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Project by Boxguy posted 05-18-2017 09:11 AM 2847 views 8 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ken and I have finished making a video that tells everything I know about making boxes. Here is the link to that video.

Thanks for looking and a special thanks to all who take time to comment or ask questions. I respond to all who “have your say,” so check back for feed back.

Pictured is a White Oak box (18×5 x 5) with Sucupira corner splines. It features rounded corners, inset corner splines, 1/2 inch dividers slotted into side dadoes, an inset bottom, and uses no metal fasteners. I used thicker sides than I normally do since I was dadoing the dividers into the sides.

Techniques: The tough part of this build was getting about 20 joints to line up at once. And then, gluing all these joints at once. It was a good day to have masking tape and band clamps on hand.

Story: I have a basement to my shop. It is where my tractor lives and until now has been used primarily as a storage area. No more. It started innocently enough with Mongo the Compressor.

I saw Mongo on Craig’s List and it was love at first sight. Mongo is 400 pounds of big red love. 80 gallons of compressed air and a 5 HP motor means I have lots of air and lots of pressure. (Well, not me…the compressor.)

In short, Mongo is a beast. It took almost two months to run 10 gauge wire to Mongo and then to run air lines from the basement to the upstairs woodshop. I still have some work to do to extend the air lines to the other side of the upstairs workshop.

There was quite an array of fittings involved in the process as well as new belts, lubrication, adjustments, outlets, some welding, some painting, impact drilling, floor bolts, well, you get the picture.

While I was working on Mongo, I began to think in terms of making that area into a place to work on stuff that breaks. My workshop is so specialized that I really don’t have a good bench and tool area for repair work. It is all about making boxes.

Well, this posting is really about making boxes…so I made this box to hold pliers on my new workbench. I have been busy making all types of holders for basement tools.

I have a wall full of holders and have really had fun making each one. I’ll post more of them as time permits. Soon this box will sit on my new workbench. It has a nice array of pliers and should come in handy. My six-year-old grandson says the tools in this box look like baby dinosaurs in a nest.

Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

25 comments so far

View Tooch's profile


2016 posts in 2991 days

#1 posted 05-18-2017 10:12 AM

A place for everything, and everything in its place! I love organizational projects, and this one sure is pretty, too.

Great job Al. Did you use lap joints for the center dividers?

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Brit's profile


8329 posts in 3957 days

#2 posted 05-18-2017 12:25 PM

Great job on the box Al and thanks for your wonderful video. Loved the bloopers.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Boxguy's profile


2897 posts in 3382 days

#3 posted 05-18-2017 12:34 PM


Tooch, yes I did use lap joints on the dividers. I made the crossing boards the same size as I usually use on the bottom groove on my boxes, so the dado blades were already set up on the saw, and I could make my lapping cuts and side wall cuts the thickness of 1/2 inch plywood.

With 2” masking tape, I taped the center board and the two side boards all together, so I could run both sides the and center board across the saw at the same time. That made everything line up when I assembled the box.

I taped the center board on edge between the two side boards when I made the dado cuts in the sides, and and the notches in the center board let me index the deeper cuts I made later.

I also taped the smaller cross boards together and cut the notches in the four cross boards all at once. Since the dividers are 1/2 inch and the rim is 3/4 inch White Oak, this box weighs a ton even without the pliers.

Your laser work is great stuff.

Andy, Ken did a great job on the video. Thanks for watching it. Yes, the bloopers were fun. We had a good time working together on the film project. Ken spent lots of time editing.

I have enjoyed seeing your latest spoons and the protector for your hook knife is a good idea.

-- Big Al in IN

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8069 posts in 4468 days

#4 posted 05-18-2017 03:11 PM

I would expect nothing less when a box is being made by you Al! Whether it’s for personal keepsakes or for tools, your boxes are always professionally made.
About your video. From your serious beginning to the very funny bloopers I truly enjoyed the entire video! The bloopers were really funny to watch.
Thanks for all that you do and for sharing your talents!

Edit, PS… I forgot to tell Ken how great his videotaping was! Nice work Ken!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View balidoug's profile


524 posts in 3593 days

#5 posted 05-18-2017 04:06 PM

Wonderful design
Practical and beautiful
You’ve done it again

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View splintergroup's profile


5271 posts in 2337 days

#6 posted 05-18-2017 04:45 PM

Fine story on the “evolution” of your workspace. it happens to us all 8^)

I feel your pain with a glue up like that, time for me to grab the 1 hour epoxy and avoid the rush and panic.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3981 days

#7 posted 05-18-2017 05:06 PM

Al, this is a real nice tool caddy and actually quite beautifully made. This caddy could serve various hobbyists who use tools such as pliers, screwdrivers, cutters, etc. and will be a nice addition to your shop as well as other people’s shop. Obviously you will probably make some more of these. Nice work!

