Picture of Bandsaw Box Basics
Bandsaw boxes are not new, but they are not very common in some regions. While bandsaw boxes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, I’m writing this Instructable for a box made from a section of log that is about 10 inches tall and about 6-8 inches in diameter. I’m using red cedar for this box, but I’ve made them out of oak, mesquite, pecan, and pine. The main difference in these species is the effort required to make the various cuts.
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Step 1: Getting Started

Picture of Getting Started
Step 0 splitting sapwood.JPG
Step 0 Woodstove.JPG
Step 0 naked logs.JPG
Your list of supplies needed for producing bandsaw boxes is pretty simple:
• Section of a log
• Glue
• Sandpaper (various grits starting at 80 and working up to 120 or more – depending upon the type of finish you intend to apply to the wood)
• Finish material. Depending upon the wood and the look I want to achieve I’ll use Danish Oil (neutral) or diluted polyurethane varnish.

The list of tools you will need is also pretty short:
• Bandsaw capable of cutting your log section from any angle. I use a 14” bandsaw with a 6” riser block. This allows me to slice wood that is up to 12” thick.
• Two bandsaw blades, one wide and one narrow. I typically use a 5/8” blade for the rough slicing of slabs and a 1/8” or 3/16” blade for cutting the curves.
• A sander (I use a 5” random orbital palm sander)
• A Dremel tool with a sanding drum attachment.
• A variety of clamps for the re-assembly process.

Because my customer for this box wanted only cedar heartwood, I had to split off the sapwood. If you look at the first photos you will see the heartwood of this log is a distinctive red color. The sapwood is white. Because this is cedar, the wood splits easily. I use a 1 inch wide chisel and a mallet to split the sapwood from the log.

The sapwood and bark are saved for fire starters. Yes, I feed my wood stove my scraps. The nice thing about working with wood is any mistake can feed the stove and nobody has to know how badly I messed up my first (or second) attempt.

Once the sapwood is mostly removed I’m ready to lay out the cuts I intend to make.
MCSEVA1 year ago
Where do you DL the sketch/diagram/drawings/cut out, of the projects? Me so confused////
Laser283 years ago
Great piece of work. Just ordered the 6" riser for my bandsaw. Is there one particular blade Mfg that you prefer.
malsonc (author)  Laser283 years ago
I hope you enjoy your riser block! It certainly extends the capability of your bandsaw.

As far as blades go, I've experimented with about a dozen different Manufacturers and have yet to pick a favorite. I do recommend a low tooth count like between 3 and 5. Make sure the teeth are hooked to help clean out the long kerf you are likely to encounter. Regular triangular teeth seem to build up more sawdust in the cut and jam - especially if you are making a 12" deep cut!

Try Timber Wolf or some other quality blade for longer life. I have also gotten decent performance out of generic no-name blades, but they don't last as long as the better quality ones do.

Good luck! Thanks for asking!
Aaronius3 years ago
Fantastic box and instructable. Thank you!
malsonc (author)  Aaronius3 years ago
Thank you for you kind comments. If you ever attempt to do your own version, please post photos of your results!
triumphman3 years ago
Don't you love the smell of the Cedar ? I do! It fills my basement woodshop with a great smell too. The trees that die on my property are re-born as wonderful gifts. I am thankful for them! I just found six tall ones that died years ago. I cut them down, trimmed the branches, and built a Teepee frame. 18 feet high and forty feet around. I'm still searching for a suitable & affordable cover for it. Its on my wishlist! Nice work, be safe, seek Peace & Joy. Triumphman.
triumphman3 years ago
Nice job. I have an 'ible on a similar three drawer jewelery box made of red cedar. Check it out. Cedar is great wood to work with, smells nice too and is a natural moth repellent. I even made some tiny boxes with hidden hinged lids. See picture attached. These little boxes are challenging, but make great gifts. A pair of earrings fits inside, barely. Keep that bandsaw blade hummin' !
sycamorebox.jpgvarnished box.JPGbox with felt drawers.JPG
malsonc (author)  triumphman3 years ago
Those are wonderful! I always enjoy seeing the creativity and craftsmanship of others. Thanks for sharing - Keep up the good work!
Winterhawk4 years ago
Wow Chuck, I always knew you were an artist and master woodworker, but you are also an excellent instructor! Thanks for the lucid, simple, logical step by step instructions to make a complicated process seem doable to the average wood butcher such as I. The boxes are beautiful, but I expected nothing less from you!
malsonc (author)  Winterhawk4 years ago
Thanks Jim! I wish I had some of your skill as a "wood butcher". Thank you for the compliment. I've got several other projects in mind for Instructables. I just need to clear some more time to get back out into the shop. If you're ever out in my area you ought to stop by.

Speaking of dull tools, you might consider doing an instructional on sharpening! I never knew anyone who does it better!
malsonc (author)  Winterhawk4 years ago
Jim, if you come visit you are more than welcome to bring every edged article you want sharpened with you! The same rules as the last time apply, however - if you cut yourself it is your own fault! :-) Yes, I'm about ready for a day of sharpening. I'll see if I can work it into a suitable Instructable.

Chuck, you know I live in the land of "Someday Isle!" You know that story. Someday I'll get by there...Maybe, one day, I hope. Say, if I do can I bring my knives and chisels? They are getting pretty dull... ;-)
thenickp4 years ago
Excellent, excellent job. I have always been drawn to such beautiful things that help to give our precious trees "life" for many, many years to come. Thank you for what is obviously a labor of love. Very well explained, documented... great pictorials. I very much look forward to "bringing my first piece to life"... thank you again.
malsonc (author)  thenickp4 years ago
Thank you very much. Yes, working with wood is a labor of love as well as how I currently make my living. I would be more than eager to see your own efforts. Post a photo when you get a chance.

I'll do that. Thanks again for sharing your art!
foobear4 years ago
neat! I wish I had a bandsaw! what sort of glue did you use?
malsonc (author)  foobear4 years ago
I use regular woodworking glue. Right now I have Gorilla woodworking glue in the shop, so that is what I use. This is NOT the polyurethane glue that foams up, this is more like Elmer's White glue - just a little more resiliant.

Thanks for looking at my Instructable.
Hisart4 years ago
Beautiful job!
Do you leave any of the cedar open?
malsonc (author)  Hisart4 years ago
Hello - Thank you for the compliment. Yes, I sometimes leave the tray and the drawer unfinished to allow the cedar oils to escape naturally. On these boxes I did not because the customer wanted all of it finished with Danish Oil.

Another reason to finish the entire piece when it is made from a log is to slow or halt the drying process. The wood will crack and split as it dries unless it has been totally sealed.

Thanks again!
Beautiful. I love the grain pattern on the star, I'm assuming that you pieced it together
malsonc (author)  cdawisconsin4 years ago
Actually the star is a single, solid piece. It was cut from the center section of the frame. The same thing with the horse head. I DID carve the angles on the star in order to give it a little more dimension - just as I did with the horse head. I also try to put the drawer pulls back in the same location as they were on the solid log, although you can rarely tell it unless there is a knot involved.

Thanks for looking at my Instructable.
canida4 years ago
Beautiful work, and I love the color!
malsonc (author)  canida4 years ago
Thank you. I wish I could claim credit, but Mother Nature is a much better artist than am I.