Today’s project is a basic box. Knowing how to make a box is a very useful and even necessary woodworking skill. Honestly most projects, including all kinds of furniture, are just a variation on the basic box. So let’s get started . . .
I’m using basic 3/4″ lumber for this box today. First, cut the pieces – four sides, the top and the bottom. Rip to size by first cleaning up one edge, then cutting the other edge to the desired width.
Shave the edges of the lid pieces to straighten, then glue together. Gently clamp to dry. Do not tighten the clamps too much.
In my project, the boards were starting to warp. In this case, I use strips of wood coated with packing tape to keep the glue from sticking to it, and clamp both ends of the boards. It’s a lot of clamps for a little project, but each one is necessary.
Now it’s time for the rabbet joints. Lower your table saw blade so that it is only half the width of your board. Place a “sacrificial board” against the rip fence, so it can be used against the blade.
We are also going to be using the miter guide for making rabbets, but please note that you DO NOT want to use the rip fence and the miter blade together if you are doing straight cross cuts.
To make the rabbets on the sides, start at the edge of the board and make multiple cuts until you reach the rip fence.
To make the rabbets for the bottom of the box (along the length of the boards), start with the rip fence against the saw blade, and slowly move it out to the desired measurement.
Measure your board against the bottom piece to get a nice clean fit.
Now it’s time to fit the boards together. I recommend a strap clamp for this – it will be well worth the money. However, bar clamps will work if that’s what you have.
Measure the bottom board directly against your box. I just make a pencil mark instead of using a measuring tape.
Glue the sides and the bottom together at the same time, to keep everything square.
Clamp to dry, again taking care not to tighten the clamps very much.
When the glue is dry, remove the clamps and measure for your lid.
I use a piece of sandpaper glued to a paint stick for sanding dados and rabbet joints.
And now you’ve made a basic box, and have the basic skills to make countless other projects. Great job!