Introduction: Handmade Walnut Box

About: I'm a design engineer, university lecturer and weekend shed goblin.

For this project I will be showing you how to make a small wooden box, this project will have quite a few optional steps and what size the box is will be entirely your choice!

I hope you enjoy the project and if you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Also this project is in the box contest running at the moment on Instructables so if you think it's worthy feel free to vote for it!

Step 1: Materials

To make this box you will need:

1 x length of Walnut that is 70mm x 7mm and whatever length you decide based upon how big you would like your box to be.

1 x Walnut lid - 15mm thick x the sizes you choose for the width and length

1 x plywood offcut 3mm

2 x venner sheet 0.6mm

1 x yellow carpenters glue

1 x painters tape or similar

Shown above is a plan for the body of the box.

Step 2: Tools




Vice - optional

Mitre saw - either electric or hand


Router table/spindle moulder - optional

Flush cut saw - optional

Sander - optional

Step 3: Cutting and Routing Sides

Taking your length of 70mm walnut route, or cut on a table saw a 4mm groove 5mm in from the base, this is where your veneered base will sit.

(optional) You can also add a small rebate on the top of the box at this stage for a lid to sit in, as show in the plan and the third picture above.

Then using your mitre saw or table saw cut four pieces to your chosen dimensions at a 45 degree angle. To give an example if you wanted a box that was 160mm x 160mm you would mark the start of you mitre 7mm in at 7mm and then for the other side 153mm.

Step 4: Veneering Base

Once you have decided the size of the box you need to cut a piece of 3mm plywood oversize.

After you have cut the plywood you need to apply you veneers, to do this first apply glue to one side of the plywood and place the veneer. Repeat this on the other side and press the pieces together carefully in a press if you have one, or as I have in vice with two boards and some extra clamps.

At this stage you want to be applying as much pressure as possible!

Step 5: Trimming Base and Glue-up

Once all the side pieces are cut trim your oversized veneered plywood to fit snugly into the grooves. You can do this with a hand saw, table saw or a mitre saw. The edge of the base is hidden so you will have some room for error.

After this apply glue to the inside edges of the mitre, then assemble the box a and clamp using tape to add pressure and keep the box square!

Step 6: Side Notches - Optional

For this step I used a spindle moulder with a 4mm cutter and made a jig from some beech and mdf scraps.

The jig is nice and simple it's a square of mdf with two large blocks of beech with the ends cut at 45 screwed in from the base. The smaller blocks are moved dependant on the size of the box and the box itself gets secured with a few wedges.

Step 7: Installing Corners

Dependant on the width or the timber you have selected for the corners you may be able to add some decorative veneers as shown in the first picture.

I made my corner pieces from one long length of beech with a maple, wenge and maple sandwich on top. I then cut the peice into 8 smaller pieces, applied glue to the corners of the box and tapped them in with a small hammer.

Step 8: Flush Cutting

After the glue has dried cut the pieces flush using a flush cut saw. The reason you use a flush cut saw is because the saw has teeth that only cut on one side. This means your work is not scratched or damaged in the process.

Once you have cut the pieces flush sand the outside of the box up to 240grit. I like to use foam backed sanding blocks for this as the leave a nice even finish, but use whatever you have.

Step 9: Lid

Measure the internal shape of you box a and cut a lid to suit out of a piece matching material. The reason we cut the lid after is so that we can adjust the lid to suit the box in case of human error.

In the case the shaping of the lid it's entirely up to you. I have made these boxes with large chamfer as shown in the rendering above. To do this I used a simple no5 hand plane and took my time. You can also achieve a similar effect with a chamfer router bit on a table router.

If you want simple at this stage you can sand a chamfer in or leave the lid square.

Step 10: Lid Supports

If you have not added the optional rebate for a lid then you will need to add lid supports. I made mine from scrap walnut I had lying around - the pieces are 50mm x 9mm x 7mm and have a small piece of maple veneer on the top. They do not need the maple veneer it is again purely decorative, you could also use small dowels and either leave the round or sand the square.

Step 11: Finishing

With all the surfaces sand up to 240 wipe the box own with a tack cloth. Once complete you can use a a lint free rag and some oil of your choice (I like tru-oil) and apply thin coats wiping of the excess each time you apply.

Step 12: Finished

At this stage all you need to do is chose a handle of you choice and start using it!

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Box Contest 2017

Third Prize in the
Box Contest 2017