Introduction: Puzzle Box

About: I like to design and build random things.

This is a pretty simple build and can be used as an intelligence test for your friends. The project was reversed engineered from pictures I saw online. In addition, a smaller version with a cool burn finish built by marsjer000 is documented here.

The complete drawing is shown below. Check out the YouTube videos for animation and actual build. Have fun!

Animation Video

Step 1: Materials and Tools


  • Wood - 3 1/2" x 1/2" x 60"
  • Wood glue
  • Wood filler (optional)
  • Stain


  • Table saw
  • Band saw (optional)
  • Drill and 1/4" bit
  • Sander
  • Clamps

Step 2: Top Level

Use these views when referring to the parts in the steps below. Note that all dimensions are for a perfect fit. Sanding will be required to prevent interference.

Step 3: Box Top and Bottom

Cut top and bottom - each is 3 1/2" x 9 3/4". Add 2 grooves to each piece 1 1/8" from each side. I used a table saw which has a 1/16" thick blade. The grooves should be 1/8" deep. Cut corner block off each side. The cuts should line up with the start of the groove and run 1" into the board. I used a band saw for this cut. Save blocks since they will be used later. Also, add a reference note in pencil on each block to match up to the correct side.

Step 4: Cut Box Sides and Back

Cut box sides – 1 1/2" x 6 1/8" & 1 1/2" x 9 3/4" and box back – 1 1/2" x 2 1/2". Don't drill the hole at this level. It will be added later.

Step 5: Assemble Box

Assemble top, bottom, sides and back with glue and/or nails. If nailed, keep nails at least 1/2" from the future dowel hole. Sand assembly.

Step 6: Cut Main Drawer Parts

Cut drawer bottom - 2 1/2" x 5 1/8" , drawer sides - 1 " x 5 1/8" and drawer back - 1 1/2" x 2 1/2". Don't drill hole at this level. It will be added later.

Step 7: Assemble Main Drawer

Assemble bottom, sides, front and back with glue and/or nails. Carefully attach finger blocks as shown. Refer to the reference notes made on the blocks to assure the blocks match the top and bottom sides. Note that thin shims might be required under the blocks to assure alignment with top and bottom sides. Sand assembly.

Step 8: Cut Side Drawer Parts

Cut drawer bottom - 2" x 3 1/8", drawer sides 2" x 1", drawer front - 3 5/8" x 1 1/2" and drawer back - 3 1/8" x 1 1/2". Two of the eight short trim pieces (2 1/2" x 1") will be added to this assembly.

Step 9: Assemble Side Drawer

Don't add trim pieces at this point. Sand assembly.

Step 10: Add Trim

Per the drawing, draw alignment lines around the perimeter of the box for the 4 trim rings. Add the 8 long trim pieces to the top and bottom sides. Next, add 5 short trim pieces to the sides. Then, add the 2 short trim pieces to the side drawer. These should be a snug fit to provide friction so drawer doesn't slide out. Add the last trim piece (dowel trim) - DON'T GLUE THIS PIECE.

Step 11: Add Pin Assembly

Place main drawer inside box. Make sure front of drawer is flush with the front of the box. With side trim aligned, drill a very small hole through the trim, box and drawer. Remove trim and drill a 1/4" diameter hole through box/drawer assembly. With the small hole as a guide, drill a 1/4" diameter, 1/4" deep hole into the trim. Glue pin into the trim. Fill small hole with wood filler or glue/sawdust.

Step 12: Sand Assembly

Clean up the edges of the trim by sanding. I also rounded all the corners.

Step 13: Finish

Finish as desired. I used red oak stain.

See description in YouTube videos to download a free drawing file.

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