Small Box Experiments

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Blog entry by Marty Backe posted 06-13-2014 03:34 PM 2997 reads 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a video that showcases a few diminutive boxes that I made from 1/8” thick stock. Some were experiments with hand cut dovetails in plywood and MDF.

8 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6508 posts in 3917 days

#1 posted 06-14-2014 01:46 AM

Great small boxes. Thank you for sharing

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 4399 days

#2 posted 06-14-2014 06:42 AM

Thanks for the discussion and inspiration. Over the past two nights I disassembled four crates that I curb shopped a few months ago. Each crate had two sides and bottom made of ~3/16” thick pine slats about 4 inches wide and 16” long. The other two side were hardboard slats. Frame was 1 1/2 inch pine sticks. All pieces were nailed, no glue. Due to the nails, it took awhile to relieve the slats from the crates and some are cracked and split, though not all the way.

I used just about every trick in the book to pry them off including a small pry bar, then small hydraulic house jack with a small scrap of 2×4, one slat at a time. Very slow. Then I remembered I have two lightweight Bessey parallel clamps that can be configured as spreaders. The clamps worked best, easy to set up and fast. I jusd one on each end and a 2’ scrap of 2×4 to apply equal pressure where the slats were mailed to the frame.

I glued a few back together with titebond and will glue the rest when ready. I plan to try my hand making some thin walled boxes so your video gives me encouragement. I’ll also make some dividers for drawers, my original intent. I came away with 12 slats per crate so 48 total. I doubt my boxes will be as nice as your, and they are really nice (I love shellac) but hey, with a stash of 48 slats, one or two may work out. What could go wrong!

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Roger's profile


21031 posts in 3718 days

#3 posted 06-15-2014 10:10 PM

Super nice boxes.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

251 posts in 3685 days

#4 posted 06-16-2014 08:26 AM

David – I’ve made many small boxes with thin wood that was left-over from some other function. I have a bunch of 1/8” sugar pine that I think came from a window manufacturer (used for shims I think). So you’re on the right track. Dive and and enjoy the process. What do you have to lose but an hour or two in the shop?

View kevinw's profile


199 posts in 4653 days

#5 posted 06-17-2014 10:26 AM

The boxes that were made with butt joints, how do you hold them square while your glue is drying?

-- Kevin, Blue Springs, MO

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

251 posts in 3685 days

#6 posted 06-17-2014 02:45 PM

Thanks Kevin. Since the boxes are very small and all the joints are cut at 90 degrees, they stay square when gluing. I use rubber bands for clamps.

View MNWOODWORKER's profile


105 posts in 4499 days

#7 posted 06-21-2014 05:40 AM

Great video, glad Im not the only one who likes having a box for everything:) One great thing about them is that I use them to keep my skills up because its not every day that your cutting dovetails on larger projects, but throwing in little projects like this it keeps you as tuned as your tools. One question, what are the last 4 boxes for?
God bless!

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

251 posts in 3685 days

#8 posted 06-21-2014 05:42 PM

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