Box lid edges not square.

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Forum topic by Gmw76 posted 01-27-2020 10:20 PM 444 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Gmw76's profile


4 posts in 31 days

01-27-2020 10:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: box lid sanding


Firstly I am new to the website but have found the community and information excellent from the distant UK.

I am teaching myself box making and finishing from books and the web.

I am just completing a maple and walnut musical box with mitred and splined edges. I have cut off the lid on a table saw whilst supporting the open kerf. I then used flat surface sandpaper on the bench and cleaned the cut edges. Once cleaned on both box and lid I offered them up to find that my edges had dipped at the corners on both lid and box. Could my action of moving backwards and forwards on the flat bench top sandpaper have caused this? Unfortunately I went to clean edges before offering up straight from the table saw so can’t totally rule that out.
Has anyone come across a similar issue from bench sanding?

Many thanks

-- Mark. Lancashire UK

13 replies so far

View LesB's profile


2364 posts in 4083 days

#1 posted 01-27-2020 10:34 PM

It does sound like you got things out of level… happens. It is possible it slipped a little while cutting also.
If you made the cut off on a table saw I would suggest you adjust the fence re-cut the edges taking just enough wood off to flatten them out.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Madmark2's profile


848 posts in 1228 days

#2 posted 01-27-2020 10:40 PM

Yes. What you described can be caused by uneven sanding. However it is more likely that the box shifted at the end of the last cut. After you make each of the cuts put a piece of masking tape over the kerf. This will maintain the kerf spacing at the end of the last cut.


-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Gmw76's profile


4 posts in 31 days

#3 posted 01-27-2020 11:40 PM

Thanks guys.I am suspecting sanding action as all 4 corners are affected. This is not severe but in the search for improvement I will put a straight edge on my next box prior to sanding. I will post some pictures soon when I get to grips with uploading images


-- Mark. Lancashire UK

View 489tad's profile


3769 posts in 3651 days

#4 posted 01-28-2020 12:24 AM

If your sandpaper is not adhered to the flat surface it can cause the edges to be sanded unevenly.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Aj2's profile


2696 posts in 2438 days

#5 posted 01-28-2020 01:14 AM

How certain are you that your sandpaper was on a flat surface. That where I’d check before I offered up another box to it.
I also agree with 489 loose sandpaper will do mess up your corners.

-- Aj

View Rich's profile


5247 posts in 1229 days

#6 posted 01-28-2020 01:32 AM

It’s likely that as you moved the pieces over the sandpaper, they rocked ever so slightly. I’ve found that rotating the piece back and forth on the paper, versus moving it around on the paper, is the easiest to control.

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

View Gmw76's profile


4 posts in 31 days

#7 posted 01-28-2020 09:08 PM

Thanks guys. Sandpaper was not stuck down but loose on a flat surface. I carried out a forward and backward motion to sand. Starting to suspect this is the error of my ways. Thanks for taking time to help.
Happy with my first box. I will post more when musical movement fitted.

-- Mark. Lancashire UK

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


846 posts in 187 days

#8 posted 01-28-2020 09:17 PM

Spraymount the sandpaper sheets to a truly flat surface like mdf, and use a circular motion for the sanding. I always count, like ten circles to the right, ten to the left, then spin the box 180º and repeat until all is level, square.

I use A4 size, cloth backed sandpaper. 2 sheets, edge to edge lengthwise spraymounted to the board. I have 80ºgrit on one side of the board, and 120ºgrit on the other side. This is a good way to clean up the flats of the stock before gluing. Also a good way to do edge chamfers, and roundovers. Always counting, so everything gets the exact same number of passes.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: If you tell the truth, you dont have to remember anything (S. Clemens) Edit: Now where is that darn pencil/ tape measure!

View ibewjon's profile


1248 posts in 3433 days

#9 posted 01-28-2020 10:01 PM

Nice box. Most people won’t notice the slight gap, be are always hard on ourselves.

View Fiver's profile


71 posts in 42 days

#10 posted 01-29-2020 03:50 PM

Nice box. Most people won t notice the slight gap, be are always hard on ourselves.

- ibewjon

Exact thing I was thinking. That’s a gorgeous box. IMO, don’t go overboard on trying to correct something pretty much no one aside from you would notice. I speak from experience and multiple failed attempts to rectify something that was ultimately fine to begin with.

-- Matt - Colorado

View Quadrophenia's profile


11 posts in 35 days

#11 posted 01-29-2020 04:00 PM

I can’t tell you how many times my wife has said “I never would have noticed that …..fill in the huge error in our eyes…... if you hadn’t told me”.

Conversely, I have seen her literally clip and pull every stitch from a quilt because there was something “wrong” that I couldn’t see.

That’s a beautiful box.

That all being said, those are some nice suggestions for myself going forward as well.

View Charlie H.'s profile

Charlie H.

400 posts in 1290 days

#12 posted 01-29-2020 07:37 PM

Depending on how you feel about square edges vs beveled or rounded edges … a bevel or round over where the lid mates to the box enhances (hides) minor fit issues and creates a shadow line around the box.
A bevel or roundover on the bottom edge of the box creates a shadow line that helps the box blend into what ever it is sitting on.

I put a minimum 1/8” roundover on all the edges of my boxes to enhance squareness and for the soft feel to touch.

-- Regards, Charlie in Rowlett, TX --------I talk to myself, because sometimes I need expert advice.---------

View Gmw76's profile


4 posts in 31 days

#13 posted 01-30-2020 12:29 AM

Guys thank you so much for the comments and words of encouragement. I will sand flat on my next box which will include a learning curve on barrel hinges.
I recently completed a bluetooth speaker in walnut and maple and prior to that built a valve amplifier circuit and housed it in a walnut and granite case. I have done a few turntable re veneers so the combination of wood and electronics interests me.

-- Mark. Lancashire UK

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