locking bandsaw puzzle box

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Project by bugradx2 posted 05-17-2018 03:51 PM 1219 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
locking bandsaw puzzle box
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I tried this one afternoon with a chunk of a cedar 4×4 to see if I could make a puzzle box that locked together. It was very interesting to learn and figure out. All cuts made very carefully with my 1/8” bandsaw blade. It also served as a way to figure out how to cut bandsaw boxes for another one of my projects too.

If you start in the upper left of the photo and look at photos like you read a book you’ll see how it comes apart.

A couple comments on this have me updating the post.

The general approach is:
1. Cut the bottom/base off the box
2. set the box with the face you just trimmed down, cut out a design. (small tube in my case)
3. turn the box on it’s “side” and cut out a shape that only slides open into that face. The sliding lid in my example, go with gentle curves.
4. set the box back on the same face as step 2 and cut out the center completely. This will form the exterior of the box and give you the “plug” mentioned below
5. cut the bottom off the plug (1/4 inch or so)
6. set the plug on the surface/edge you just trimmed and cut out the center to make the basket exterior
7 . glue the edge of the basket together sealing the edge you sawed through
8. glue the plug bottom back on the basket
9. glue the edge of the box back together to seal your saw kerf together. In my case, i just used the spot where the small tube was located as my entry point with the saw blade so there was less to glue and less time involved. (I was playing around for fun before I had to pick my daughter up at dance, don’t judge)
10. glue the box bottom back on the box

Done correctly, the box lid will not slide off without removing the tube as step 1.

If you’re making something finished and not just trying it out, sanding between all of the steps is smart because it’s very difficult to sand when glued back together. DO NOT sand the surfaces you’ll be gluing because they won’t look right otherwise. I made two baskets with this example because the plug was taller than I anticipated.

If your starting box is larger you could continue to nest boxes and baskets together until you ran out of lumber or fingers. Similar to the Russian nesting dolls.

-- The only thing not measured in my shop is time

6 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


2815 posts in 2833 days

#1 posted 05-17-2018 04:47 PM

Nice! Very interesting. Think I should attempt this, looks like fun to develop the sequence of operation.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Ivan's profile


15606 posts in 3509 days

#2 posted 05-17-2018 04:50 PM

Very interesting concept…it will take some time to figure ’’how’‘

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3509 days

#3 posted 05-17-2018 07:15 PM

You did a nice job on this puzzle box. Congratulations.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View madts's profile


1928 posts in 2982 days

#4 posted 05-17-2018 09:02 PM

Rather cool concept.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View bugradx2's profile


122 posts in 661 days

#5 posted 05-17-2018 09:12 PM

Thanks everyone. I took a few minutes and put some general directions on how to make this sucker. You just need to think about how it glues back together rather than making the cuts. The first cut is the one you can’t forget or you just made a smaller bandsaw box or firewood. You can barely see the edge where I glued the base back on in the photos. It’s pretty noticeable on the baskets though.

-- The only thing not measured in my shop is time

View FloridaArt's profile


875 posts in 3940 days

#6 posted 05-20-2018 11:10 AM

Looks like an interesting project. something I should try someday. LOL!

-- Art | Bradenton, Florida

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