The Box

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Project by Russel posted 04-22-2008 01:52 AM 2615 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

What could be so hard about a box? I’ll tell what, getting the top and bottom to match up. I’m pretty sure I got something out of sequence, but I made the four sides and then sliced it to make a top and a bottom part. I used a lock miter bit to make the corners on the box and once it was set up right, it worked like a charm.

My guess is that either the top or the bottom were not as square as I thought and there was a bit of racking after they were glued on. It’s not excessive, but obvious, a 1/32 to a 1/16 of an inch at most. But I lined it with Spanish Cedar thinking that it might make a nice humidor … that remains to be seen. The main box is walnut with a bit of cherry inlay (that was kinda fun). All in all, it was an educational process and so here it is for your review and inspection.

P.S. Don’t you just hate when those needed adjustments show up after you’ve glued things together?

-- Working at Woodworking

18 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4682 days

#1 posted 04-22-2008 01:56 AM

wow thats a great box. I agree how its hard to get the top and bottom to line up. with mine everything was all lined up and then i mortised for the hinges and it went off by about a 1/16 of an inch. From not on I always cut the top of boxes about a 1/8” to a 1/4” over and flush trim it. thanks for the post.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16289 posts in 5132 days

#2 posted 04-22-2008 02:13 AM

Nicely designed and built box, Russel. Don’t feel bad…I have the same issues with tops. :-)

My trick: After I install the hinges, if the lid is a bit out of line with the rest of the box, just sand all four sides flush with the lid attached. Even if that causes the whole box to be slightly out of square, it will be much less noticible than the top not fitting the sides.

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

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4681 days

#3 posted 04-22-2008 02:20 AM

Gorgeous box Russel. I love the inlay and lining.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View odie's profile


1692 posts in 4754 days

#4 posted 04-22-2008 02:39 AM

It happens to all of us Russel. There is less glued surface in the top section. One question … does the grain line up in the top and bottom ? It doesn’t look it from here. That’s how I have been known to screw mine up. Turn the top 180 degrees so it’s bass ackwards. That will do it every time.

BUT that is one beautiful box. I got my start making humidors. How is that locking miter joint? I’ve always wanted to try one. Thank you for sharing that beautiful work.

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4735 days

#5 posted 04-22-2008 02:54 AM


That is a beautiful box. And I love the cherry inlay.

Thanks for the post. I enjoyed looking at this one.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4902 days

#6 posted 04-22-2008 02:54 AM

Been there done that.

Great looking box though!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View BobR's profile


136 posts in 4898 days

#7 posted 04-22-2008 03:19 AM

Nice box. Love the inlay in the lid.

-- Bob

View scott1942's profile


4 posts in 4624 days

#8 posted 04-22-2008 04:29 AM

A very nice piece of work! if you don’t mind sharing a bit of info, would you post the dimensions of the box?

-- Scott1942

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4853 days

#9 posted 04-22-2008 11:59 AM

Thanks for the looks and comments guys.

Charlie, I thought about sanding the sides, but I don’t have a sander wide enough and I was afraid that if I didn’t do the whole width, I’d end up making it look worse. Previous fixes on other projects have not always been successful.

Odie, I thought I had the grain lined up, but looking at it closer, apparently I don’t. I was careful to have the grain go around the box, but when I cut the top off I obviously forgot that it should stay matched with the bottom.

Scott, the box outside dimensions are 11” x 9” x 5”. The walnut is 5/8” thick and the cedar is 1/4”.

-- Working at Woodworking

View moonroc's profile


44 posts in 4601 days

#10 posted 04-22-2008 12:01 PM

Here is where I get my stash of cigars. Nice looking humidor.

-- Richard

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 4736 days

#11 posted 04-22-2008 04:19 PM

Russel, If you make the top separate, that is, not cutting off the lid from the whole box, mounting a liner that is slightly higher than than inside of the lower part of the box, then it helps to line up the lid. Now, if you glue up all six sides and then cut off the lid from the whole box, the lid still matches the box, the only problem then is the hinges. As long as your lid isn’t too heavy, knife hinges work great. A thin kerf in made and the hinges are inserted in the grooves. If it is heavy the only way to get a good fit is with a good and accurate mortice jig. Nice box and thanks for posting.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 4607 days

#12 posted 04-22-2008 04:58 PM

Nice Russ. I have been curious about trying locked miters. Can you tell us a little more about your inlay process?

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

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4853 days

#13 posted 04-22-2008 08:36 PM

Bradford, I thought about making the lining a little taller. Of course I thought about it after I lined the box. I’m a bit behind the curve that way.

Spaids, the lock miter took a bit to set up but once I got it right it was a beautiful thing. The inlay was quite simple … I cut some grooves with a 3/8” dado blade and then sanded down some cherry strips until they fit.

-- Working at Woodworking

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 4599 days

#14 posted 04-24-2008 12:48 AM

I really like effect of the inlay on the box.

The router workshop episode on boxes has a very helpful approach to getting a tight fitting lid by running a groove that was half the thickness around the inside edges prior to glue up. Leave the bit set up in place but move the fence forward by the depth of the lip you want and then run the groove around the outside of the glued up box. Off pops the lid and you are good to go. I will post a sample in a day or two.

This method works for lift off lids obviously, may not be as relevant for hinged boxes.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4788 days

#15 posted 04-24-2008 01:35 AM

This would make a nice humidor. I like the inlay you did in the top. Did you find it difficult to set up that lock miter bit? I have thought about using one of those.

-- Happy woodworking!

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