Square Block - Round Hole

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Project by NoSlivers posted 12-23-2009 04:03 AM 4280 views 14 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

To give credit where it’s due, I found this project in American Woodworker some time ago, titled “Cube in a Cube”. There is a video of this as well. The instructions for the project are very clear.

I wanted to make one of these for my father. As I was growing up, he always insisted that I should stop trying to put a square peg in a round hole. (this continues to lead to woodworking frustration for me), but now I have the chance to place tongue firmly in cheek and hand this to him at Christmas. Consistent with my habits, I tried this out on this pine first, to learn the process, and here it is after wiping down with BLO. It was all one block (3 1/4 by 3 1/4) and carefully drill down the center of each side with a 2” forstner bit. The center block will be revealed as each side is drilled to about 1” depth. Just a bit of advice for anyone wanting to try this… look up the project on American Woodworker website, or watch the video… failing in that, drill the endgrain sides first.

This is not a puzzle, though most anyone picking this up will assume that it is (much to the woodworker’s amusement). The center block cannot be removed without of damaging one of the pieces.

-- If you don't have time to do it right, do you have time to do it twice?

9 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117905 posts in 4180 days

#1 posted 12-23-2009 04:09 AM

A fun project looks good.


View clieb91's profile


3699 posts in 4538 days

#2 posted 12-23-2009 04:54 AM

I so want to make one of these sometime soon. Like the idea for your dad. This one came out very nice.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View cliffton's profile


117 posts in 3684 days

#3 posted 12-23-2009 06:30 AM

sweet, i know what i’m doing tomorrow! :D

View ohwoodeye's profile


2285 posts in 3756 days

#4 posted 12-23-2009 07:25 AM

I also agree that you should watch the video on youtube before you start. I made one of these out of walnut and use it as a paper weight on my desk. Everyone at one point or another will pick it up and examine it. How much conversation can one, simple, half-hour project create?
Love your analogy of a square peg in a round hole. Think I need to whip up one of these for my father as well.
Thanks for posting.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4033 days

#5 posted 12-23-2009 08:08 AM

Great conversation piece. I too have een blamed for putting round peg in square hole. Might have to make one of these for myself.

Keep it up.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 4296 days

#6 posted 12-23-2009 03:55 PM

ok I’m lost. It seems that the cube could come out if you just carefully line it up and slip it out. On that video he drills down each side to the depth of where the circle touched the crossing line. Wouldn’t that put four corners of a face on the cube right at the size of the circle you cut? What am I missing? With Christmas getting closer by the second… these quick and fun little projects are getting more and more critical.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View NoSlivers's profile


210 posts in 3693 days

#7 posted 12-23-2009 06:21 PM

Spaids, As long as you’re careful and don’t drill down too far, the center block cannot be removed. The tolerance is pretty close, but that’s what makes it so tantalizing. It’s approx 1/8” too big to be removed, but that will vary deending on where you stop drilling. And the video is a good guide, and mine only took about 40 minutes to do, even with measuring everything 2x and dipping in BLO (not counting soaking and drying time since I was on to something else during that time).
And if you’re down to counting seconds til Christmas, next year I’d start making gifts a month earlier…..of course if you wait til the last minute, it only takes a minute….hmm.

-- If you don't have time to do it right, do you have time to do it twice?

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 4296 days

#8 posted 12-23-2009 09:51 PM

Thanks for the idea and the video. This worked out well.

Click for details

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View yarydoc's profile


417 posts in 3747 days

#9 posted 12-23-2009 10:15 PM

Thanks for the video link. I will put this on my list with all the other great projects here I want to do. Thanks everyone for all the great ideas. Now all I need is time.

-- Ray , Florence Alabama

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