loading

I really like making wooden boxes and always use wooden hinges, I think they look so much better than any hinge you can buy. Plus they cost so much less (in money terms that is, not time!).

As a lot of people who do woodwork I often have loads of offcuts that a generally too small to do anything with, apart from having a fire, so this is where you can use some of your scrap wood that has too much character to burn.

I have made this box out of yew wood and have acquired quite a few offcuts. Be warned though yew can be hazardous to health - the dust may be toxic and the smoke from burning it may be poisonous. If you search the internet for yew you will find many people saying it is poisonous and dangerous and others that swear its not and have used it for decades with no problems. In my eyes, if it may be dangerous then use appropriate safety equipment. When I cut and sand yew I always wear a good quality face mask to protect my lungs, I always have for a types of wood, but bought my expensive mask as I was specifically going to be using a lot of yew.

Anyway enough of all that and back to the instructable

Materials

Wood off cuts for main box - I had some that was 50mm (2") thick a good size for a ring box

More wood offcuts for hinge - I had bought some steamed beech as offcuts from ebay so have a lot hanging around, mine was 10mm (0.5") thick

Steel/brass bar - I use 3mm (1/8") diameter bar

Danish oil

Tools

Table saw

Router (attached to a table)

Hand saw

Hack saw

Belt sander

Random orbital sander

Step 1: Chop That Wood

First step is to cut up your wood in to a nice cube. You want to look at the wood and find a nice area, which will have an interesting grain/patterning and cut your piece accordingly. As my offcut was an odd shape there was only one area which was big enough for a cube so I used that section.

If your wood is a shape like mine with no straight edges just take care in cutting, making sure that it is secure before passing it through the saw. I did mine in stages using a sliding table extension to make a straight edge, then used that edge against the fence. My cube ended up being around 50mm (2") all round. I tidied up the faces with a few passes on a belt sander placed on its side (I checked that the sander was as 90 deg to the table too)

Step 2: Finger Joints - the Key to Wooden Hinges

The next stage is to make some finger joints on a couple of bits of wood so you can create your hinges.

I have a couple of ways I make finger joints, both with a router table but with different jigs. I have documented them both for completeness and information. The main difference in the jigs is that one needs a mitre slot in the router table but the other one only needs a fence. I have just made the jig I'll explain first so have only used it twice before.

The mitre slot jig involves making a 90 degree L shape from plywood. I fixed it together with biscuit joints as these are super simple and quick. As I needed a mitre slot I routed a slot in the top of my router table (which is home made and part of my table saw), making sure that it was parallel to the table saw mitre slots, this may come in useful for other jigs etc. Once the L shape is set use the table saw fence to make a small hole in the jig with the router bit, this will house a piece of wood the same size as the router bit diameter. Once you have done that you need to set the jig to the mitre slot. The jig needs to be offset from the first hole by twice the diameter of the router bit, I ripped a piece of timber about 14mm (my bit was 7mm) and used a plane and some vernier calipers to get the precise width. This can then be used against the table saw fence and the jigs fixed the the mitre slot runner. To do this rip a piece of timber the same width and depth as the mitre slot. Place the timber runner on a couple of washers so they are just proud of the table, glue the top of them and place the L jig on top of the runner, clamp and wait for glue to set. Once it is set turn over and secure further with coutersunk screws.Using it it easier than making or explaining how to make it! Just butt up the wood for your joint up against the small piece of wood in the jig, secure it and pass through the router. This slot can then be fit over the small wood and pass through the router again and just carry on. If this is to much to read there are similar jigs all over the internet and some have videos too.

The second jig which I have been using for a couple of years now also involves a L shaped jig. To one side of the jig there is a precisely vertical strip of wood and the other side houses a toggle clamp. You will also need a number of timber strips which are the same width as the router bit. This can be done with a planer/thicknesser or a plane, they do have to be quite precise though as if they are all just a fraction too large the error will soon mount up. When cutting the joints you reference the side of your timber to the vertical piece and clamp it down with the toggle clamp. Set up a fence on your router table (just a bit of wood clamped down) and set the router bit to cut at the edge of the wood. Once cut place two pieces of the wood strips between the jig and fence to move it all across by two router bit widths. Then just keep on adding two strips at a time until you've come to the other side of your joint. I like this method but it does restrict the width of joint you can make (maximum distance between the vertical strip and the toggle clamp).

This time I used the first method with 21mm wide strips (3 * router diameter). You just have to make sure the wood is well clamped with such a narrow piece....you can however make a longer than needed finger joint and cut down as needed.

Step 3: Hinges!

Now once the finger joints have been cut they need to be drilled and shaped. As they are so narrow I decided to use a drill rather than a drill press as it would be precise enough. I marked the centre points of the top joints and drilled a 3mm hole from each side, then inserted the other finger into the drilled finger and drilled all the way though the three fingers. I then put the metal rod through the holes with the joints fixed at right angles to each other. The curved bits where then shaped on the belt sander. Next take apart the joint and fix in the opposite manner and shape the other side of the joints the same way. A metal rod can now be cut to the width of the joint and inserted to make the hinge. Once put together any sticking points can be slowly sanded away with the belt sander.

