Demo Box

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Project by Tootles posted 12-07-2012 01:39 PM 2231 views 4 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been teaching at a school for the last year. While most of my students built cabints, two preferred to build boxes. Many of the techniques that they used were the same as the cabinets, but there were a few diferences, so I decided to demonstrate some of the techniques required by making a box myself.

The box is made from 3/4” radiata (i.e. Monterey) pine with meranti strips in the lid. The pine is all offcuts from the student projects, but the meranti was cut specifically.

The joints are simple rebate joints that were made first as housing joints (using a router and a jig that I made) before cutting the waste ends off. The front, back and sides were also rebated on a router table to take the top and bottom. As you can see, the rebate for the top was (deliberately) not as deep as for the bottom as I wanted to give the impression of the strips being inlaid – when you look from the outside at least. All joints were simply glued and clamped.

The lid was separated from the base using the table saw (mine at home because it’s not worth my job to remove the guard at school) and this technique provided much entertainment. Both before I made the cuts and even after, but before I used the box cutter to complete the separation, I had a variety of students speculating about how to open the box! It made them think at least.

One of the students who built a cabinet, wished to do a large chamfer around the top, so I acquired a large chamfer router bit for the workshop that I made good use of for the lid of the box. It is an idea that I have wanted to try ever since I made my box with the inlaid lid, and I like the result. I also lightly chamfered the corners of the box as well as around the lid and the top of the base.

As you can see, I used piano hinge on this because I thought it would be a good choice for one of my students, plus it was a new experience for me. My thanks here go to Boxguy for his blog on piano hinges and for responding to a question that I asked. I had to do it a bit differently to the way that he suggests, but he was still a big help.

The finish on this box is nothing to boast about. It is a water-based varnish but the sanding was a bit rough and rushed so I was never going to get it right. I needed to get the box finished though as I finish off with the school next week.

I have added a chain to hold the top open since taking these photographs.

The box is to be given to the school to be used in its fund raising efforts next year.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

10 comments so far

View Ivan's profile (online now)


15039 posts in 3372 days

#1 posted 12-07-2012 01:55 PM

Realy beautiful box

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View HorizontalMike's profile


7797 posts in 3418 days

#2 posted 12-07-2012 02:10 PM

Wow! I have seriously thought about making a coffee table top with the tick-tak-toe design. You took this design to a new and higher level. Very nice!

BTW, I was thinking of going the inlay route.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3541 days

#3 posted 12-07-2012 03:46 PM

Splendid example for your students. I like the ‘inverted’ lid lift idea. Never used it myself but I can’t think why. Its also good to see new people getting interested in box making. My one abiding fear is that it may some day die out as a craft.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Ken90712's profile


17739 posts in 3693 days

#4 posted 12-07-2012 05:15 PM

Very clean, nice work

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 3006 days

#5 posted 12-08-2012 12:06 AM

Thank you Gentlemen

Mike, I also considered doing it as an inlay – after I’d done it this way! I think it would be good to do so I’m sure it will find its way onto a future box. In the mean time, just glueing strips of wood together more closely matched what the students were doing (they are only in Year 9) so it was a good choice for this box.

Martyn, I quite like the lift too. Many boxes that I have seen seem to do this with a sanding drum on the drill press, but I didn’t have one so I just used a cove bit on the router table. I needed to set up stops on the fence, but I’d already done that to set the piano hinge so it was easy. That did find its way into one of the student’s boxes, and I reckon it is something that I will do again.

I like boxes too so as soon as the students said they were not keen to make a cabinet, I was quick to jump in and suggest that they make a box.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3195 days

#6 posted 12-08-2012 02:09 AM

That is a great box that utilized a lot of different techniques to build. Looks like a wonderful teaching project to me.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View NormG's profile


6441 posts in 3508 days

#7 posted 12-08-2012 02:22 AM

Nicely done, I am sure they will learn many new tips

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3487 days

#8 posted 12-08-2012 07:16 AM

nice looking box and went to a good cause

View kiefer's profile


5680 posts in 3171 days

#9 posted 12-08-2012 03:38 PM

That is a nicely crafted box and I am glad you take the time to teach .
Challenging the students with different techniques will keep there interest and stay involved .
Great stuff and thanks for the post ,appreciate it !

-- Kiefer

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3309 days

#10 posted 12-09-2012 12:03 PM

Nice design, nice build, and nice wood combos

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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