Step 4: Box with lid, Living room method

Picture of Box with lid, Living room method
Or.. how to do this without power tools. In fact, all three of these could be done in a living room fairly easily.

This is a basic method for making a small box using just a mitre box and saw. I call it the living room method as you can usually get away with this while watching TV if you have an understanding and very attractive wife who is always right (Hi honey! *waves*).

It does not require any extensive equipment and can be done fairly quickly. The corners will be simple lap joints, so nothing fancy just yet.

Tools and material:
ruler or measuring tape
Miter box and saw or table saw
Clamps (small)
wood - one 4 foot 1x4
Sand paper

For this project I'm using standard 1x4 pieces of Pine from the local Home Depot. An astute observer would note that the 1x4 is actually closer to 3/4 x 3 1/2. This is the way things are. The jerks. Its like when I used to be able to get a Slim Jim as big as my arm, and now they are barely the size of toothpicks.

*Note - the boards in the picture are actually 3 x 3/4 inch. I had ripped a strip off the boards for another project. Just go with it. The listed measurements are accurate for your project.

From the end, measure out and cut

4 - 7 inch long boards
2 - 5 inch boards
1 - 8 1/2 inch board.

Try to make the cuts as precise as possible. One tip for this is to measure the next board only after your done cutting the previous board. If you pre-measure all the pieces, a few of them may be shorter than anticipated due to the action of sawing.

A saw does not work quite like a steak knife. The saw actually cuts the wood by removing a thin channel of material. This is where the sawdust comes from. There is no steak dust when you cute a steak as it actually slices the meat... mmmmm steak....

The cutting will be easier if you clamp the piece into the miter box while you are working with it. Trying to wrestle with the parts while your sawing them is a great way to loose a thumb. I usually measure from the 1 inch mark to make it as accurate as possible.

Do NOT sand any of the edges before gluing it up. Its common for people to want to give it a fast swipe to clean off the edges and such, but what will wind up happening is that you will wreck the straight edge of the board, and you will see gaps after you glue it up. If you have any chipped edges, just smooth it off with your finger, then glue it.

Check the pictures for details if something is not clear.

1. Take one 7 inch piece and place a thin layer of wood glue on both of the long edges.

2. Place two more of the 7 inch boards on the glued edges to make a "U" shape. Make certain the ends line up and everything is straight.

3. Clamp the ends loosely, just to hold everything together.

4. Place the last 7" board at the top without glue and apply a clamp to hold it there. This board is only there to assure that the sides are straight and that the top gap is not wider than the bottom. Don't trust your eyes on this one.

5. Tighten all the clamps checking the boards to make sure nothing slid around. If you have a large gluing area, its not uncommon for the pieces to move a little. You should see some glue squeezing out. If not, you either have a freakish ability to use the exact amount of glue necessary, or you didn't use enough.

6. Let it dry. Let it dry for a good hour before touching it again.

7. When it looks dry, remove the clamps being careful with the piece. The joints may still be tender. Set the un-glued 7 inch board aside.

8. place a thin layer of glue on both of the "U" shaped edges.

9. Place both end caps on, being careful to line up the edges as best you can. Don't worry if something is not 100% there, it can be fixed during sanding. The closer you get it, the less you have to sand.

10. Clamp both end caps in place and let the whole thing dry overnight.

**Double clamp technique- My clamps are not quite long enough to reach and clamp the sides. While I do have longer clamps, I wanted to show you how to do this. Take two clamps and hook them together as shown in the picture. tighten both clamps, and it will act like one long clamp. This works great for smaller pieces where you don't need huge amounts of pressure.

*sleepy sleepertons zzzzzzzzzzzzzz*

11. Remove the clamps and admire your work.

12. Take that last 7 inch board and check the fit inside the top.. it should be close, but not overly tight. If its too close, sand the edges until it fits easily. If you have trouble getting it out again after you fit it, just screw a small screw in the center and use it like a handle to pull it out. The hole will be covered when the rest of the top is assembled.

13. Take that last 8 1/2 inch board and measure out and draw a line 3/4th of an inch from each side. That last 7 inch piece should fit cleanly between the lines.

14. Glue up one full side of the 7 inch board and put it between the lines on the 8 1/2 inch board. Clamp tightly, make sure it does not move. It will be prone to slipping around a little.

When the glue dries, un-clamp and check the fit of the lid. Your Done!
Sand and paint to your pleasure.

What I learned:
How to cut pieces accurately.
How to glue up and clamp pieces.
Patience (optional, but useful..)

km4777a6 months ago

I made the first box, it was fun! The instructions were excellent. The most trouble I had on the project the measurements. For others trying this out, I had a lot more trouble trying to get my tape measure to lay flat and get the right measurements. I used an engineer's scale a few years ago when I did some picture framing and find it a lot easier to use for small projects like this. Also, I got lazy and used a stubby pencil initially. Spend a couple extra bucks and get a pack of mechanical pencils with the thinnest graphite size you can find.

Otherwise, I love the box and will be starting the next one soon!