Making all sides of a box straight with limited tools.

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Forum topic by nfang posted 10-22-2013 02:41 PM 1048 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 1873 days

10-22-2013 02:41 PM

I’m trying to make a music box using birch plywood and finger joints. It’s 3”x 5”x 2” and the plywood is 3/8”. So far I’ve cut (using a hand saw and chisels) and glued the sides together and I noticed that one corner is shorter than the other corners. If I set box on a flat surface, I think one side is about 1/8” higher than the other three sides. I have at my disposal, a hand saw, chisels, a random orbital sander and a router with some random bits. Can anyone think of a good way to make the bottom even. I should say, I’m pretty sure the top isn’t even either.

I was thinking I could somehow clamp a guide and use the router, but my router base is really big and I can’t think of how to clamp it in a way that is safe and won’t get in the way. I have a friend that has a table saw, but I’m worried about tear out if I try to use it. It seems like sanding by hand might be the best way, but doesn’t seem as accurate.

I guess I should mention that this will be the first box I’ve ever made.


6 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 1456 days

#1 posted 10-22-2013 03:03 PM

That’s an interesting choice of wood and joinery…
If the box is glued up, you could take some big sheets of sandpaper and glue them to a flat surface, and then sand the box bottom flat.
You could then flip it and sand the top edges flat, but they might not end up parallel to the bottom so for that you may need to make some jig for the router.
Edit: I Missed the part about the friend with the TS. Just throw some tape all the way around where you’re going to cut and run that puppy through the tablesaw and get it done.

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View Don W's profile

Don W

17870 posts in 1985 days

#2 posted 10-22-2013 03:09 PM

Just throw some tape all the way around where you’re going to cut and run that puppy through the tablesaw and get it done.


-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View nfang's profile


8 posts in 1873 days

#3 posted 10-22-2013 09:14 PM

Ha ha. Yeah, it was the wood I had on hand and I thought I would start with finger joints before trying dovetails.

I’ll try taping it up and using the table saw.


View rg33's profile


83 posts in 1419 days

#4 posted 10-23-2013 12:57 AM

Hmm…Im trying to picture this. If the bottom is uneven but made of plywood, when you even it out by any means, sanding, cutting, routing, you will remove the veneer and what will be left will be kind of ugly. Unless of course you havent added the bottom yet and its only the ends of the sides that you are trying to even out. In that case using a TS like the others have commented is the way to go. HOWEVER, using the table saw, you will be referencing the fence and, unless you have some kind of box jig, you will only transfer the top side that is also apparently uneven causing you to have top and bottom parallel but not necessarily perpendicular to the sides which will also be problematic…
Do you have a straight bit for your router? If so you could use the woodwhisperers method at a tiny scale:
to make the bottom flat, once you are done with this then you can table saw the other side

View Woodshingle's profile


8 posts in 1096 days

#5 posted 10-25-2013 11:05 PM

I’d chalk it up to experience, burn it for warmth and start over.

View Woodbum's profile


714 posts in 2483 days

#6 posted 10-30-2013 07:01 PM

Decorative firewood IMHO. Figure out where you went wrong and correct that misfortune on the replacement.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

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