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Can I rout a lip around a box base and lid after they have been glued up?

2435 Views 22 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  RogerBean
I'm interested in making a keepsake box from thin lumber by gluing up a six sided cube then sawing it apart to create a base and a lid. I would then like to rout a lip or ledge around the top of the base and a matching one around the bottom of the lid to make them fit nicely together.

Rectangle Font Parallel Slope Symmetry

I anticipate that the routing around the bottom would be no problem, since it is on the exterior. But how would I do the top?


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Rabbet bit plus chisel to square the inside corners. Just be careful because if you aren't paying attention that will put your hands right over the bit as you're rabbeting the lid with just a thin piece of wood between your fingers and the cutters.
Harvey, I'm not sure of your question. Are you asking if you should square the corners of the lid vs. rounding the corners of the bottom for a custom fit ? I assume you plan to maintain sufficent lip to the edge of the top when you cut the top and bottom apart. ..Or are you asking if your method is advisable ?
Yonak, I'd like to keep both lips square. Easy enough to do on the base, as it is an exterior rout that can be done in straight passes. I can't see how to do it on the lid since it is an interior rout.
I would try a rabbit bit with a guide bearing in a router table.. clean up corners with a chisel. You could probably get away with using the router free handed, but it would be tricky.

There is a way to do the rabbets before you build the box. I am trying to find the article for you.

Essentially you do the rabbets first (inside on top and outside on bottom)and then when you build the box you embed the top near the bottom of the box, with the bottom above it and then do the seperation cut between the top (lid) and the bottom.

I know I may not be making much sense and am posting on an iPad so i can't draw this right now.

If you can do this it will be much safer and more accurate because you use a router table and can do test cuts first.

Your corners will be square as well. No chisel needed using this method.
Ill keep looking for this online. PM me if you want to discuss, ill give u my cell #.
like everyone said, but make sure you put a piece of wood backing up each edge for your outside rabbeting, because as you come out, it will want to rip the joint apart. so clamp a piece to the box so when you come out you have a backer.
+1 RockyTop.....I think the guys from the Woodsmith Shop did an episode on this technique if that helps your search
Yeah kdc68. I found a Woodsmith tip that was ALMOST what I was trying to describe. I have done this technique and love the ease of it.

This isn't really what you asked, but I sometimes get the same effect by lining the inside walls of the bottom piece with four thin pieces of (matching or contrasting) wood. These are probably about 1/8" thick and wide enough to stand a little proud of the actual sides of the bottom. This will provide the "nesting" with the top that you want.

I miter the ends of the liner pieces at 45 deg to form a little four-sided box within the box bottom. If you sneak up on the fit and get it tight, no glue is needed to hold the liner in place.
Rectangle Font Parallel Slope Pattern


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Maybe this rudimentary cut away drawing helps
Thanks. Could you give me a link or a reference for the Woodsmith tip?

I applaud the cleverness of your drawing…but it doesn't really work for the box I'm currently planning because I hope to preserve the rather spectacular figure in the boards I'm using.
RockyTop .....That's it !!!!!!!!!.....Great minds think alike eh?
Easist way I know how to do it if I am not using hinges.
I have done six sided boxes just like you describe using both techniques: route with a bearing rabbet bit after cutting the top off or cutting a dado on all the pieces before building the box, and the splitting the dado when you cut the lid off. Both methods work but the second is easier in my hands because there is no hand chisel work to do.

If you do the bearing guided bit make sure your top is cut deep enough to accommodate the height of the bearing!
Can you explain how you assemble the box that has the dado on all the pieces before the glue up?
The dado is cut centered on your cut line to remove the top portion. Each board will have this dado across it in the same place. Then just glue it up like you normally would (I use tape to hold things together, then ratchet straps or band clamps).

I don't think I'm explaining this simple process very well (sorry). We need Rance or one of those Sketch Up gurus to do a pic for you! Then it would be clear.

I sent Rance a pm asking him for his magic pic.
I think what Andy is explaining is what RockyTopScott linked to with Woodsmith. Here's my drawing on it.

BTW-I'm showing a square box rather than hexagon, but they are both the same technique. It was just easier to draw the square. Oh, and you'd want a lid and base too, and the associated joinery for those.

Cut a plank 2' long for a 6" box. Then run a kerf down the length of the whole board:
Rectangle Automotive exterior Slope Parallel Bumper

Then cut it into 4 equal pieces and bevel the ends:
Rectangle Automotive exterior Fashion accessory Auto part Metal

Assemble the box(shown in xray mode):
Furniture Rectangle Parallel Transparency Line art

Turn it up on its edge and cut the lid off. The dark bar indicates where the new saw kerf will be positioned:
Furniture Table Rectangle Transparent material Pet supply

Here's a slightly different angle(also in xray). Note how the Right side of this new kerf just touches the Left side of the one you ripped down the whole board:
Rectangle Parallel Slope Transparency Font

I hope this helps. :)


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