Hey presto a lovely wooden hinge.

Step 4: Start the Hinges

Now you have your hinge you know how large you need your rebate/rabbet to be in your cube of wood. I initially set my normal fence on my router table to cut a slot in the middle of the wood, but the hole for the router bit was a little large and the cube got stuck half way through and caught on the bit, which took a relatively large chunk out of my wood. This was far too dangerous and seemed like it wasn't going to work without damaging the wood or my hand so I had to rethink my actions!

I decided to clamp a thin bit of timber across the router hole in the table and raise the bit up slowly through the wood to make a zero clearance hole. I could then clamp another large bit of timber adjacent to that as a fence. I set the height of the bit to the depth of the hinge; normally you would set the height to just under half the depth of the hinge (better for the joint to be further out than in as the lid wouldn't open if it was too deep). However as I had already messed the back up I wanted to clean that face up by reducing the width of the cube to get rid of the chip, so would end up as half the hinge thickness. Once the height was set I passed the cube through once and turned it round 180 degrees and passed it through again to make sure the slot was central. A little adjustment to fence and a few more passes made the width of the slot to just under the width the hinge.

I then sanded the back of the cube to tidy up my previous mistakes and to make the rebate/rabbet the correct depth.

Step 5: Cut the Lid, the Inside and Install the Hinges

Now the lid needs to be cut off. I cut the top off so it was around 1/3 to 1/4 of the finished box on the table saw. I then drilled a hole in the main box and the lid with a fostner bit on my pillar drill.

The hinges then need to be sanded down to the same width as the rebate/rabbet. Do this bit by bit and keep testing for tightness and things can get pretty loose pretty quick if you don't.

Before gluing the hinge I sanded the back of the box and the sides of the hinges to my finishing grit as these areas wouldn't be easily sanded once the hinges were installed.

Its just a case of then gluing the hinge to the box, making sure the metal pin meets the joint between the lid and main body, clamping and waiting.

Step 6: Finishing Steps

Next unclamp the box and trim the end of the joint with a hand saw.

I then sanded all sides of the box with 80, 120, 180 and 240 grit sand paper using the belt sanded and a random orbital sander.

To finish the insides I cut a couple of circles of recycled leather to glue in to the top and bottom of the insides.

Now all that is remaining is to finish it with a couple of coats of danish oil.

This turned out to be a really nice box, I like the patterning of the wood and the smallness of it. Very pleased!

I'm going to enter this in to the woodworking contest so if you've liked it please vote! Thanks!

