Whether it is to store jewelry, childhood toys, or other small mementos in or even to gift to a friend or spouse, a home-made oak box has plenty of uses. Making one can be quite difficult between finding a design you like and finding inexpensive materials. The box I will show how to make in this Instructable took me about one week of work to complete; most of this time was waiting for glue to dry. Total material cost of this box is about five dollars; so, without further adieu, here is my rendition of an oak pallet wood trinket box. Enjoy!
Step 1: Gather Materials
To begin with, you will need some decent-quality oak wood. I salvaged wood from some old pallets from businesses in town and dismantled them several weeks prior to the start of this project.
Material wise, you will need anywhere from two to four deck-boards (top slats on pallet) and at least one stringer (side runners) depending on the quality of the wood, as well as miscellaneous scraps of wood as spacers for gluing and clamping. I also used some press board for dividers inside the box.
Tool-wise, I used the following tools:
-Table Saw, Radial Arm Saw, Band Saw
-Belt Sander (60 grit paper), Orbital Sander (60 grit and 120 grit paper)
-Miscellaneous half-used sandpaper for hand sanding
-Bar clamps, pipe clamps
-Glue and hardware for the box
Step 2: Make Box Legs and Sides
To begin work, you will want to clean up the wood you have chosen and determine the size of the box you wish to make. The box I made was in dimensions 12 x 6.5 x 3 1/4 inches. Depending on what look you want for the box (clean or more rustic) you should cut the lengths of wood you plan to use for the sides and legs of the box.
For the sides:
I cut four boards-two with dimensions 2 x 12 x 3/8 (3/8 is the final depth of the wood after sanding) for the length and two with dimensions 2 x 6 1/2 x 3/8 for the width. After sanding them clean, I took the two length boards and cut three 1/8 inch miters at intervals of 1/4 the length of the board. Sanding the corners, the miters, and all surfaces once more, the sides of the box were ready for gluing.
For the legs:
I cut square-based lengths from the stringer in approximate dimensions 1 x 1 x 3 1/4 for the box's legs. After sanding them clean, I set the depth of the table saw blade to approximately 1/4 inch and cut grooves for the sides of the box to sit in. I hand sanded this to clean it up and prepare it for gluing.
Step 3: Glue the Sides and Make the Bottom
At this point, I glued the sides of the box to the legs. I glued both ends of the box to the legs first, leaving it to set for a few hours. When the glue-up was stable enough, I glued the sides of the box to the ends and left the assembly to set overnight.
From here, I found the wood I wanted to use for the base, cutting clean sections from the original pallet wood and sanding it clean. The box was just wide enough that I needed to cut a spacer to slide between the two sides of the base. I also did not want the end-grain of the glue-up to be visible from the outside of the box, so I cut two 1/8 inch veneers to slide into the ends of the box, behind the clefts in the legs made by recessing the sides of the box.
I glued the three boards in the assembly (without veneers) together overnight; the next day, I sanded any extra squeeze-out from the boards and sanded them flat in preparation of gluing to the sides of the box. After dry-fitting the board and veneers into the sides-and-legs assembly, making any adjustments as necessary, I applied glue to the bottom board and the two veneer pieces, fitted them together, clamped them, and left them overnight again.
I cut two veneer pieces to take up excess space on the outside of the box's front and back edges between the legs. The veneer on the front was much smaller to provide a lip to catch the lid and open the box with. I glued this veneer to the box during the same time period of gluing the bottom of the box to the assembly. While it is not visible here, this veneer is visible in the next step's pictures.
Step 4: Make the Lid and Prepare Hardware Mounts
I followed the same procedure making the lid as I did making the bottom of the box, except using a wider board as the center spacer to make up the difference in width of the lid. Cutting the pieces, I cleaned them up and glued them together with a 1/4 inch veneer on the end-grain. The next day, I sanded the lid flat, cleaning up any squeeze-out from the gluing process.
I visited the local hardware store to pick up a pair of zinc-coated hinges. Using a chisel, I carefully created two recessed areas on the lid and box assembly to prevent any elevation of the box's lid due to intersection of hinge mounting points. I pilot-drilled holes for the hinge screws and pre-fit the screws into the wood to prevent the screws from going in diagonally during final mounting. I then dry-fitted the entire assembly together in preparation for finalization.
Step 5: Finalizing
Taking the hinges off the wood, I stained the box. I used a golden-oak stain to give a darker natural color to the final product. Over the course of the next two days, I applied two coats of clear satin polyurethane finish to all surfaces of the box to make it smooth and durable. Once the poly was done drying, I mounted the hinges for the last time to complete the box.
I am quite happy with how this box turned out. It works well to store future project materials and other valuables. Hopefully it works as well for anyone else who this Instructable helps.