Introduction: How to Make Apple Boxes
Apple boxes get tons of use in all sorts of fields relating to camera work. These are great for having talent sit on, stand on, setting props on or secure lighting fixtures or tri-pods. They also work really well around the home workshop for a place to sit or as a nice little step stool! My photographer friend asked me to build him a set and I choose to use 1/2" thick Baltic Birch plywood. It is a very nice grade of plywood and is has almost no defects or voids in the layers. I have seen people use 3/4" plywood before but the seems a bit on the heavy side.
If these are something you would want to make I have a short build video HERE and a free cultist w/ all the dimensions HERE. Thanks for checking it out and if you have any questions let me know in the comment section.
Step 1: Cut Pieces to Size
I started w/ 1/2" thick baltic birch plywood - this is a really high grade plywood w/ little imperfections and almost no voids - apple boxes are often used in photography, so I wanted to use something that would look great if it ended up in the photos - to save a little bit of money, a less expensive plywood could be used - a good chunk of this project is cutting plywood to size - if you don't own a table saw a circular saw could be used but a table saw makes it a heck of a lot easier - apple boxes traditionally have a 12" x 20" footprint
Step 2: Make the Pancake
the smallest apple box is an eighth apple, or more commonly known as a pancake - it is only 1" tall and isn't even technically a box - it is merely 2 pieces of 1/2" plywood glued together - using a 1/4" cove bit in my router I made voids in each end of both pieces - this way when the two came together it created and hand hold - this part is rather optional as a 1" box really doesn't need them - then it's just a matter of spreading some glue on both pieces and clamping it together - wide away any glue squeeze out w/ a damp rag to avoid having to scrape it off later
Step 3: Create Handles
Mark out locations to drill holes to create the handles - the 8" tall box gets four holes in each side - In my case I used a 1 1/4" forstner bit but any size between 3/4" and 1 1/2" should do just fine - draw lines connecting the holes and cut out w/ a scroll saw or what I used, a jigsaw - clean up the cuts with a file or sandpaper and round over the handles areas using a 1/4" round-over bit and a router - the use of a router in this step is optional but it does make the handles super comfy to hold onto - if you don't have a router hand sanding can smooth them out pretty good as well
Step 4: Box Assembly
I like to use a biscuit joiner to join all of my pieces together so no fasteners are visible - if you don't have one, use screws or brad nails to keep everything together - pre-drill for both screws and nails to prevent splitting the wood - use glue and clamp it all together making sure it is square
Step 5: Add Tops & Bottoms
again I used a biscuit joiner to attach my parts - there is absolutely no reason why you can't just use screws or nails again for this step - my use of biscuits is purely for aesthetic reasons - glue should be used either way and clamps if necessary
Step 6: Smoothing & Final Finishing
Routing a 1/8" round-over to all edges makes everything nice and smooth to the touch - using some sandpaper by hand works as well but just takes a bit longer - I also sanded everything else smooth at this point - I choose to use a wipe on polyurethane to finish it - wipe-on poly is really easy to use - if you haven't ever tried it on a wood project I encourage you to give it a shot - all you have to do is wipe it on with a paper towel or old teeshirt and wait for it to dry - once it has dried for approximately 8 hours I like to come back and sand it with 320 grit paper to remove any bumps - then wipe it clean and apply another coat or two - you could leave it with bare wood but I find they stay cleaner with a finish - and boom you are done - Thanks For Checking It Out!
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