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How To Make a Wooden Box

Updated on March 25, 2014

How To Make A Wooden Box.

Pictured left is the box I'll be showing you how to build on this page. This was a fun project and only took a few hours to complete. This small wooden box doesn't have any complex joints and is the perfect project for a beginning woodworker. The cuts were made with a table saw, and was assembled with nails and glue. I spent about four dollars on wood and three dollars on hinges so the whole project cost less than ten bucks.

Throughout this page we will cover picking out the wood for our project, cutting our board to size, assembling our box and putting the lid on it.


Buying A Board

All woodworking projects are easier when you are starting with nice wood. Even if you are just making a simple box, it is helpful to have straight wood without cracks. I bought this 1 x 6 at Lowes and went through the stack for about 10 minutes before I came away with this nice speciman. It's extremely straight and perfect for my wooden box.


Square Your Tools

I am convinced that one of biggest problems beginning woodworkers face in their early projects is faliure to properly square their blades and guides when they cut their wood. This can lead to corners that won't line up properly and out-of-square projects. Even a simple wooden box goes together much easier when all of your cuts are square. You can see here that I am checking my table saw blade to make sure that it is at a perfect 90 degree angle from the table. The same should be done with guides and fences.


Cut The Bottom And Sides

The length of the bottom and the height of the sides is up to you. I didn't spend more than a couple of minutes deciding the size of my box. However, for this project if you want to use the same board to provide the lid for the box, then the depth of the box (front to back) needs to be short enough to allow to have the front and back attached and still be small enough to be covered by the width of the board. So we need to take the width of our board ( a little less than 6 inches) and then subtract the thickness of the board twice, once for the front and once for the back. What we have left over is how deep our ends and bottom can be.


Pre-drill Some Nail Holes

Here, I have just drilled some pilot holes through the ends so it will be easier to nail my ends to the bottom. Not only does it help prevent splitting the wood where the nails go through (since they are so close to the edge of the wood), the pilot holes help hold the nails where I want them while I'm hammering. What I am using to drill the holes is not a drill bit, but a nail the same as the ones I'll be using to assemble the box, but with the head snipped off of it, so it will chuck up properly in my drill.


Attach The Ends To the Bottom

This is where that pre-drilling of the ends comes in handy. I line it up, and in a few taps I have then ends on.


Here Is The Bottom With The Ends Attached

Now that our ends are on it's time to measure for the sides. It's easy to see where our measurements will be taken. The sides will be the height of the ends and the length of the bottom plus the ends.


Time To Install The Sides

Here you can see I've put the back on and only the front remains. I pre-drilled the edges of the sides just like I did the ends on the bottom and I put a little bead of glue on the edge of the ends and bottom where they meet the sides. I line everything up and carefully tap in the nails.


Here Is Our Box Without The Top

Now it's time to measure for the top. The top is going to completely cover the ends and the sides.


Putting The Top On Our Box

Here I've cut the top for the box and I am glueing it to the top and holding it in place with some 24" bar clamps. These bar clamps from harbor freight are fairly inexpensive and simple to use.


This Is Our Fully Enclosed Box

You may be thinking "Ok, now you've totally closed up the box. How will I put anything in it"? Glad you asked. The top 1 inch of the side and ends of the box is now going to be part of the lid.


Cutting Off The Lid

Here I've set the guide fence to cut about two inches off the top of the box. I'll cut one side, rotate the box and cut an end and so on until I separate the top of the box from the bottom.


The Box And The Lid

Here is the box and lid back on the workbench after I finish at the table saw


Attaching The Lid

Attaching the lid is pretty straightfoward. I notch the lid and box on one side so that each leaf of the hinge will set flush with the wood. Be aware that if you use the solid brass screws that come with real brass hinges, you will need to predrill for the screws. Brass screws are very soft and will twist off easily before you get them seated.

For your first box, you may find that surface mounting hinges on the back is easier for you.


Here Is The Box From The Back.



The End Of The Box



The Finished Box

 This is my box after a little sanding and some stain. I followed that up with some satin polyurethane. Overall I'm pretty pleased with it. I have a nice wooden box that took me less than a day and ten dollars to make.

Hey, did you like my lense on box making? Leave a comment!


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A box like this is a great place for people to start. It teaches the basics that they need to go on to more complicated projects.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice tutorial & great result.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice lense! I squid liked your lense to make it more popular, please squid like mine too:

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Pretty informative on wooden box. Keep up the good lens building.

    • sheriangell profile image


      9 years ago

      Your step by step instructions are so good, I would be even I could do this. That scares me a little! Great lens.


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