What method do you use for the bottoms of your boxes?

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Forum topic by Cole Tallerman posted 10-14-2012 04:18 AM 1036 views 2 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 1605 days

10-14-2012 04:18 AM

I have really only used one method which is making a groove in all 4 sides and sliding a sheet of 1/4” plywood or maybe something nicer into it before I glue it up. This is really the only method that instantly came to me and I haven’t tried any others. So, What are your methods? Any pictures?

Thanks! I’m always looking for new ideas!

12 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21534 posts in 1758 days

#1 posted 10-14-2012 09:39 AM

That’s probably the most common. I use a lot of mitre cut bottoms also.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2342 days

#2 posted 10-14-2012 11:46 AM

I just make the tops and bottoms by gluing on a slightly over sized piece of 3/8” solid wood. I then cut/route/sand to shape. I then cut off the lid from this closed box. Makes a less bulky box than sliding a bottom and/or top into slotted sides does.

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

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1771 days

#3 posted 10-14-2012 12:27 PM

Another way to go is to construct the box w/o a bottom then rout a rabbet all around the inside of the bottom then fit a piece of wood or plywood so it is flush w/ the bottom.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8095 posts in 2848 days

#4 posted 10-14-2012 01:03 PM

Depending on the intended use, a raised panel top and bottom is nice. Most times the bottom isn’t seen but, when it is, it’s a cool surprise to the viewer.
Presently, I’m building a brief case. The sides (top and bottom) will be flush. I’ll be using 1/2” BB with an applied 3/32” veneer of Mesquite. I’ll rout a groove in the case sides/edges 1/4” from the top/bottom of the case then rabbet the veneered BB on all four sides to fit in the dadoed groove and almost flush with the sides/edges, leaving a bit to sand the edges flush with the case sides/top/bottom.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View RussellAP's profile


3059 posts in 1706 days

#5 posted 10-14-2012 03:19 PM

If you plan to store heavy stuff, like most drawers in shops, you may want to reinforce the bottom with a small strip of wood to keep the bottom from bowing.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View sean1327's profile


7 posts in 1473 days

#6 posted 10-16-2012 06:49 PM

mitre cut bottoms

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2580 days

#7 posted 10-16-2012 06:54 PM

I build mostly with mitered corners so I do the groove thing. However, I use 1/8” plywood for the bottom so I don’t have to change blades on the TS.

I’ve built many boxes, but I’ve never heard of a Miter Cut Bottom. Could someone please explain?

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

View lumberjoe's profile


2893 posts in 1668 days

#8 posted 10-16-2012 08:22 PM

I tried one, it didn’t go well. If I understand it right, you cut a miter on the bottom of all 4 sides on the box, then cut a corresponding miter on the bottom you are using. That requires a lot more precision than I am currently capable of producing.

I take the board I am using for the sides, and before I cut the sides, I send it through the TS and cut a rabbet with a dado stack. Then I miter the sides and assemble. That works out well for me as it is just one cut and all sides will have the exact same depth/width.


View shipwright's profile


7085 posts in 2218 days

#9 posted 10-16-2012 10:11 PM

Miter cut bottom: (OK, this one is a top but the idea is the same. It’s a nice quick strong bottom especially if you are going to frame the base.)

A little HHG and a piece of tape …. and you got a box.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2110 days

#10 posted 10-17-2012 02:24 AM

I have rabbited, doweled, and dadoed the bottoms in my boxes but now dado most of them. It is more of a challenge with a box jointed box as you have to carefully rout a stopped dado to keep it hidden. Once I figured out how to do that, it became my method of choice.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3638 days

#11 posted 10-17-2012 02:31 AM

Another option: Sometimes I’ll use a contrasting wood for the bottom. All you have to do is cut it slightly oversize, glue it on, then trim with a flush cut router bit.

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

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2580 days

#12 posted 10-17-2012 03:00 AM

Benjamin & Paul, Thanks for the clarification. Never done one. I thought about it once, but I took a Tylenol and that thought quickly passed. I may try it sometime. Paul, that’s a nice start to a box, btw.

Andy, For smaller boxes with butt joints or finger joints, you can get away with only grooving the two long sides of the box and have the bottom cut to the exact dimension of the longer inside of the box. This allows the use of the TS for those grooves. Can you tell I prefer the TS over the Router?

You’d also be surprised how sturdy 1/8” plywood is in a 6”-7” wide box with grooves on all four sides.

Charlie, I reeeeeeally like that design/technique. Sorta looks like a mini casket. That should work fine for the smaller boxes I make. Consider that idea stolen.

from CharlieM1958 – ”…then trim with a flush cut router bit.
Or take it to the stationary belt sander(a widely underrated machine, IMO).

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

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