Introduction: Plywood Pen Box
This is tutorial to make a stained plywood pen box. For this project I used plywood, a marker, a bandsaw, an electric sander, sandpaper, wood glue, a stick/dowel, wood stain, hinges, paper towels, brushes, a ruler, and epoxy.
Step 1: Starting Sketches
Here are several sketches of my box. The first one is a parts list of the wood, each of the required pieces dimensioned in inches on 1/2 thick plywood. The second an orthographic view of the bottom section of the box (minus the top plate), and different pieces of wood are distinguishable from each other. A sectional view is included with the 2nd drawing. The third is a quick isometric sketch of the completed box.
Step 2: Drawing Lines and Cutting the Board
On your piece of plywood, draw out the different section to be cut out on the band saw. Each of these pieces were lettered to remember which one they were. Remember to use the bandsaw using all appropriate safty measures and using any tools to assist if necessary (as is shown). On the band saw, make many small cuts instead of few longer cuts where errors are more likely to happen. The final picture shows the wood after it has been cut and the excess wood removed.
Step 3: Testing and Sanding
I did a test fit to make sure all the pieces fit together correctly and to see if I needed to do any sanding. Turns out I did and that the pieces were sometimes too large for the entire side to be sanded at a time. I adjusted for that by moving the piece back and forth to equalize the sanding over the entire side. The edges where I sanded the plywood became furry, so I had to sand on all the sides repeatedly to get rid of it. I then fit together the pieces after each block to check my progress.
Step 4: Gluing the Sides
I tested the side pieces together to make sure I was going to glue them correctly. After I applied the glue, using a small dowel for precision, there was some squeeze out which i then wiped away with a damp cloth. I then made sure to clamp down all the pieces securely to minimize the wood setting incorrectly. As with the woodworking mentality: Always use one more clamp.
Step 5: Sanding and Gluing the Ends.
After I removed the clamps I sanded again to get rid of errors then began the process of gluing the ends. The process is the same, but a difficulty worth note was making sure that it stood up strait. While sanding the ends, make sure you sand them flat to make gluing easier. I then clamped the ends to dry.
Step 6: Sanding After Glue
With the wood glue having dried, I then sanded all the sides again to make it more uniform, making sure to get all of the sides smoothed down. I didn't like the sharp edges, so I rounded them over with some 100 grit sandpaper.
Step 7: Putting in the Hinges.
I bought some hinges from my local hardware store for the box. I chose a dark color to match with the final aesthetic of the box. Two inches from each side of the box I put in the hinges. I should have clamped the top and bottom before, to minimize it moving while I hammered in the nails, but I got it done. I then secured the nails with some fast acting epoxy, which should have been applied to the nails before they went in, if the hole had been pre-drilled into the plywood.
Step 8: Final Sanding
After I put in the hinges I made sure to align everything on the sander again, and then I went over all the surfaces with some high grit sandpaper, smoothing it out for the stain. I also made some rough cuts in with some low grit sandpaper to add some texture also, and to have darker lines in the wood.
Step 9: Staining and Finishing
I stained the wood using a red oak wood finish and a brush. Make sure to follow all the instructions on the stain you use to make sure you do not accidentally destroy your project. After letting the stain dry for two days, I then finished it with some lemon oil for a more glossed look.