Puzzle Box

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Project by Andy posted 10-19-2007 05:57 AM 5311 views 16 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This bandsawn box is made from a Western Red Cedar fence post. It had what we call “pencil rot”. I dug out the punky wood and that left these holes of various sizes. Finish is lacquer.

To open, you lift out the pin, and then slide the lid sideways and off.

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

20 comments so far

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5179 days

#1 posted 10-19-2007 06:01 AM

That’s a beauty. Love the shape and grain.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4945 days

#2 posted 10-19-2007 06:06 AM

Very nice organic shape Andy. Your photography is very well done as well. What was the time to complete? Thanks for showing it.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Andy's profile


1713 posts in 4760 days

#3 posted 10-19-2007 06:13 AM

Thanks Scott and Jeff.
Scott, i’m not sure, since I am pretty bad about getting distacted and having several projects going at once.I would say it took me about 3-4 hours to dig all the punk out and sand it smooth.Maybe a little longer,since this one has the shaping on it.

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

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4945 days

#4 posted 10-19-2007 06:42 AM

Time well spent.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4061 posts in 4915 days

#5 posted 10-19-2007 07:02 AM

Sweet and curvy! Very nice, Andy. I have seen several of these puzzle boxes and would love to learn more about it…
he typed, batting his eyelashes coyly.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4917 days

#6 posted 10-19-2007 08:24 AM

Good looking box Andy. Great design, finish and the photography is something special also. Well done!

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5029 days

#7 posted 10-19-2007 10:41 AM

Exceptionally nice, Andy.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5012 days

#8 posted 10-19-2007 11:29 AM

fascinating. It looks quite difficult to create the “lock” .

Very nice – and a beautiful box.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Andy's profile


1713 posts in 4760 days

#9 posted 10-19-2007 02:07 PM

Thank you Jeff,Douglas,Bill,Don and Debbie.
I will attempt to explain how these are made,but photos would be better.I promise to post a blog this winter when things slow down and I can be in the shop with a fire and Molly dog.
I penned this mantra as a reminder when laying out a design.
_”Bandsawn boxes are a simple progression of cuts that are then reassembled in order.”
Too keep it simple,I recommend starting off with a piece of scrap wood,(like the top of the neighbors fence post). A 4×4 is nice.

#1-I write Top,Bttm,Right,Left,Front,Back in pencil on each side of the box.Or if its odd shaped I make marks to aid in reassembly.

#2-Slice the bottom off.

#3-With a 1/4” blade cut out the key.Keep the radius tight and exit back out through the same entry kerf.This is what keeps the key in place.

#4-Cut off the top. There must be a figure 8 shape to the bottom of the lid to keep it from lifting straight up,but also needs to let it slide, at least in one direction.

#5-Make a verticle cut in a back corner and come in about 1/2” before cutting out the inside.Leave about 1/2” for wall thickness.

#6-Glue the back corner together using tape to clamp it, and then sand out the interior walls. Do not sand the kerf!.

#7-Glue the bottom on.I place it onto the box body temporarily, and mark it from the inside to show me how much of the interior bottom to sand smooth,then take it off and sand just to the marks and glue it on using tape/clamps.If you sand the bottom smooth where it joins the box body, it will show.The saw kerf will index itself and heal up nicely.Use the pencil marks you put on the sides at the beginning to aid you in aligning it on all 4 corners.

#8-Lightly sand away the the saw marks on all the mating pieces.The top,body and key.Because of the saw kerf and the sanding the joints will be a little sloppy.

#9-Shape/sand the outside and put your favorite finish on.

#10- Have fun doing it.

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

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4929 days

#10 posted 10-19-2007 02:34 PM

Really nice project made. You ought to give lessons. This is really nice. Did you put a varnish on it to finish it off?

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 5070 days

#11 posted 10-19-2007 03:04 PM

Wow! Talk about ingenuity!

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

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 4888 days

#12 posted 10-19-2007 03:34 PM

Art from a fencepost! Great! Thanks for the added tutorial!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4814 days

#13 posted 10-19-2007 05:08 PM

That’s super neat, Andy. I’ve never made these but I’ve always admired them.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 4753 days

#14 posted 10-19-2007 07:45 PM

I love this. How big is it Andy?

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View Andy's profile


1713 posts in 4760 days

#15 posted 10-19-2007 08:31 PM

Thanks Stewart.It is aprox a 4” cube.I look forward to seeing one from you.

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

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