A perfect gift for the wine lover in your life. Give this custom made wine box as a birthday present or as a gift for the host of dinner or holiday party. Here I will show you how I make them out of planks from a pallet. You can substitute pallet wood with any other board and all the measurements should be adjusted to fit the wine bottle you intend to put in it. To cushion the bottle while it is in the box, I use wood shavings but there are also many materials that you could use. The tools I use for this project is a table saw, router table, miter saw, thickness planer, random orbital sander, and brad nail gun. As there is many different way to accomplish the same task in woodworking I am just showing you one way to do it. The basic construction of the box is simple. The sides are glued and brad nailed together. The bottom panel of the box is glued in to a dado that has been routed in the all four sides. The top slides into another set of dados routed into the top of the sides. The Sketch up file for this project can be found and downloaded for free at www.merzkecustomwoodworking.com.
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Step 1: Gather Your Material and Plan Your Layout
Like I said in the introduction I am using pallet wood planks but you can use the wood of your choice. The boards I have are 5 1/2 inches by 39 inches. Since these boards came from a pallet there are nail holes at the ends and middle of the boards so I plan the layout to avoid these nail holes.
Step 2: Cut the Boards to Rough Length
At first I just cut the boards down to rough length. I will cut them down to final size later to make sure they fit perfectly. Basically I am cutting off the ends and the center section where nail holes were.
Step 3: Plane Down the Top and Bottom Panels
The top and bottom panel get planed down to 1/4 inch with the thickness planer.
Step 4: Rip Sides, Top, and Bottom to Width
Now take all four side pieces and the top and bottom to the table saw and first cut the the rough edge off the board and then rip them all to an width. For my wine boxes I rip the sides to 5 1/2 inches and the top and bottom to 5 inches.
Step 5: Cut Sides to Length
The long side boards get cut to 16 inches and the short sides get cut to 4 1/2 inches.
Step 6: Routing the Dado for the Top and Bottom Panels
I set up a 1/4 inch straight cutting bit in my router table at a depth of a 1/4 inch. Both short end sides get a 1/4 inch dado that is 1/4 inch from the edge. The longer side pieces will get a stopped dado on the bottom edge and a dado that is stopped on one end and through on the other end to allow for the top to slide on and off.
Step 7: Cut One End to Allow for Top to Slide
Take one of the short end pieces and cut off the 1/4 strip above the dado and save. This small piece will be glued on the top to act as a handle and to maintain the original lines of the box.
Step 8: Glue Up
It's finally time to build a box. Make sure to apply enough wood glue to each of the joints. I use brad nails to help hold it while the glue dries. Even with butt joints the box is plenty strong enough because of the long grain glue joints between the bottom panel and the sides.
Step 9: Cut the Top Panel to Length and Attach the Pull
Slide the top panel into the dado in the box and then mark where you need to cut it to length. I then take the top panel to the miter saw and cut it. Then I take the small piece that I cut off the short side panel and glue that on as a pull.
Step 10: Everyone's Favorite... Sanding!!!
Here I just do a light sanding. I don't want to take the wood down all the way since I want a rustic look. I also slightly sand the edges just to brake the sharp edge. It is also a good idea to slide the top panel on and sand the end flush while it is in the closed position.
Step 11: Finish
At this point you can decorate the box like I did with a ink jet printer photo transfer and then apply some spray lacquer or come up with your own method of decorating and finishing the box. If you really want to get crazy you can just leave it unfinished. Either way your finished at this point!
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