The "Oops" Box

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Project by Tootles posted 07-14-2014 02:40 AM 2157 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is not a fancy box, but it does have quite a story.

It all started with a piece of plywood that I was given. I noticed that it was about double the size of the cardboard box that my jig saw came in, so if I cut it in half it would make a good base and lid for a new wooden box for that. Plus I had some 90×19 mm pine that was about the same depth as the cardboard box. I did check that 90 mm plus twice the thickness of the plywood was just perfect for my shelves. It did mean that I needed to just glue the plywood onto the frame of the box such that the edges of the plywood are visible, but I don’t mind the look of that – plus it is a workshop box made from nothing more fancy than plywood and pine, so functionality outweighs fancy. But there was my first oops! I made sure that the depth of the box was fine but sized it such that the length and width were the same as the original, forgetting that the pine sides are about six times thicker than corregated cardboard. The end result is that the jigsaw does not fit!

I made the corner joints on my table saw using my box joint jig. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the results, but that was more operator problems than tool problems I think. You don’t have to look too hard to see gaps that have been filled with either the dark brown of Titebond III or wood filler. One thing that I did do that worked well is that I deliberately made one of the fingers wider than the others so that they would look even when the cut was made to separate the lid from the base.

I decided not to add a handle to the lid, but rather to router a rebate similar to what I did in a previous box. So I set up my router table with a cove bit and two stops, grabbed the lid and went ahead. Oops! Previously I routered the base, not the lid. So with a bit of fiddling to make sure the two stops were precisely the same distance apart, I routered the rebate into the base as well. It looks okay, but really it was too much effort to make a habit of doing things this way.

As you can see, I simply used piano hinge, plus I added a chain. All corners are rounded over. The finish is satin finish spray lacquer – and the photos show one or two little spots where I messed up a bit.

So now I have a workshop box, with no idea yet of what I’m actually going to use it for. That’s okay – I’ll work it out eventually.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

6 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5190 days

#1 posted 07-14-2014 02:56 AM

Every time I make a box I think I learn something. Or, I should say, I learn from my mistakes. :-) It sounds like you learned a lot from this one, and I’m sure you’ll find a good use for it.

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

View Boxguy's profile


2889 posts in 3239 days

#2 posted 07-14-2014 05:20 AM

Tootles, I like your lift indent. Nice job of posting. I had fun reading your write-up. I have made hundreds of boxes and each one is a chance to learn. I don’t know if I am better at making boxes or have just learned how to correct my mistakes. How fortunate you got to learn so much from just this one box. Time to make another one. I use the same hinge arrangement. You might look at it here. There is also an index of hints and tips on this project posting. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4306 days

#3 posted 07-14-2014 09:43 AM

Welcome to the school of woodworking mistakes. At least you still have a nice box that you will surely find a good use for.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SPalm's profile


5337 posts in 4854 days

#4 posted 07-14-2014 11:39 AM

Not bad at all.

A box in the shop is always useful. And the customer is always right.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View ajw1978's profile


165 posts in 2393 days

#5 posted 07-15-2014 12:20 AM

A most excellent box. I have a funny hunch I’ll be spending the rest of this week off doing the same thing.

-- May the good Lord help me if I ever actually have a shop, garage or basement.

View oldnovice's profile


7700 posts in 4339 days

#6 posted 07-15-2014 05:37 PM

Nice, clean, simple design, and a good “build”!
There is something to be said about a simple box … they are not as simple as one would think.

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

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