"Art Box" Tutorial #6: The Lid

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Blog entry by Andy posted 06-30-2009 04:42 PM 26827 reads 34 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Cut the lip for the lid Part 6 of "Art Box" Tutorial series Part 7: The Medallion »

Updated 1/15/12

Regarding wood movement:
Depending on the wood you use, where you live, and your own personal experience,y ou may want to allow more clearance.
This is what works for me.

I really dont allow for any movement at this stage. I know this sounds like trouble waiting to happen, but it works just fine for me. Even if we start off with a snug fit, we will still end up with a small gap around the perimeter. This is due to the final sanding and easing of the edges between lid and lip. Feel free to start off with a small gap (1/16) or so if you wish. But keep in mind that as you sand your mating edges, that its very easy to get a sloppy fit. This would allow the lid to move from side to side, which will just feel wrong, and the pins may show too much in the gap, and the handle may not drop straight into the seat, and the sides may rub on the way down.

Cutting the lid to size is nothing more than cutting a rectangle exactly the size of the opening and then radiusing the corners.

Here is the lid blank cut to size and prior to rounding the corners…obviously.

I choose to sand the corners to match the profile of the box using a template to first mark out the radius. I bought a set of cool templates at Woodcraft.

Then its over to the disc sander to get close but leaving enough to fiddle with by hand.

OR you can make a template for the entire top out of ply or masonite or…well you get the picture. With a template you can stick it to your lid and run it around a router with a template bit. It may want to eat a corner or two, thats why I prefer to sand to fit. Just go slowly. Turn down the Rap music and pay attention at this point anyway.

The lid all snug in its new home.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

11 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4662 days

#1 posted 06-30-2009 04:44 PM

good tutorial well done


View RWR's profile


42 posts in 4686 days

#2 posted 06-30-2009 05:00 PM

Andy, this is a great tutorial series. Thanks a lot for sharing.

-- Wayne

View littlecope's profile


3121 posts in 4587 days

#3 posted 06-30-2009 08:09 PM

Super presentation! You’re making it look awful easy…If I ever come across some suitable woods, I’m going to have to attempt this. :-)
Darn nice of you to take the time to document and photograph your process of creation, many thanks!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Andy's profile


1713 posts in 4993 days

#4 posted 07-01-2009 08:34 PM

Thank you all for reading this and commenting.
Here is chapter 7.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 4872 days

#5 posted 11-30-2009 03:20 PM

Andy; I really want to take a shot at making at least one of these boxes, but I’m not sure I understand the procedure for cutting the medallion once the lid inset is cut. You wrote that the medallion is cut the same way as the lid, but to me that procedure only works for a recess. If we use the same process used to cut the recess in the lid then wouldn’t the medallion be too small on all sides by 3/4” (2 x’s the diameter of the router bit)?
Any help for the confused is appreciated.

View Andy's profile


1713 posts in 4993 days

#6 posted 11-30-2009 04:19 PM

Hi TJ, l think I see your problem. Lets look back at the photos, I think they explain the process best. Make a jig as shown that leaves a border around the medallion about 1 1/4’’ or so,and cut a recess about 3/8’’ deep using a pattern bit with a bearing that is the same diameter as the bit.
The medallion is cut to size after that to ensure a good fit.

It can be very confusing when laying out templates and bits with different sized bearings.There are other ways to accomplish this same thing,including using template guides,but this is what I had on hand. I do recommend practicing on a dummy box first.

Let me know if this doesnt answer your question, I want you to be able to do this too.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 4872 days

#7 posted 12-03-2009 08:42 PM

Eureka…the light just came on. Doh!
Thanks, I think I’ve got it now.

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3912 days

#8 posted 03-18-2011 02:40 PM

View gashley's profile


121 posts in 4091 days

#9 posted 03-18-2011 03:33 PM

I really appreciate you taking the time to post such a great blog on how you do your boxes. This is one of those “DOH” projects where once you do it, you realize the techniques are really quite simple and make sense.
I made a run of 3 of these boxes out of Claro Walnut with quilted maple inserts to give out as gifts. I wasn’t really happy with how my sculpting/carving of the boxes came out (they didn’t really flow organically the way I would have liked – but the recipients all loved them) but have some good ideas on what I want to do next time I get down to doing these.
Thanks again for your contributions around here.

-- Gary in OP

View abie's profile


922 posts in 4856 days

#10 posted 08-10-2011 05:50 PM

Great tutorial and I am just now starting. Had to re read procedures but I am doing as you say by trying on a practice box first
Wonderful pictures and once I have re read it twice I finally get it
again another light is lit.
TNX again.
PS: I am working on palm boxes too.
re tired and tired too.

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View raydawg's profile


41 posts in 3117 days

#11 posted 02-01-2013 05:20 PM


Revisiting this fantastic tutorial. I am attempting making one of these boxes and have partially made the dummy box.

I don’t have a single large enough board to make the lid out of. My idea is edge join two pieces of alder, then continue on as outlined here on your tutorial.

Do you think I will have problems later when I add the medallion and start the shaping?

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