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Forum topic by Gene40 posted 03-22-2012 02:28 AM 1608 views 2 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gene40

4 posts in 2464 days


03-22-2012 02:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: box joinery

I am an “old” newbie to small box making and have found that it requires different skills from hammer and nail projects. I would much appreciate any tips or advice on making boxes. Also any plans or directions available on-line.

Thanks.

-- Gene in N. AL


18 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2408 posts in 2381 days


#1 posted 03-25-2012 12:05 AM

I make hundreds of simple boxes. 8” X 11” x 2 1/2” deep. You are right no nails used. I make the sides of the boxes cutting the corners with my DeWalt miter saw. White glue them together and clamp with rubber bands all around. Flat top and bottoms are 3/8” thick, as are the sides. White glue top and bottom on and clamp with 8 clamps until dry (an hour). Sand off overhang of top and bottom, and round off corners with hand held orbital sander. Apply sanding sealer and one coat of finish. After dry I cut the lid off in my band saw. Re-attach top with hinges and apply designs to the lid if you like. I make 99% of them of red cedar and the rest of Oak. I can email you photos of some I have done if you like…. Send me a message.

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

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Gene40

4 posts in 2464 days


#2 posted 03-25-2012 09:10 PM

Thanks, I would love to see pictures of your boxes. I have a new band saw and about 100 bd ft of some vety nice rough sawn cedar.

Thanks

-- Gene in N. AL

View ELCfinefurniture's profile

ELCfinefurniture

112 posts in 1779 days


#3 posted 03-26-2012 03:15 AM

I would suggest making a good miter sled for your table saw. Its invaluable when making boxes. Also make a nice spline cutting jig if you wish to embellish your boxes nicely. Douglas Stowe has some very nice articles on box making.

-- {Current North Bennet street school student}

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

2168 posts in 1727 days


#4 posted 03-26-2012 04:57 AM

Jim’s advice is sound. I would need to know your goals first. Do you want a hobby or a money making business? Do you just want to make a few or many boxes? Do you have several tools or just some basic ones?

Regardless…have fun.

-- Big Al in IN

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fussy

980 posts in 2510 days


#5 posted 03-26-2012 05:00 AM

Go to Fine Woodworking’s site. Doug Stowe has a series of free videos that will answer 87.76% of your questions. They may require an on-line membership, BUT they give you two weeks FREE to snoop around. In that time, you can download all the plans you could ever use. If you pick it up, it’s about $15/yr and worth every penny. If not, you can get a lot of stuff in two weeks.

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2408 posts in 2381 days


#6 posted 03-26-2012 03:02 PM

Here are some photos of some of the boxes I have made. Most are inlayed designs some are applied.

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

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2149 days


#7 posted 03-27-2012 01:49 AM

Jim, You’ve got this box making thing down pat! Nice boxes and inlays/overlays.

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

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firewhatfire

21 posts in 1712 days


#8 posted 03-27-2012 07:32 AM

I would like some info on boxes also. I want to scale them down for pens.

