Tambour Box

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Project by arudson posted 02-13-2014 03:59 AM 2648 views 12 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I stumbled upon the plans and an instructional video for this Tambour box online and thought it would be a fun build – and it was! It turns out that the original plans were published in the April 2011 Issue of Woodworker’s Journal and has been made by many LumberJocks.

My box was made from cherry and maple for the drawer sides. Some LJ’s have commented about difficulties with the instructions but I found them to be clear and correct. Perhaps the online plans have been improved from what was originally published? There were one or two router bit sizes that seemed odd, as if diameters were cited when the size was really radii. Also, some folks found that the drawer would bind or that the force to open the drawer and raise the tambour lid was too great for one handed operation. Perhaps I got lucky because my box works great and after installing just simple low profile rubber pads on the bottom it stays in place perfectly and requires little effort.

I stayed pretty true to the plans. I went with the suggested half blind dovetails on the drawers. This was my first attempt at hand cut dovetails and I rushed things, was careless in my measuring and cutting and really made a mess of them. Fortunately, I was able to fill the >1/16” gaps with putty and short of looking real close all looks good.

I saved on some of the template routing by cutting the grooves on the side pieces using my Joes 2006 CNC machine. It took me about an hour to do up the plan and produce the G-Code and probably just 15 minutes to run it on the machine. The biggest benefit here may be if I decide to make another; the hard work has already been done. I also used my CNC machine to scratch horizontal lines as markers for the biscuit locations. In hindsight, I should have tied to use my CNC machine to cut the actual biscuit slots – while I have never done this by CNC before, cutting the slots on the side pieces using my biscuit jointer was probably the most awkward part of this whole build.

This project requires many pieces of non-conventional thickness. Recent upgrades to my Delta 14” bandsaw (1.5 hp motor, Carter guides and tires, Wood Slicer blade) made resawing 4/4 stock a jiff. I really would not recommend starting on this project if resawing is an issue – the alternative would have a lot of wood turned into dust at the thickness planer.

Click on the picture below for a link to a short YouTube video of the completed project.

This was a fun woodworking project with good results. Give it a try…

13 comments so far

View jordanp's profile


1086 posts in 3178 days

#1 posted 02-13-2014 04:49 AM

Love the contrast in the wood you used..
Your joinery is spot on.. good work..

-- J. Palmer Woodworks - Rockwall TX -I woke up this morning thinking “man, I really hope someone posted some soul scarring sh*t on LJs today.” -- - Billy

View degoose's profile


7284 posts in 4592 days

#2 posted 02-13-2014 07:54 AM

Fantastic job.. this one is one my list for my CNC….routing the tracks will be a breeze I hope…

-- Be safe.

View obi999's profile


213 posts in 4646 days

#3 posted 02-13-2014 08:26 AM

Beautiful wood and and perfect job. Like this very much and set it on my list of (too many) projects i plan to build in the future.
Thank you very much for sharing and for adding the video!

-- *** the german lumberjock ***

View msurvilo's profile


45 posts in 2803 days

#4 posted 02-13-2014 09:10 AM

This is awesome! Definitely on my to do list. Really nice work on the drawer pull. Love the sharp edges.

-- Matt, California.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30644 posts in 3576 days

#5 posted 02-13-2014 09:52 AM

Really awesome job

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View clarkey's profile


468 posts in 4294 days

#6 posted 02-13-2014 01:55 PM

Now that is really cool !

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5120 days

#7 posted 02-13-2014 02:05 PM

Very nice.
I always loved this design. I never thought of cutting the parts on the CNC. Good for you.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Bobsboxes's profile


1673 posts in 3902 days

#8 posted 02-13-2014 03:09 PM

I also admired these boxes, very well done.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View hoss12992's profile


4180 posts in 3131 days

#9 posted 02-13-2014 04:02 PM

That is awesome! Love the contrasting of the woods. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3862 days

#10 posted 02-13-2014 04:36 PM

A fine job on this tambor box. Ive made a couple of these. They really are a fun build.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 3109 days

#11 posted 02-13-2014 08:03 PM

Beautiful, I want it on my desk!

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Ivan's profile


16999 posts in 4105 days

#12 posted 02-14-2014 05:33 AM

Beautiful design, dovetail drawer is magnificant deatil to that box.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View BanjoChris's profile


104 posts in 2921 days

#13 posted 02-14-2014 12:23 PM

Well done!!!

Thanks for sharing!


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