Introduction: Torus Box

About: I am a 22 year old woodturner from Sydney. I have been wood turning for about 6.5 years and have completed my apprenticeship in cabinetmaking. I left my full time work to try and make it as a wood turner

So a while back, the torus bowl became a popular project for wood turners after Yaval's design (

I gave one a go like quite a few others (

At that time I had an idea to turn the design into a box. It requires accurate turning but is a really good challenge

Step 1: Outer Shell Set Up

I made 2 of these so I had to make them the exact same size to make the most of the inner part (that will come clear later). The blanks started at about 150mmx 150mmx 30mm.

To start off cut the blank round on the band saw and drill a hole at 8.5mm for the screw chuck. I have a disc of mdf on the screw because I dont need the full depth of the screw and it creates more surface area for a stronger hold. Screw it on the lathe and true it up with a bowl gouge.

The set out now is really important. My diameter for the opening is 54mm as that is the size template I used. Therefore thickness needs to be 27 (half) and I need to mark 27 from the edge (center line) and 54mm (other edge)

Step 2: Template Turning

Similar to a method I use for turning a sphere, I use a template. Its 3mm mdf drilled out with a forstner bit and cut into 1/2 and 1/4 templates

Roughly shape it remembering that bigger is better that taking too much. Then stop the lathe and hold the template to the piece. If its touching on the edges then those are the areas that need to be reduced. If its touching in the middle then thats the high spot. It should be able to slide all the way along with no gaps inbetween (harder than it looks).

This is really a slow process of trial and error as you can see in the pics. When you are happy sand it and work on the inside a bit more. If you go thin too early you get more vibration and its harder to get clean cuts so take your time. Sand more in the middle and check again with the templates. Course grits do help blend in sections. I finished at 400 grit

Using a template for spheres:

Step 3: Hot Glue Chucking

I use hot glue quite a lot for holding pieces where I dont want obvious holding marks. It holds better than you think, only sending pieces flying if you have a nasty catch.

This only took 3 blobs applied to the torus and then a waste block attached. I use cedar as you want a soft timber so you are less likely to damage your piece. Wait a minute and then turn a tenon on the back, ensuring that runs true. After that you can unscrew it from the chuck

Step 4: Finishing the Outer Shape

Mark you wall thickness sizes. I went about 5mm. Then remove the section in the middle. Remember not to go square in but follow the shape of the curve. You can still fit part of you template in.

The surface has to be perfectly flat.

Step 5: Turning the Inside/ Fitting the Box

This being the 2nd one, I already had the inside of the box as you only need half a torus bowl. That why this suddenly appears but essentially its the same process as the rest of the outer shell, it just has higher sides that curve back in.

There are 2 options for shaping the inside which I both cover in the photos. If you have the inner torus bowl, you can use that or you can turn a disc that is the size of the piece (or fractionally bigger, 2nd pic). Mark a center line so you have your depth set.

When turning, work down hill, going from the outside to the center, meeting in the middle. Its trial and error until to match the shape of the disc. When sanding make sure you dont roll the edges as you want a crisp edge.

When its done you should be able to easily snap it off the back waste block. The glue will peel of easily.

Step 6: The Cut and Glue the Shell

Mark a center line on a scrap piece that is the same width. Then you can easily transfer the line on the piece. Make the cut on the band saw and the hold the piece together on the different axis to test if the inner ring slides.

Details count, so check the grain orientation

After checking glue them together. Put glue more on the outer edges so the excess spreads to the outside which is easier to clean. If it dries on the inside, it can scratch the box. To clamp it I used rubber bands to locate it and then the quick grips to apply more pressure.

After its dry, sand it flush on the disc sander or linisher sander. Make sure you are sanding square

Step 7: Capping

Using hot glue, hold the small piece of the caps on the lathe. With this box I used a dome shape. Fairly simple turning to get the shape. Make sure that its the same size as the ends of the box or bowl, if anything a bit bigger to blend in later.

To attach these, use a bit of glue on the outer edge and us a rub joint. Move the piece in small circles to create a bit of suction. Should hold in place well while it dries

Details count, so check the grain orientation, making sure it runs across

Step 8: Fitting the Lid

With the cap on the end, the box should stick out a bit. Run a pencil along the rim to mark a line for the cut. I used a jap saw and then touched it on the sander

Step 9: Gluing the Lid

I used rub joint here as well but to make sure I didnt glue it to the shell as well, I dropped some off cuts into the tube so it just poked out. I was still able to line it up accurately

Step 10: Sanding and Finish

There will always be a little bit of variation which will need to be sanded. I used 240 and 400 grit on the palm sander and used the dremmel on the inner curve.

Apply an oil using a rag. I use Kunos oil and then bee wax to buff it over the top. The wax will also help it slide inside.

Step 11: Done

These are only small boxes but they are great for little bit of jewelry, coins or for small collectibles.

Good luck

Glue Challenge 2016

Grand Prize in the
Glue Challenge 2016