Phil

-- May my words and works always be beneficial to God.~~ Me

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2408 posts in 2381 days


#9 posted 03-27-2012 12:47 PM

I make boxes of Cedar mostly. Any wood will be done the same way. To make the sides I just rip 3/8” thick cedar to 2 1/4”. Then tilt my sliding miter saw to 45 degrees and cut them to length. 7 3/4” and 11” ( the finished box dimensions) I then glue the four pieces together with white glue and use masking tape on each corner to hold them in place while I stretch two rubber bands all around to “clamp” them in place. After an hour drying I take the rubber bands and tape off and sand flat the top and bottom edges. I then glue the 3/8” thick top and bottom in place with white glue and clamp with about 8 clamps for a few hours. I am careful to not let any of the glue ooze to the inside of the box. Outside it can easily be sanded off but not on the inside. I make the top and bottom 8” x 11 1/2”(a little bigger than the finished box size.) I inlay any designs into the lids before gluing them in place. I then take the box and sand off the little overhang of the top and bottom using my stationary, bench type, belt sander and round off all edges with a hand held orbital sander. I then apply one, brush on, coat of sanding sealer (deft) which dries in 1/2 hour and then hand sand that with fine sanding sponge, lightly. I remove any dust with a paper towel that is slightly wet with mineral spirits or paint thinner. Cheap and effective tack cloth. I then apply a finish, either spray on lacquer or triple thick glaze from Walmart. After that dries , overnight, I cut off the lid,using my band saw, to 3/4” and sand that cut edge smooth and attach two surface mount hinges with 3/8” screws. Attach hinges on the top first. I space the top and bottom apart at the hinge by placing two thicknesses of business cards between the top and bottom. If any more sanding is required I do it with the sanding sponge and apply yet another coat of the Triple Thick Glaze. It is an acrylic finish and really works well. I use gloss. ($4 a can) One can will finish at least 7-8 boxes of this size. If I decide to apply a design rather than inlay it I glue it in place with white glue before applying the acrylic finish. I use white glue ( simple Elmer’s white glue) because it dries quickly and clear, and it is cheap. I pay $17 a gallon for it but you can use regular $1.25 a small bottle of school glue. I use over two gallons a year of it.

I suggest you try making some boxes like this and apply a design rather than inlay one. On your next box, now that you know how to make one, you can try some inlay. I will be happy to explain that process to you using a scroll saw, if you like. Let me know. I am happy to help . Have fun. Jim Finn Lubbock Texas.

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

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Gene40

4 posts in 2464 days


#10 posted 03-27-2012 03:11 PM

Many thanks to all. It will be a hobby fir now, gifts etc. As to tools, I have table saw, band saw, jointer, planer and other. fills a two car garage. Some boxes will be special, made of cherry that my father had cut and sawn in the 70ties. Will be for my kids and grandkids.

Many thanks to all.

-- Gene in N. AL

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3678 days


#11 posted 03-27-2012 04:06 PM

Gene, I would recommend you spend some time looking at the projects on this site. There are a lot of us box makers with various skill levels. (Check out my projects, for example)

Find some designs that inspire you. Then if you have any questions about specific techniques, send a private message to the maker, or post a question here in the forums, and a lot of folks will be happy to help.

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

View DKV's profile

DKV

3940 posts in 1963 days


#12 posted 03-27-2012 04:23 PM

Charlie, I hate to say this but this is the first time I have looked at your projects. Wow! If my box making skills ever match yours I will be very happy. Practice, practice, practice…

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View majeagle1's profile

majeagle1

1426 posts in 2956 days


#13 posted 03-27-2012 04:23 PM

I would echo what Charlie said as well, you would be amazed at the varied and amazing boxes found here in the projects section.
Also I would recommend checking out some of the books out there on box making. One book that I always recommend is “Box Making Basics by David M. Freedman”. I recommend this one first as it is the most clear and concise documentation of box making that I have seed from start to finish. It is only in black and white, but it is my favorite “go to” box book. Then of course there are all of the books by “Doug Stowe” that are just fantastic. I have them all and refer to them quite often for new and different techniques.
As Charlie has said, any questions…... you know how to get in touch with of any one of us!
Gene

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks, http://majesticeagleww.etsy.com/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/majesticeagle/

View DKV's profile

DKV

3940 posts in 1963 days


#14 posted 03-27-2012 04:34 PM

Gene, just looked at your boxes. I think half of the challenge to making nice boxes is not only how to do it and technique but also wood matching. Some woods look nice together…some don’t. It’s a talent all it’s own. Yours are very nice. This is a great post since it got me to look at all the other boxes. I know this is difficult but is there a top ten list of box builders on this site? Maybe we should make a list or vote on one. Not to hurt anyones feelings though. I also agree with the books. I have both Freedman and Stowe books. Very comprehensive on the “how to” part of box making…wood matching is a real talent though. I don’t mean just which two or three varieties to use but also how much. I’ve seen a lot of boxes that IMO are overdone. I like elegant and subtle details. That’s just me though…
Don

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3678 days


#15 posted 03-27-2012 04:56 PM

Don, I’d hate to even think about trying to pick my favorite 10 box makers on this site, but I will say that Roger Bean would be on my list.

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

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