Build a Box

Posted by tony on May 5, 2008

Just thought it might be interesting to show the steps taken for construction of my Maple and Yew box.

First, cut your timber. I show it here as the pieces ready for assembly.

Obviously there was a fair amount of preparation before this stage as I started out with two very rough lengths of timber. These had to be sized and planed. The Maple for the main body was squared, but as the Yew lid is the guide for the box contours and it has such a nice waney (yes waney not wavy, woodworkers term) edge to it, I just cut it to length.

The next step is the glue up. For this I used beech biscuits. These are not for eating but are oven baked. They are let into pockets cut into the timber and when glue is applied, they swell up and give a really strong joint with invisble fixings. No nails or screws in my boxes, unless for hardware fixings.

Glued and cramped

You can never have too

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many clamps.

The next picture shows the lid just resting in place before the hinge is attached. If you enlarge the picture (click on it) and look closely you can see where I have contoured the edges to follow the natural curves of the lid.Yew Lid

I always have problems with hinges and this was to prove troublesome as well. Because the lid is angled from back to front at 10 degrees the hinge had to be let into the back at the same angle. The difficulty was getting it to lay correctly, otherwise the front of the lid sits up off the front and the hinge acts a bit like a spring. Being a power tool junky I prefer to use as little effort as possible in making cuts (keeps down costs and prices), but this little devil proved that hand tools were to be the only way; 20 minutes of careful work with a sharp chisel.Hinge in place

With the hardware in place we are ready for the finishing. I have decided to forgo my usual choice of beeswax and instead will apply several coats of Danish Oil. This should bring up the colours of the wood, especially the Yew. Before that however comes the sanding, down through the grit sizes to give the smoothest possible surface, I normally end up using 0000 gauge steel wool; just have to be extra careful on the Yew as there are cracks and knots that could trap the steel fibres. If you ever try this on Oak the trapped fibres turn the wood black.

Have a look in the ‘Boxes’ section to see the finished article.