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Boxguy's profile


2897 posts in 3382 days

#8 posted 05-18-2017 08:10 PM


Tony, thanks for the kind words. It takes time to make a shop tool like this box, but for me it is worth it. I like using well-made things when I am working in the shop. It helps me understand why tools were so nicely decorated and designed in the 1800s. It is just more fun to work when you are surrounded with well-made things.

You have been on a roll lately with shop clamps and boxes and Gumby. Nice work on those projects.

Doug, thanks. I do enjoy woodworking. Your work has continued to evolve and grow. I liked looking at your more recent postings of boxes, furniture, and shop aids. The grain on the chest of drawers is especially attractive.

Ken deserves to be praised for his work. He did a lot of zooming and fading and other stuff that I don’t really know about as he made and edited the video.

Splinter, it has really been fun to dream again about how to use a new space. The final step on the Mongo project was to bolt him to the floor, so he would stop “walking” while he was running. I especilly liked your desk organizer. Nice job on that design.

Charles, thanks for the idea. To be honest I hadn’t thought about making one or two of these for sale. You are right…they might sell. I just made it for fun for my new shop. Speaking of new shops…your cabinets for hand tools and the beautiful window and cabinetry in your new shop are impressive. Great work.

-- Big Al in IN

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4262 days

#9 posted 05-18-2017 09:08 PM

Another outstanding box—functional, and good looking! Haven’t watched the video (am off to now) but after all the positive comments, I know I’m going to enjoy it!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View robscastle's profile


7948 posts in 3319 days

#10 posted 05-18-2017 10:20 PM


thats way too nice to be wacking vice grips and stuff in.

Nice work on the video its a standard to be set for producing boxes perfectly.
I see the Big Al’s band clamps still in use too!

-- Regards Rob

View Boxguy's profile


2897 posts in 3382 days

#11 posted 05-19-2017 12:26 AM


Dean, I do try to make things that are a joy to see, a pleasure to touch, and a delight to use. That seems to be the duty of woodcrafting. I see your maple box with legs has had over 4000 hits, congratulations. The video has many of the same hints that I give people when they learn to make boxes in the shop.

Rob, thanks for the kind words. You should talk a project being too nice for its purpose. I saw the way too nice box you made for the back of your truck, and what about those sculpted chairs you have been making?

I watched the video again today, and was surprised how fluidly and rapidly I went through the steps. I kept asking myself if that was really me doing those things. turns out it was.

-- Big Al in IN

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2882 days

#12 posted 05-19-2017 12:40 AM

Another beauty, Al.. You are inspiring.


View DocSavage45's profile


9049 posts in 3957 days

#13 posted 05-19-2017 02:57 AM

Hey Big Al,

The teacher came through in your video and it’s right on . Nice teamwork! I look for more in the future. I know it’s not easy editing and uploading I’m trying that too. But I keep saying to myself “Who’s gonna listen to that guy?”

I have not been doing any fine woodworking projects. Bought a 3 hp dust collector to keep the shop cleaner when I’m making saw dust. Playing with my new bandsaw and learning while I also do my money making job.

I will be referencing your video as I have with your blogs when making the next box with Murphy’s help.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Boxguy's profile


2897 posts in 3382 days

#14 posted 05-19-2017 05:39 AM


Mahdee, sorry you tangled with a tool while making that beautiful dogwood bowl. Thanks for the comment it is a pleasure to hear from you.

Thomas (Doc), Glad you enjoyed the video. Thanks for encouraging us to make it. I really am grateful to Ken for the fine job he did on the technical aspects of the video. It came out so much better than the ones that guys make on their own. It was a joy to work with Ken on that project.

Looking forward to your next posting when you can get around to it. You really can’t have too many dust suckers in the shop. In the meantime, it is always fun to hear from you. Did you get a cyclone model?

-- Big Al in IN

View robscastle's profile


7948 posts in 3319 days

#15 posted 05-19-2017 09:24 AM

Hello again Big Al,

I have a couple of questions if I may,
1. At 46:46 in the video you are gluing up the joints. I can see the glue is Franklin Int Titebond but its in a 475mm bottle with a black label. Never seen it before so I just did a search for it on their website but couldnt find it. Had to resort to asking.
Can you tell me the specs please.

2. Why is your air compressor called Mongo?

BTW the vice grips do look like baby dinosaurs in a nest

-- Regards Rob

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