Making Wooden Boxes With Box Joints




About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @

I wanted to create a box that was durable enough to use outdoors, that would either hold writing, or art supplies, or whatever you decided to bring with you when you go out on adventure!

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Step 1: Cut the Wood

In terms of wood, I wanted something durable so I decided to go for white oak which is naturally weather resistant. I began with cutting up the pieces for the sides.

Step 2: The Joint

To connect the box together I went with box joints. There are a couple of reasons for that - first of all I love the way they look. They're so classic and elegant, and they work well to sand if you want to create rounded corners. It's also a very strong joint and feels rather utilitarian which I like. To create these joints, I used a jig for the router, however you could create them using hand tools, or a table saw jig too.

Step 3: The Tops and Bottoms

At this point I decided to make a couple more boxes, while having all the tools out - so I cut up pieces for four boxes. The sides are all made out of white oak, however the tops and bottoms differ a bit, since I didn't have material on hand for them all to be the same. So two of them have tops and bottoms in white oak, one is made in rosewood and one in walnut.

Step 4: Glue Up

After the tops and bottom pieces were cut up, it was time to glue the boxes together. First gluing the joints together, and then adding the top and bottom, and securing everything with clamps.

Step 5: Trimming the Sides

To made sure the tops and bottoms were nice and neat, I first used the band saw, as well as a hand saw f to trim the sides later.. To further clean up the cuts, I used a hand plane as well as a chisel. It's important that the boxes are nice and even to be able to continue with the next step, which is cutting them open!

Step 6: Cutting Them Open

Once the boxes were nice and even, it was time to take them to the table saw and cut them open. After doing the first three cuts, I placed a wedge on one side so the box wouldn't pinch and you could cut all the way through.

Step 7: Hinges

For hinges, I used a couple of different ones. Quadrant hinges on two, as well as regular back facing hinges on two. To prepare for the quadrant hinges I used a jig and a router for a precise fit.

Step 8: Rounding the Corners

To create a nice, round-ish look, we decided to route the sides of all the boxes, and then sand them smooth.

Step 9: Conclusion - Watch the Video!

To see the final result, make sure to watch the video that goes over all the steps!

In the next Instructable I will go over finishing these boxes, and creating leather inserts as well as closures and straps for them.

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    12 Discussions

    Kink Jarfold

    1 year ago on Step 9

    Unfortunately, when Wifey and I moved to a new house my box joint jig was someohow trashed. Your exquisite work has inspired me to build another.


    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    I like the look/idea of making the boxes out of oak, and wonder what the thickness of you oak is? It looks like 3/4 stock for sides? Can you pls verify? TKS!


    Question 1 year ago on Step 7

    Hi, what jig (and where did you get it/make it from) did you use to cut out the hinge shape? Where did you get the hinges? they look very nice!

    1 answer
    Randy W

    1 year ago on Step 8

    Great ideas, I shall give it a go!


    1 year ago

    Nice work. I'd like to share a tip that was given to me that works very well and is safer to cut the box in half. Raise the table saw blade to 1/64" less than the thickness of your box sides. Then proceed to cut all four sides of the box. Once completed, make the final cut with a utility knife and the box will separate safely and cleanly. There is no need to use a wedge, etc. to keep the box from pinching. You also do not have worry about the top/bottom coming apart on you. You may need to do a very light sand to get rid of any remaining material, but if you test the cut of the depth first you can really minimize that.


    1 year ago

    Your use of quarter sawn white oak makes beautiful boxes such as yours. Plans for shop made jigs for sawing the finger joints can be found online. I’ve tried a few and a great one uses a thread rod to move the stock. The advantage of a 3/8 x 16 rod is moving stock in the same increment as your imperial ruler. So there’s a project. Another project can be “fuming” the White Oak. Thus fine boxes as yours can lead to more fine projects. One caution is using steel fasteners if you plan on the boxes being exposed to the weather, the oak will stain black in the fastener area.


    1 year ago

    I love it. I have used a similar method to make boxes, but instead of a solid wood top/bottom I used plywood set into channels routed inside of the box sides before assembly. I like the look of yours better. Does the dog watch over table saw operations to ensure safety? :)


    1 year ago

    Nice workshop and great boxes!!

    Paulo, PY2PH - Brazil


    1 year ago

    My compliments


    1 year ago on Step 9

    Very NICE & well thought out.