Packing Box Mod

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Project by Speakgeek posted 01-05-2014 02:24 PM 1893 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I love building boxes, especially boxes with a purpose. This is my version of the “packing box” that I read about in The Joiner and Cabinetmaker. Now I didn’t follow the same process as described in the book to build it. I deviated a lot: I glued the panels together, used screws in the cross stretchers, hand cut through dovetails. The one thing I love about woodworking is being able to add my own style or favorite techniques when building something. Its not about following directions to build a replica, its about doing something I love.

The box is made out of maple and is finished with GF Arm-R-Seal Urethane Topcoat (i.e wiping varnish). I added a full mortise lock and tee hinges to morph this into somewhat of a “lock box”. Some thoughts I had about making this, the cross stretchers are important even if you glue the individuals boards of the panel together. My lid kept wanting to cup when I took off the cross stretchers during the finishing process. Once all my coats of finish were applied and dried, I add the cross stretchers back and most of the cup disappeared. I also discovered that I don’t like the Tee hinges when used on the inside surface of a box, I’ll stick to normal butt hinges in the future. Also don’t cheap out on the lock hardware. The full mortise lock I used was of the $12 variety and leaves a lot to be desired. The locking action isn’t smooth and likes to bind up. There is a reason why premium locks cost $50 or more.

5 comments so far

View Josh's profile


1234 posts in 3492 days

#1 posted 01-05-2014 03:20 PM

No surprise that the lid was cupping even if you switched grain. Wood is like that. As an artist, I think wood is the most desirable medium. Your packing box is really nice. The hand-cut dovetails look great from these angles. Nice work. The locking mechanism classes it up, too, even if it does leave a lot to be desired. I am also a sucker for boxes so I appreciate them above other projects.

Keep it up and you need to show us more stuff!

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View bonobo's profile


304 posts in 2979 days

#2 posted 01-05-2014 04:24 PM

Nice job. This looks like an antique packing box I saw on my local Craig’s list except that in addition to the strap hinges, it also had drop handles (and stenciling to show that it was a crate for reference books for the Canadian geographic survey in the 1800s)

-- “The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” ― Mark Twain

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3876 days

#3 posted 01-05-2014 05:04 PM

Kind of a cool idea, actually. But, you’re right about the hinges. LOL

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Reverse_Pivot's profile


48 posts in 2742 days

#4 posted 01-06-2014 07:21 PM

Nice dovetails!

-- -Tim

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3098 days

#5 posted 01-09-2014 02:21 PM

Cool looking box! Like the design and the dovetails are perfect. Great job!

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