Simple Box Making

To make a simple box from a tree limb about the size of the box. I use this method when the wood on the outside of the box does not have much grain you are trying to match the lid and box together on. Chuck the limb between centers and turn it round and make a tenon on the end. Now chuck that wood into the chuck and you are ready to start. I use a 3/8" spindle gouge starting at the center of the round and dragging the cut outward to make the hollow area under the lid.

I use a berdan tool , but a parting tool would work too, to cut the rim for the bottom of the lid.

Use a parting tool to cut the length for the lid. Make sure you cut so there is wood left on the top of the lid.

The back to the 3/8" spindle gouge to start the rounding of the lid. Round the edge and top sides you can see done in the next step.

Use the parting tool to cut the partial shaped lid from the block.

Use the parting tool to make the tenon on the end of the block to fit the lid tight. Cut a little then try the fit, work up to the point where the lid fits tight, maybe even using the handle of a tool to tap it on. But not too tight or you can crack the lid. If it is a little loose a paper towel over the block the put the lid on. Just tear off the excess towel and it can flop around for now.

Use the spindle gouge again to round off the top of the lid.

If the lid is tight you can use a skew to pry it off with a little at a time from opposite sides. If it is real tight you can now just touch the tenon to make the lid fit tight, but not so loose it falls off. Set the lid aside.

Again the gouge is used to start in the center with the tip pointed down, then as you push it into the block lower the handle bringing the tip up as you push it in. Keep taking cuts until the box is the depth you want. Light scraping you can clean out the box.

After the hollow is started good I will start the cut on the outside edge and push it into the bottom of the box. Push in cutting and then pull out cutting as shown above.

Continue until you have just a small tenon on the rim of the box.

Then I use a cheap plastic caliper to measure the depth. Transfer that measurement to the outside of the box. Then use the parting tool and start a cut on the bottom of the box. Be sure to add a little length to the measurement so there is wood left on the bottom of the box. We don't want to make a funnel at this point.

Cut about 1/2 to 3/4 to depth. Then back to the spindle gouge and round out the top area. Then round out the bottom area.

Finish up the side of the box to the desired shape. Then use the parting tool and cut the box off of the block. As you make this bottom cut angle the parting tool a little into the center of the box. Is what you are trying to do is make the bottom of the box a little concave so it will sit flat on the table.

When the box is off then I use a carving chisel to trim the nub off.

Your box is complete.