what thickness for a box

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Forum topic by pons posted 08-18-2012 02:04 AM 3515 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 2281 days

08-18-2012 02:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question purpleheart

I am going to make a box for my future daughter in law. Her favorite color is purple, so I’m going to make it out of purple heart. The size will be approx 12×12x12. My question is, what should the wall thickness be? 1/2” or 3/4”?
Thanks in advance.

-- Jim in Va

12 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


6910 posts in 2565 days

#1 posted 08-18-2012 02:35 AM

1/2” should be plenty. That is a pretty good size box, 3/4” might seem a bit too big, even for a box that size. Good luck on the build and remember to post pics.

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2235 days

#2 posted 08-18-2012 02:50 AM

I use 3/8” for sides if the lid is fixed make the lid1/4” thick for movement issues

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2544 days

#3 posted 08-18-2012 12:16 PM

1/2” would work.
3/8” would too since purpleheart is so hard and dense, but for a 12×12 box 1/2 would look better.

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

View bondogaposis's profile


4683 posts in 2318 days

#4 posted 08-18-2012 01:28 PM

No more than 1/2” for a box of this size.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View wooded's profile


365 posts in 2239 days

#5 posted 08-18-2012 01:33 PM

Ditto the one/half…......;-J Also at this point try to look up Doug Stowe’s vids save some head aches.

-- Joe in Pueblo West, Colo.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2155 days

#6 posted 08-18-2012 08:04 PM

I agree that 1/2” is plenty. 3/4” would look way too heavy.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 3218 days

#7 posted 08-20-2012 06:20 AM

I would also say tone it down to 3/8” thickness for the sides. Maybe 1/2 for the lid depending on your design.
May I ask why are you making it a cube? Is it for a specific purpose that it has to be that size? As you can tell from the boxes I’ve made, I never use cubes. There is no better way to loose appeal in my mind. But then if it’s for a special purpose, it may have to be that way?

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View pons's profile


25 posts in 2281 days

#8 posted 08-20-2012 10:57 AM

The box is for my son’s wedding, where people put any gift envelopes. And for whatever uses they want thereafter. The length and width should cover most size envelopes. the height is more wishful thinking that they will get lots. Will help them on their honeymoon(vegas). It probably won’t be a cube. Still in planning stages.

-- Jim in Va

View jackass's profile


350 posts in 3680 days

#9 posted 08-20-2012 12:37 PM

Hi Pons,
I have made many boxes in the last number of years, if you are using pine or one of the soft woods, I would go with 1/2 inch thickness. I find hard wood much more forgiving and try to resaw to 3/8 inch on the bandsaw, then with sanding take it down to 1/4 inch. Hard wood is easier to work with and much stronger than soft wood. Consequently you have a much better feeling box, and it takes a better finish. I have never painted a box, and use a high gloss finish and in my opinion they turn out very nice. Soft wood takes more coats of finish because absorption and the coats look more clunky when finished. Hope this helps. I have also found you get more movement with the lid in a square box, so I would think about a box more like 12×12x 8 or 6. Would look better also.

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2647 posts in 2889 days

#10 posted 08-20-2012 01:14 PM

I have made hundreds of cedar boxes and some oak ones. I Have made them as thin as 1/4” and they work well. I now make only 3/8” thick boxes brcause I mount surface hinges on them and the shortest screws I found are 3/8” long. I like to put inlay on the lids so I like 3/8” there but 1/4” would work well on the bottom of the boxes.

-- Website is

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2657 days

#11 posted 08-21-2012 03:31 AM

I make all my boxes of 5/8” stock and would only go thinner on small boxes. Most of my boxes are in the 12×7x4” size range and to me the 5/8” stock looks proportional. Just my opinion.

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

View mole's profile


33 posts in 2993 days

#12 posted 08-21-2012 08:04 AM

hu hu, you can take a look at my projects, as a (too thick) example of small box :D 3/4” ..

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