Wooden briefcase

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Forum topic by Grantman posted 05-29-2012 07:25 PM 6998 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Grantman's profile


113 posts in 3987 days

05-29-2012 07:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question canary wood wood movement design

I’ve started to cut wood for a wooden briefcase. My original plan was to miter/bevel all six sides, glue them together to make a ‘solid block’ and then cut the top off. All sides would be smoothed with a 1/8” roundover bit for a ‘seamless’ look on the edges. Splines would be cut into the miters both for strength as well as decorative elements.

Then I started thinking about wood movement. I’ve made yoga blocks for my wife with this method and there’s been no cracking/movement at all in more than five years, but then, the boxes are only 5 inches wide and they don’t really go out of the house into different environments.

Am I foolish to plan it this way? Should I make a frame/panel with the top and bottom free floating in the sides much like a ‘traditional’ box?

The wood is a dense piece of canary wood. The dimensions will be 18 long x 13 wide x 4 or 4 1/2” high. I’m looking at planing the thickness down to perhaps 5/16” thick…maybe 1/4” as it’s pretty dense and hard and I don’t want it to be too heavy.



4 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3539 days

#1 posted 05-29-2012 07:33 PM

Not sure what Yoga blocks are? I would say as far as wood movement is concerned that you could be asking for trouble and a bit of a challenge. You might consider veneering some canary wood over ply for the tops and bottoms. If your going to try solid wood I would use 1/4 saw material and connect it with brads,they will flex with wood movement and can be hidden .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2464 days

#2 posted 05-30-2012 12:28 PM

I made a the box part of a backgammon board this way (all sides bevelled but without any splines) twenty-some years ago. It’s about half the size you’d want and it’s still fine. Of course, it has not had to carry any real weight so that would be the concern, but the splines should take care of that.

My box is made out of Kiaat, not sure how that compares to canary wood.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View NGcromwell's profile


1 post in 2124 days

#3 posted 06-24-2012 07:21 PM

Hello, I’m starting to build two briefcases for my brothers and I can not find any website that has hardware for the case, such as latches, corner protectors (just on the vertical edges, when the case is lying on the face) and hinges and or lid lifters that will hold the lid in the upright position. I’m planning on using a chrome to silver finish with either 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, paduk, spanish cedar, or honduras rosewood. That can be decided later, but hardware is my main problem, if anyone can help me it would be greatly appreciated.

View bondogaposis's profile


4680 posts in 2313 days

#4 posted 06-24-2012 08:05 PM

NG, Here is a link for briefcase hardware.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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