Bandsaw Boxes, Part 1

These are called bandsaw boxes because they’re made primarily on the bandsaw. Following the same basic principles, you can made a lot of different styles of boxes and small chests of drawers out of a single block of wood. This is also a great use for scraps, which can be glued up into a larger block with interesting color and grain variations. Here are a few of my boxes that were around the house. There’s a good range of shape, size, style, wood species, and finishes.

An assortment of bandsaw boxes, closed and opened.

An assortment of bandsaw boxes, closed and opened.

Things to consider in building a bandsaw box are whether you want a lid or drawers (and how many), how you want them to function, and what shapes you’ll be able to create on the bandsaw. Very tight curves may be difficult or impossible to achieve. Usually I let the block of wood influence the design. Sometimes “mistakes” I make change the design or function of the box as well. It’s a forgiving project. Here are two basic box designs- drawer and fitted lid. They have been glued up, but you can still clearly see the cuts and pencil marks. For a traditional drawer, after cutting the outline of the box, you remove only the back side of the box, then cut the drawer shape before removing the front side of the box. For a box with a fitted top lid, you cut off the top and bottom of the box first, then cut out the interior shape.

two simple boxes

Step One:
Determine the design of your box, and pencil it onto the face of the wood. My idea here is to have the egg shape separate from the main box, so I cut it out completely at this step.

Bandsaw Box construction

Step Two:
Think of these pieces as box and drawer, or a box within a box. Draw lines dividing the front and back faces of each piece, and cut them off with the bandsaw. Set aside the fronts and backs for now, but keep them in order and don’t let them get chipped or banged around. You need to be able to glue them back on just as they came off.

Step Three:
Draw the inside space of your box/drawer. Remember that you’ll lose some thickness to each blade cut and more to sanding, so don’t make the sides too thin. At this point you need to cut through the side in at least one place. That cut can be incorporated into the design or glued back together, but it will still be noticeable. Think about ways to minimize its appearance. The pieces here are ready to be glued up.

bandsaw box step 3

Step Four:
For this box, the egg shape will be a simple open box that nests inside the larger shape, which will have a small drawer. This last photo shows those two pieces being glued up, and a hint of the drawer assembly trailing off to the right.
bandsaw boxes tbc