Boxes!!!! Fastest, strongest, nicest, cheapest way?

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Forum topic by Rookie702 posted 03-03-2012 08:43 PM 4316 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 2242 days

03-03-2012 08:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: boxes joints

I get to make a bunch of wood boxes for my moms business, size range is anywhere from 10” D x 12” x 24” to maybe double that. I want these to be strong but cost effective, not sure what material I’m going to use yet, I have some requests for some cedar and maple. I was thinning using metered joints and gluing them together, but creating metered joints can be a hassle, but I don’t want just butt end joints. What are some suggestions, I might have to make a couple hundred over the course of a few months.



35 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


8164 posts in 2542 days

#1 posted 03-03-2012 08:47 PM

Templates, jigs, locking miter bits for your table router.
Have fun.

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3160 days

#2 posted 03-03-2012 08:54 PM


This is what I have had success with building drawers. A drawer is just a box with no top.

Look at the video on this page also.

Good luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View Loren's profile


10260 posts in 3613 days

#3 posted 03-03-2012 09:32 PM

Box joints. With that number you’d be smart to built the
Woodgears box joint machine.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3033 days

#4 posted 03-03-2012 10:41 PM

It’s gonna depend on what your Mom can spend and how much (if anything) you need to get after the materials are bought.

Last month, I made 40 minature carpenter tool boxes for centerpieces at some charity dinner. Their budget was really small, and I don’t work for free, so these were made from 3/8” sheathing. I set up a production system and cut all the pieces in a day. One of the charity people came over and sanded everything (80 grit on a ROS) while I assembled them with sImple butt joints and 1” staples. After assembly, we used a pad sander to knock down the rough edges.

They came out looking pretty good considering the material used and the fast and dirty assembly.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Rookie702's profile


43 posts in 2242 days

#5 posted 03-03-2012 11:35 PM

Wow , look at all that wood, how fun was that?, the boxes I’m going to be mAking are going to be sold so I need the joint s to hold. Up over time. Box joints I think would take to much time. Probably going to use wood and nit plywood

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2962 days

#6 posted 03-03-2012 11:36 PM

What is going in these boxes ?
What are they going to be finished with ?
Are they to be crates or boxes ?
The smaller ones can be thin lumber to stay lightweight, the ones you say are bigger 2times 10×12x24 is 20×24x48. That is a major size, they would need thicker lumber and become quite heavy.
Balsa is very light and fairly strong.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Rookie702's profile


43 posts in 2242 days

#7 posted 03-03-2012 11:37 PM

I tiried to build something similar to the wood gears joint machine, let’s just say it failed

View Loren's profile


10260 posts in 3613 days

#8 posted 03-04-2012 12:07 AM

Oh, pegs. You can rabbet the corners too but making a jig
to drill for whack-in wood pegs is simple enough. Dowel
you buy isn’t consistently round, but you can make it round
by making a dowel plate. Use brad point drills. You can grind
your own.

View northeaster's profile


52 posts in 2458 days

#9 posted 03-04-2012 12:30 AM

I just made a couple of 4” x 12” x 4” boxes for hand planes. They involved 1/2” butted hardwood sides (just oiled finish poplar) and slightly recessed prefinished plywood tops/bottoms which were all reinforced/aligned with biscuits. Assembly involved clamping together the closed box, then cutting the lid off before adding non-mortised hinges.

Appearance-wise, it was to me a reasonable outcome which could be improved with better sides and strength-wise, it might work for your small end.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2647 posts in 2887 days

#10 posted 03-04-2012 02:47 AM

I make a LOT (Hundreds) of cedar boxes 11” x 8” x 2 1/2” deep. I just miter the corners and glue. The bottom and top are glued on so the miter joint is pretty strong. I then cut the tops off and hinge them back on. Quick and easy. I also make trunks 24” x 16” x 16” deep (About 50). Miter joints at corners and dadoed in bottoms and tops. (Not glued in place) I reinforce the miter joint on these with a triangular fillet glued to the inside of the corners. I have dropped this completed trunk off of a 2 foot tall table to concrete and it held together just fine.

-- Website is

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2542 days

#11 posted 03-04-2012 03:51 AM

Whichever method you go for, once set up for production, things move pretty quickly.
I would probably try box joints, or the rabbeted joints with dowels in place. You could use contrasting dowels as a nice touch.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Rookie702's profile


43 posts in 2242 days

#12 posted 03-04-2012 05:52 AM

They will be unfinished when I deliver them to mom, she will be decopaugeing them , they are tobe sold as pet toy storage containers

View Rookie702's profile


43 posts in 2242 days

#13 posted 03-04-2012 05:56 AM

These boxes I am to make wont have a top just a bottom and 4 sides, I’d like to miter the corners but so far I have. Not had very good luck with mitered joints, I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to create extact 45degree cuts.

View ksSlim's profile


1274 posts in 2855 days

#14 posted 03-04-2012 06:42 AM

If you don’t have a lock miter bit for your router table, you might look into a chamfer bit for a plain 45 miter.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2962 days

#15 posted 03-04-2012 01:21 PM

Thanks for more info.
Not sure what you have for tools. This would only need a table saw to do.
A simple rabbet joint (glued) would look much nicer and be stronger than a POORLY done miter .
Always make the rabbet on the longer sides.
Either try to find 3/8” thick boards or if you have band saw, buy 3/4 board and cut it in half. The thickness will be slightly smaller than 3/8”
The shorter sidess can be a little thicker lumber (1/2”) and the longer sides only 1/4” -3/8”. This might help keeping the total weight lighter.
I have made a quick sketch.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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