<p>could the hinge be totally flush to the box? or it wouldnt work? </p>
<p>I you can make hinges flush with boxes yes. As the pivot point would be out of line with the outside edge of the back you would need to add a chamfer to the back and lid so you could open the box! You can also make integral hinges where the back and lid form the hinge like in my other box <br><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Jewelry-Box-With-Intergral-Hinge/">https://www.instructables.com/id/Jewelry-Box-With-...</a></p><p>Not sure if a flush hinge would work as well with a small ring box though.</p>
<p>well thanks for responding, im trying to make a round &quot;box&quot; with and integrated hinge and i cant find the way to make it work lol</p>
<p>I would have thought it'd be possible, I've never tried it but I'm sure you can get it to work. I'd probably make a hinge like in this instructable and make a sqaure recess in the back of the circular box so the hinge pin is well inside the wall of the box. You could then sand the outside of the hinge to match the outside of the box. </p>
<p>Awesome idea!! Thanks for sharing it!!</p>
Hello all!<br>This is my first time writing on this site. I was wondering if I could receive a bit if guidance. I want to build a wooden ring box out of beechwood for my upcoming proposal to my girlfriend. On the outside of the box, I want to carve a tree. For the leafy parts, I want to crush malachite,fill, and smoothe by sanding down and for the wood, some nice tigers eye. On the inside, I want to carve another design and fill with crushed opal. I suppose my question is where do I begin with this? Absolutely any advice, reccomendations, or tips are appreciated. Thank you!
<p>Hi....it guess it depends on how much you need to know! Have you done woodwork before/made boxes etc.? This type of ring box is fairly easy to make apart form the hinges but these could be replaced with small brass hinges or something similar. All you would need to do would be make a cube, cut the top off, drill a hole in the main body and keep the top flat. You could then add your tree to any outside face and the other on the inside face of the lid. Maybe you could set the crushed stone with clear epoxy, I'm sure this will sand flat.</p><p>As this instructable is fairly old there may not be many visitors that see your question so you could ask at <a href="https://www.instructables.com/answers/ask"> https://www.instructables.com/answers/ask </a> as this would get more visitors. I've never done this before but this is what I'd do to get an answer. Otherwise you could post on a more recent and relevant project and get a conversation started. </p><p>Also be a little more specific with the information required as you'll get more answers.</p><p>When you have made it please add a picture on this page as I'd like to see it. Good luck the the box and proposal!!!</p>
<p>Very beautiful!</p><p>Maybe it would be cool if it used magnetic hinges, so you can snap the lid on and off.</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Magnetic-Hinge-With-3D-Printing/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Magnetic-Hinge-Wit...</a></p><p>I created this instructable on those kind of hinges ;)</p>
I'm in the process of making my wife and daughter a coin ring for Xmas and thought a hand made box to go with it wood be nice I luv the hinge idea and will be making 2 very soon thanks for the idea and I'll be voting for you really good information and some good tips too <br>Regards paul
<p>Thanks for the comments. I haven't made any coin rings yet but keep seeing Instructables about them and I always think that I should...one day.</p><p>It would be great to see some photos of your boxes and rings once they have been complete.</p><p>Cheers!</p>
<p>very cool indeed. i hate new hinges on my creations. end up with primitive leather hinges or such. this is the ticket. many thanks</p>
<p>I have made another box but this time a sliding ring box....please check it out!</p><p>https://www.instructables.com/id/Sliding-ring-box/</p>
<p>Where can i buy wood like this or find it?</p>
Hi, the last lot of yew wood I got was from eBay, I just searched for 'yew wood' and got a couple of results. I have made a few boxes out of yew and have not found many areas of the planks that are this distinct, I think I was quite lucky! Not sure on the availability of yew in other countries, I'm from the UK. If you look at my other instructables I have made a yew table which is more representative of typical patterning.
<p>Nice looking ring box! I recently made a similar box from a piece of burl apple wood from a tree that needed to needed to be trimmed from my back yard. I had used brass hinges until I saw this instructable, at which point I replaced them with a piece of black walnut I had left from another project. I used a hand saw and as a result the hinge came out a bit uneven but it's certainly functional. I used a bit of black velvet for the interior and it carved the name of myself and my fiance to be in the bottom. I presented an engagement ring in it, too which she said yes! Thanks for the idea!</p>
Nice one and congratulations on the engagement. I'm glad I've been since inspiration to someone. I think of I made a hinge by hand it would also turn out a bit uneven, my hand tool skills are quite limited. Good job fella.
<p>Fantastic box. I really appreciate all of the photos too. It makes a newbie woodworker like myself feel more comfortable attempting a project like this.</p>
Hi thanks for that. I'm sure you'll soon get good enough. I've been working for 2 1/2 years now, still make mistakes but you can always turn them into 'design features'. Good luck and enjoy!
<p>good job...</p>
<p>one other idea to try for a hinge, maybe, some kind of material glued to the joint. the other super challenge would be to integrate the hinge inside the 2 main pieces, nice job, thanks, mike</p>
hi Mike thanks. it's funny you should mention a totally integrated hinge as I am working on a box on and off that will have the top face of the hinge flush with the box, not done it before but should work out. <br>I have also made boxes with integral hinges, so the back and the lid make the hinge.
<p>nice job saving money and resources on the hinge</p>
<p>I like to make &quot;band saw boxes&quot; and make the top out of a cut off from the block and the core. Your use of a wood hinge is wonderful and I will try that on a future box.</p><p>There is much beauty in the scrap wood bin and the fire wood pile all twisted and knotty and hard to work. good eye</p><p>uncle frogy</p>
<p>i've been wanting to make a box with a wooden hinge. now i know how to make the hinge! finger joints...hahaha, how simple can you get.</p>
Yeah, once you have the jig to make the finger joints you can make them really quick. You just need to take your time getting the precision in the jig right.
<p>Beautiful work... love it's one piece :)</p>
<p>Very nice work, but I would install a wooden dowel made of the same wood than de box instead of the metal rod.</p>
Good job with all those photos. Looks cool.
nice work. it turned out great.
<p>good job!</p>
<p>good job!</p>
very nice. I love the grain.
the wood and the box are just beautiful! I love how its made from off cuts as well. great job!
<p>It would have been complete if you'd used a hardwood pin instead of a metal - just a bit of grease and it would have worked perfect! Nice wood, btw - which species? </p>
A hardwood pin would look good yeah, never tried that before. I would be nervous about using one with such a small hinge as the diameter of the pin needs to be pretty small. I might try next time I make a larger hinge, probably with something like maple as it is nice and hard. <br>The wood I used its yew, it had amazing character!
<p>wax may also be a good choice for the hinge</p>
yeah wax its good. if any of my hinges are tight I rub a bit of candle on the joints! <br>
<p>good job!</p>
<p>great looking box and good instructable. I agree with bricobart regarding using a hardwood pin. Could use maple but I think oak would be better. just use 3/16 inch dowels. Purple heart dowel and maple box could be a good combo. </p>
<p>I love that wood patern!! It's beautiful! </p>
this is very nice!

About This Instructable

88,024views

1,210favorites

License:

Bio: I am a software engineer with a background in bridge engineering. After working in a design office and on site for 6 years I saw ... More »
More by petachock:Wine Rack Wooden Light Pendant Covers Electric upright bass 
Add instructable to: