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Some Little Boxes...

3057 Views 19 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  challagan
A few little boxes entered into the latest contest. Most of the photos didn't turn out... batteries I suspect.

The top right box is Cherry with a crotch walnut panel in the lid, lined with mitered walnut interior and mitered keys and has a velvet panel on the bottom. Lift of lid.
The lower right box is mahogany with a spalted maple top, lined with mitered maple and has maple mitered keys. Lift off lid.
The lower left is maple with a crotch walnut panel and walnut mitered keys, maple interior with blue velvet panel on the bottom. This one has slotted hinges. Also has a nice piece of lint that showed up in the photos! Thanks for looking!

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Awesome Corey.... Just don't ask me to pick a favorite one out of those :)

Great job and you just keep tempting me to make my first one.
Thanks Bob, mine is actually the Cherry. The stock was already pretty dark and the finished darkened it even more. I like it with the crotch walnut. Bob, just get out there and mess around, even if you use butt joints and nail it.... make a box, they are fun to make. Don't you have the box joint jigs from Bob and Rick? Man they are easy to use and set up bud. Go have some fun! Thanks again,

Very nice corey, thanks for sharing :)
Thanks Mark!

Great job. I know what you mean about making boxes. I just finish one for my daughter. It was a Christmas gift.
Love your selection of wood.
Thanks Rolf, they are fun to make aren't they. So many things you can do!

Great work, Corey! A box is my next project and if I can get anywhere near yours I'll be rapt!
I have one question about boxes (in general) Is it easier to cut the 4 sides, spline/box joint them then use a bandsaw/table saw to cut the lid off...and then roundover/bevel etc the edges?

Hope I explained myself, but I think I've seen them done this way (maybe even on Bob and Ricks' show).

And I hope when I make some they turn out that good.....I'll even settle for not quite as good...
Yes, it is easier to build the box and cut the lid off. Here is a helpful tip: Set your blade just high enough to cut through the material. Saw both ends and then one side and stop. Insert a shim the thickness of your saw blade into the slot you have created and clamp it in place. Now make your final cut and the shim prevents the lid from shifting and distorting the cut. Try this without the shim and it will pinch on the blade and ruin your edge everytime.
I don't have a band saw so I use the table saw and cut in the same manner Mike says only I cut both ends and then put splines in the ends and cut both sides. Mike will it not pinch when you cut the first long side? I saw Bob and Rick cut them in to using the router table and a slotting cutter. Need to get me one of them boys! Seems like that is a better way to do it then the table saw.

Hi Corey
Nice boxes by the way :) :)

If you are going to get a slot cutter take a hard look at the one below 1st. it's a bit high in price ,at 30.oo bucks plus But man it's worth it.
It will cut a box in to like a champ, 1/8" cut and it will do 3/4" thick unlike the slot cutter.
Plus you can use it for glass panel doors. :)
The band saw works great also until the box gets over 6" wide :(.
But now you have the arbor for saw blades all you need is a zero insert plate for your router table fence.

Slot Cutter-Glass panel Set (slot bit only)

Bj :)
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That looks like a nice cutter. Pefect for glass panels in jewelry cabs. Bj, you think that arbor saw will work ok for cutting boxes in to? I never thought about using that!

Hi Corey

Yep, sure will you just need to make a add on fence for your router table
and just use a clamp or two to hold it in place when you remove the top of the box, I would use the blade from HD that we spoke about ,that's 3 3/8" dia. carb.tip and it's 1/32 thick, I use vinyl top stock to fit in the cut then just a bit of tape to hold it in on the short ends then cut the long sides.
Works like a champ :) I use a big push block 3" x 6" x 6" so I don't put any down force on the box when I make the pass.

Some will say just use the table saw, this can be tricky at best, on the router table you are in full control of the box and the cut, I know you said you use the band saw, once you do it this way you will do all your boxes this way :) plus the cut comes out true and clean and right on the button and you don't need to sand the box to get to fit just right.

Like the one below

You will also see a spline slot jig below

Bj :)


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Hi Kenadian, I'm normally in the routing section but noticed you're query regarding the order of things. The box shown in one of my posts in " hello from down under" was a departure from all my previous boxes in as much as I made it as a sealed coffin and I used splines for the first time. Prior to glue-up I routed a groove about 3/4" into all four sides the centre of this groove to be the separation point,so that after cutting on the band saw (no problem with the saw table) the box half of the rebate had strips glued in which fit into the lid. After glue-up I made the "jig" shown and cut the slots, if thicker splines are required simply move the fence after each set of four. I have never been taught how to do splines so this was MY answer. Course abrasive paper on the slope prevents movement. Safety seemed no problem. I should like you experts to jump in and tell me how splines are normally cut. Harry in Perth Western Australia where it is a little after 6.00pm and the temperature is 40degc!


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Hi Harry. I cut my splines on the table as well. I made my jig from a 2 x 4. I cut 2 8 inch long sections and put a miter on each end. Then arrange the 2 x 4's so that the miterered ends are both in the middle and form a V Then I glued and screwed ( us fairly small screws place screws strategically so they won't get cut by saw) a piece of plywood to the side of the 2 x 4's to join it all together and the plywood acts as a straight edge for the fence. Sit the box into the v. Much like what you are doing only my jig has a corresponding piece in the front and a fence to hold it all together.

Splines are also called keys. The next time Corey builds one of these jigs he will simply mark a line on his plywood at 30 degrees and attach his first board with glue and screws and then using a square attach the second board the same way, letting it hang over the end of the plywood. A quick pass on the table saw and the jig is ready for action. Why 30 degrees? Because the resulting complimentary angle will be 15 degrees. One edge longer than the other. This introduces variety into your splines or keys for a different look. What if you flipped the box around for every other cut? A staggered appearance. Tilting the saw blade? You would get chevrons. How about making an angled cut, glueing in the spline and then reversing the box and repeating? You can create a square or diamond shape surrounded with your spline or key. Hmm, lots of variety! Holy smokes! What if I used this jig on my ROUTER table? I could use a dovetail bit for bow tie shapes, create wide and narrow splines by changing bit sizes... the sky is the limit! Great ideas Corey!
Here is a link to a PDF of the jig:
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Just one more way to put in keys/splines but this one is for the router table

Put the box on the jig make one pass with the bottom of the box is down and then flip the box over and make one more pass with the top is down on the jig, then move the bit up in the router table and do the same thing again.

You can also put in 4 to 6 slots at one time or to say with one pass by using the router bit below.

When you use a bit like the one below
Or you can use this type (standard slot cutters)
from 3/32" to 1/4"

You can also put on two 1/4" slot cutters on a standard arbor, that can save some time also,when you use the arbor below ▼
see link below for the arbor
SET #318 for 1/4" shank

I made a arbor that will take on 8ea. 1/4" slot cutters at one time when I need to do a tall box, I can put in a spacer or a bearing to get the slot set for 1/2" or more (from slot to slot).

The slot cutter is just a fast way to do the job.
This is a safe way to put in slots and you are in total control of the cut/slot in small boxes less than 4" tall. :)

Bj :)


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So there is no confusion over BJ's comment: "This is a safe way to put in slots and you are in total control of the cut/slot." The jig I posted is safe since it keeps your hands well away from the cutter. It is guided by your fence so it is easy to control. This is similar to Bob and Ricks method of making angle cuts. I didn't want anyone getting the impression I would post an unsafe or uncontrollable jig.
Mike, great tips, some I hadn't thought about. My jig is just a tad different but the same idea. On mine the boards 2 x 4's lay flat on the table. Both are very safe to use on both the table saw and this is safe to use router table. Bj's jig is another method of putting keys in and is similar to the way box maker Doug Stowe makes his keys on his boxes. Good info all around guys!

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