Small box Q

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Forum topic by unclearthur posted 04-23-2019 01:27 AM 511 views 1 time favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View unclearthur's profile


383 posts in 2871 days

04-23-2019 01:27 AM

Hi all. I was looking at tissue boxes on LJ, which of course have a lid that doesn’t open, like this one:

or this one:

or this one:

2 questions:

1) the lids seem to be glued all the way around ….. any problem with wood movement? Or can just ignore because of the small dimensions?

2) For the first box above, with the dovetailed sides, I assume you glue the sides together and then the top on as a later step. Is that right? Is there a particular technique for getting all 4top edges of the sides perfectly flat / square / flush after glue up, so that there are zero gaps between the sides and the lid? The above boxes all look perfect.

Thanks for any responses.

4 replies so far

View therealSteveN's profile


7692 posts in 1657 days

#1 posted 04-23-2019 10:18 AM

Generally if you are using smallish pieces of wood to make the box, they aren’t wide like a table top where you truly start making active plans to eliminate possibilities of movement.

If you had a real concern you could always set the top inset in a dado like with a drawer bottom.

For the second part of the question you are dealing again with smaller pieces, no similar problem with squaring as you would with larger pieces like with a carcass for larger furniture. If one corner is good, usually it will be good on all corners.

Many boxes are made with both top and bottom either glued on directly, or inset into a dado for both, then the lid is sawn free. In your case you could view the bottom as your top, you want the bottom open.

-- Think safe, be safe

View LittleShaver's profile


752 posts in 1703 days

#2 posted 04-23-2019 12:53 PM

You can make your lid slightly oversize and then flush it up to the sides after glue up. Saves a lot of glue up stress.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Rich's profile


6840 posts in 1672 days

#3 posted 04-23-2019 03:38 PM

I’ve built dozens of those. They are a very popular item and sell well. I’ve never had an issue with wood movement. I do build them from mesquite, which has a low shrinkage ratio.

Regarding getting the top flat, the easiest thing to do is to take a piece of 3/4” MDF and glue a sheet of sandpaper to it. For that, around 100 grit should work well. I use Scotch 77 spray glue to attach it. When your box is glued up, just set it on the paper top down and sand away. Try to avoid tipping it or putting more pressure on one side. That will get it ready to glue the top on, and be sure to clamp it firmly when you do so there aren’t any gaps.

I cut the top 1/8” larger in each direction than the box and then use a flush cutting bit to trim it and then round it over.

On the miters, some I do with a miter cut and reinforced with splines, and others I do with a lock miter bit. The splines are the most popular.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View unclearthur's profile


383 posts in 2871 days

#4 posted 04-23-2019 09:02 PM

Thanks very much.

@Rich – beautiful boxes.

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