Bandsaw Boxes, Part 2
When I left off last week, I was glueing together pieces of a weird shaped box that I eneded up not liking at all. As a result I didn’t take any more pictures of the production of that box. What a bad tutorial! Instead I’ve drawn out the steps involved in building a simple bandsaw box with one drawer. With a few variations in the steps you can make a box that opens with a top lid, has multiple drawers, a hinged door or sliding lid, or hidden drawers and compartments.
At this point there is still a lot of sanding, glue clean-up, and finish work to do. You may also want to glue on drawer pulls (or they can be cut out of the face of the drawer). One thing to be careful of is not over-sanding the pieces. You don’t want to take away too much material, or the drawers will fit loosely. At the same time, you want smooth surfaces so drawers and lids operate nicely. You also need to be aware of which point in the process you sand the pieces. Don’t sand faces that are going to be glued back on to their original mate. For example, don’t sand the insides of the front and back faces of the box until after they are glued back onto the case. This makes it difficult to sand the inside of the box, but it will result in cleaner joints and less visible glue lines. Try to use only enough glue to cover the surface of the area being clamped. You want full coverage without too much extra to clean up. When assembling the box, use a piece of paper or very thin wood shaving to apply a thin line of glue inside the starting cut line, and clamp the box together at the sides as well as from the top and bottom. The best time to clean up excess glue with a small knife or scraper is as soon as it starts to harden. You can also sand if off, though it can be stubborn. When you apply finish, any glue spots will stand out from the rest of the piece.
Here is an example of a more involved design. The original wood used for this box was a scrap of cedar glued between two pieces of poplar. The top drawer has a removable box inside. This box is made by following the same basic steps, using the piece of wood cut out from the main drawer as the starting block. The lid fits tightly onto the small box because a slice of the piece cut out from inside the box is glued to the underside of the lid.
And if you’re wondering what happened to the box I started in the first installment of this tutorial, here it is. I call it the Chicken and Egg box because that’s what it looks like to me. It can be used standing up like a chest or laid flat like a box. The wood is cedar, but I finished the egg with a clear salad bowl finish and the main box with a darker walnut stain. Both pieces got a few coats of shellac to protect and shine the wood after the finish was applied. A few notes about why I don’t like this box: the egg doesn’t have any lid or door, I should have made the drawer in the main compartment full size rather than a small compartment, there are a lot of leftover glue spots and I barely bothered to sand the insides at all. But there you have it, they’re not all favorites.