understand how to get a “miss cut” I have cut tops off , with the Band Saw , of boxes measuring 12” x 8” and smaller.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

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