Making boxes and woodworking go hand in hand. I can't imagine how many boxes I have made over the years in every conceivable size and configuration and it's interesting how many different ways there are to make a box that basically has 6 sides. Some are very simple while others are elaborate. I am always fascinated when I visit antique stores and swap meets to see all the different kinds of wooden boxes that show up and look at how they were built ... 

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I many ways this build is somewhat like those antique boxes I often look at ... nothing fancy, just a storage box that requires a specific size to fit in a specific location and that means a bit of custom woodworking ... 

 Since the critical factor in this box is the outside dimensions, I have some numbers to work with for the length, width, and height. Since it's a simple box I have found that I have just enough left over and recycled material that I can make this box from, so not only do I get to make something, I find a use for some of my leftover material.

The sides will be 3/4 inch plywood (formerly kitchen cabinet doors I purchased at a garage sale I believe) and some leftover 3/16 plywood from another project and both of these will come together and make a sturdy, but not to a heavy storage box.

 I started off trimming the ends to size and then cutting a rabbet in the sides of the plywood so that I could recess the plywood front and back into the ends, and when I add a bit of glue these sides will be held on very firmly.

Next, I cut the front and back of the box and did a dry fit ... it all fit together nicely.

Wood storage Box

Before I glue the sides together I ran a bead of glue and spread it around the inside of the rabbet on the ends of the box.  This is to "seal" the plywood because much of the glue will be absorbed into the end grain of the glue and will not hold firmly. To solve this we add a sealing coat to the plywood ... let it sit for 15 minutes or so, then put another coat of glue on that will be used for adhering the plywood and thus giving us a very good bond. 

I used 23 gauge pins to hold the plywood sides to the ends, then left them for about 20 minutes to bond together while I did other cuttings.

When I returned to the box, it was firmly adhered and nice and square.

With few alternatives for the bottom, I decided to use 1/2 x 1/2 strips along the bottom, again, glued and pinned to hold them. The bottom of the box would sit inside the box and on top of these perimeter strips and would add a lot to the strength of the box.

Next comes the top. I used the same size strips along the top, but this time I want the plywood top to sit on top the strips so the perimeter strips for the top need to be carefully positioned to allow for the plywood top to sit flush with the top of the sides of the box.

After all the sides are completed, again I left the box sit for about 20 minutes to allow the glue to set enough that I could run the box through my table saw to cut off the top. I set the blade distance at 3 inches and cut each side in sequence and making sure to tape up the last one before cutting to make sure the last cut stays firm all the way through the cut.

Scrap Wood Projects

The last task is to attach the hinges and the front clasps and I added a small piece of chain to the lid of the box so that when it is opened it doesn't flop back and bend of ruin the hinges of tear the screws out ... it's just a handy thing to add.

With the hardware added, the box is complete .. no paint, no finish just a basic storage box that will give years and years of service ... who knows, maybe someone in 100 years will be looking at it at a swap meet somewhere and wondering who made it ... 

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Copyright Colin Knecht 

Wooden Box Making / Scrap Wood Projects