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Forum topic by Scootles posted 06-19-2014 04:40 PM 1015 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Scootles

153 posts in 1376 days


06-19-2014 04:40 PM

I plan on making some small boxes. I am making them out of 1/8” thick high quality woods. The question I had was how would I go about making this for the bottom. I want to minimize expensive material on the sides/top but use a thicker more generic material for the bottom to enhance strength while keeping costs down. Is this a good idea? If so, do you think this is a good profile for the joinery on the bottom to join 2 separate thicknesses?


17 replies so far

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pintodeluxe

4853 posts in 2274 days


#1 posted 06-19-2014 04:47 PM

Overall, it seems like 1/8” is pretty thin for box sides, but I guess it depends on the intended use. Is the joint you show needed for visual appeal, or does it just need to be structural? If the material was all the same thickness, say 1/2”, you could use a locking miter bit on the router table. Otherwise, a shallow dado cut in the sides could receive the bottom panel. This technique glues up strong, and allows any thickness material.

Good luck.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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Frank

40 posts in 3124 days


#2 posted 06-19-2014 05:01 PM

As long as the boxes are small I don’t see why this would not work. Your glue joint would be the only thing holding it together. So not very strong. 1/8 thickness for the side would make it hard if not impossible to use splines or keys on the corners. Speaking of the corners are you going to miter them? Getting everything to line up and square may be a hassle.

-- Some rescue cats, some rescue dogs. I rescue tools. Feel free to send me any tools you cannot take care of or don’t want and I will foster them until I find a good home for them.

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Scootles

153 posts in 1376 days


#3 posted 06-19-2014 05:05 PM

The joint is strictly for structural stability. The goal is that the sides come all the way to the bottom, whiile providing the strongest joing possible.

The bottom does not need to be 1/4” thick. I’m just thinking about overall strength. I thought maybe by making the bottom 1/4” thick it would be stronger. Would you recommend using 1/8” all the way around and using Miter joints?

I know 1/8” is thin for a box, but for this application it is necessary and the sides can not be thicker.

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Redoak49

1940 posts in 1450 days


#4 posted 06-19-2014 05:14 PM

I hope that you will post pictures when you are done.

You might want to take your time in wood selection to find the most stable that you can. I would look for quarter sawn wood with straight grain and then make certain that is is acclimatized well. After you put a good finish on it, that should help with any warping or wood movement but there will be some.

I have built quite a few boxes out of 1/4” stock but never 1/8” It may be on my list of things to try.

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Scootles

153 posts in 1376 days


#5 posted 06-19-2014 05:16 PM

Thx redoak. I won’t be able to attempt making the box for a while as I don’t have a planer. It doesn’t hurt to plan though.

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Frank

40 posts in 3124 days


#6 posted 06-19-2014 05:38 PM

I think miter or butt joints would be all you could do. With only an 1/8” thickness there is not much to work with. Not sure how much wood movement there would be with such thin stock, but that could also be an issue. Your bottom is going to be locked in. If it moves to much it could compromise the corners.

-- Some rescue cats, some rescue dogs. I rescue tools. Feel free to send me any tools you cannot take care of or don’t want and I will foster them until I find a good home for them.

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Scootles

153 posts in 1376 days


#7 posted 06-19-2014 05:41 PM

I saw a video of a guy who made 4 small boxes this way… and tested the strength of them… by lowering a car on top of them. They held up.

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 982 days


#8 posted 06-19-2014 05:44 PM

If you plan to use lesser wood on the bottom anyway, what’s the purpose of the mitre ? Couldn’t the sides come all the way down ? It would seem like less work and less problem with lining up and gluing, for only a miniscule addition of gluing surface. There would be no end grain vs. edge grain gluing advantage.

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Scootles

153 posts in 1376 days


#9 posted 06-19-2014 05:53 PM

Well, thats something I’m trying to figure out. How to make the strongest hidden joint for the bottom of the box.

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Gary

8968 posts in 2894 days


#10 posted 06-19-2014 07:44 PM

I have built two boxes with 1/8” material. I used finger joints for the sides. The bottom was just glued in. I know one is still doing ok. Don’t know where the other one is

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

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Scootles

153 posts in 1376 days


#11 posted 06-19-2014 07:52 PM

Here is what I plan on making, only ‘better’.

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shipwright

7165 posts in 2259 days


#12 posted 06-19-2014 08:19 PM

If the reason for the ultra thin sides is just to save on the exotic woods, have you considered veneering? All of my boxes are veneered and most have “lesser” wood cores. If you use thin plywood or MDF as a substrate you wouldn’t
need a planer.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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Scootles

153 posts in 1376 days


#13 posted 06-19-2014 08:32 PM

While I can respect that route, I’m trying to make mine better than the above box. Veneer wouldn’t always do that. Especially with an MDF Core.

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Randy63

252 posts in 2353 days


#14 posted 06-19-2014 09:49 PM

I completely agree with Paul and the use of veneer over either a Baltic or finish birch ply substrate. You can find either in thicknesses of 1/8” and or even 1/16”. You could add solid stock of the same thickness to the edges if you wished then veneer the sides (both). What actually do you mean when you say better than the box you show? How do you plan to improve?

-- Randy, Oakdale, Ca.

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Scootles

153 posts in 1376 days


#15 posted 06-19-2014 10:01 PM

Well, I plan on making these boxes to sell. Most ‘non-woodworkers’ think ‘solid wood’ is the only GOOD wood product. Trying to sell something like this with a veneer will most definitely deter people from its overall appeal I would think.

Thank you for pointing out that Baltic Birch comes in 1/8” sheets though. I never knew that. Do you guys know of anywhere that sells it? I have a woodworkers source nearby, however they are the most expensive supplier in the area.

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