Box making and stock size

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CatButler

New User
Bryan
I want to start making storage boxes to practice making dovetails. I'm taking about smallish boxes with no side being longer than say 10". 3/4" looks to thick, 1/2 I think would be about right. Is there any good rule of thumb on the right thickness of stock to use for the size of the box?
 

Trent Mason

New User
Trent Mason
I'm looking forward to seeing some of the replies to this thread as I'd like to make my first box pretty soon as well. 1/2" seems like an ideal thickness to me for trying dovetails. Hopefully my next attempts will be better than my first attempt. :swoon: :thumbs_do:thumbs_do
 

Joe Scharle

Joe
Corporate Member
1/2" or even 3/8" would be my choice for smallish boxes. When I was a kid, cigar boxes (Cubans anyway) were 1/8" mahogany with the same sized box joints.
 

red

Papa Red
Red
Senior User
I always dovetailed my drawers and used 1/2" stock for any drawer I built.

Red
 

eyekode

New User
Salem
I would say 3/8 to 1/2" as well. To start out I would first practice cutting straight and to a line. So mark the depth on a piece of squared off scrap, put it in your vise and just cut down straight to the line. Check all faces with a square to see how you did. Do this until you can consistently stop before the line and cut straight down.

For your first dovetails poplar is about the most forgiving. You would think pine would be easier but it tears out so bad. You really need sharp chisels :). Not that pine is awful to start out with. You could use that as well.

I know you are primarily a hand tool user which means prepping square "scraps" is a little bit of work. If you want some come on over and we will joint/plane some real quick.

And don't feel bad if it takes you longer than Rob Cosman :). It takes me 30 minutes to do the same job he does in 3! (not that I am any good at this either).

Oh and for a good project how about a cabinet for your hand tools?

Salem
 

CatButler

New User
Bryan
I would say 3/8 to 1/2" as well. To start out I would first practice cutting straight and to a line. So mark the depth on a piece of squared off scrap, put it in your vise and just cut down straight to the line. Check all faces with a square to see how you did. Do this until you can consistently stop before the line and cut straight down.

For your first dovetails poplar is about the most forgiving. You would think pine would be easier but it tears out so bad. You really need sharp chisels :). Not that pine is awful to start out with. You could use that as well.

I know you are primarily a hand tool user which means prepping square "scraps" is a little bit of work. If you want some come on over and we will joint/plane some real quick.

And don't feel bad if it takes you longer than Rob Cosman :). It takes me 30 minutes to do the same job he does in 3! (not that I am any good at this either).

Oh and for a good project how about a cabinet for your hand tools?

Salem

I was looking at my few boards of popular all were ~ 4/4. :eusa_doh:I hate to blow away 1/4-1/2+ on saw dust or shavings.

I may take you up on that.

I once saw Franz Klaus, a big bow saw user knock them out in 3 minutes. Amazing. I may try his method, he doesn't eve bother to mark the tails. When he cuts/chisels, it looks like he is using styrofoam. I can't seem to knock out in 10 blows what he does in one.

Thanks
 

bwat

New User
Bill
Not sure what you mean by "storage boxes" but the "golden ratio" of 1.618 to 1 (length to width) will serve you well in most applications.
 

jhreed

New User
james
Joe, when you and I were kids, shotgun shells came in wooden boxes with box joint joinery and sliding dovetail tops. Today, the box is worth more than the shotgun shells.
James
 

bash

New User
bash
I made a few small bible boxes early this year for the same purpose - to learn to cut dovetails. I used 1/4" stock for the sides and bottoms and 3/8" for the tops. The boxes were ~10.5" x 8" x 2.75" deep. I also made wooden hinges for another learning experience. I made most of them from cherry, but also a couple from red elm. There are a couple other images in the gallery (but one has box joints rather than dovetails).

IMG_1078.JPG

View image in gallery
 

Alan in Little Washington

Alan Schaffter
Corporate Member
I saw Frank Klauz cut dovetails with his bow saw also- he uses a special blade, but is amazing to watch any way.

As to the size of dovetails, if you are making through dovetails the thickness of the stock definitely makes a difference. The size of the dovetails should be in harmony with the thickness of the sides. Box (finger) joints are more forgiving of a range of sizes.
 

steviegwood

New User
Steven
I made a few small bible boxes early this year for the same purpose - to learn to cut dovetails. I used 1/4" stock for the sides and bottoms and 3/8" for the tops. The boxes were ~10.5" x 8" x 2.75" deep. I also made wooden hinges for another learning experience. I made most of them from cherry, but also a couple from red elm. There are a couple other images in the gallery (but one has box joints rather than dovetails).

Love the look of the box but am interested in your technique on the wooden hinges. How about a how too demo? PLEASE? Steve :gar-La;
 

CatButler

New User
Bryan
That's a great looking box bash, and I love the hinges.

I made a few small bible boxes early this year for the same purpose - to learn to cut dovetails. I used 1/4" stock for the sides and bottoms and 3/8" for the tops. The boxes were ~10.5" x 8" x 2.75" deep. I also made wooden hinges for another learning experience. I made most of them from cherry, but also a couple from red elm. There are a couple other images in the gallery (but one has box joints rather than dovetails).

 
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