I started with a beautiful, fairly straight sapele board. The whole box is made from this one board.
One part of the board will become the sides and the other is reserved for the bottom and lid.
First step for making the sides: get the board to the right thickness.
Setting up the machines takes a while. Getting each cut right is important, otherwise the pieces may not fit. It’s also important to mark each side after it’s squared up so you know you’re keeping it square with each step.
I cut the sides of the box so that the grain of the wood wraps around. It’s a cool effect!
When I set up the sides of the box to check the fit, the miters didn’t sit flush with each other. The instructor reassured me that would be fixed when the box was glued.
Top make the bottom and top of the box, I ripped the leftover piece of wood on the band saw. The band saw is the machine that most intimidates me. Fortunately I was able to get a straight cut! With more practice, I’ll get more confident using it.
Once I had the bottom jointed and planed, I tested the fit with the sides. This forced the miters to sit correctly; huge relief!
The bottom fits nicely in the sides. It’s a bit loose so the wood has room to expand. Too tight and the sides may crack.
I glued the miters together and squared it up before letting the glue cure.
Now to make the lid! Adding the rabbets was pretty easy; it was done with the dado blade, just like the dadoes on the top of the sides.
I cut the lid down to size, again leaving some wiggle room so the wood can expand.
We had some extra time in class, everyone finished the box early! As a bonus, we learned how to add splines. They’re partly for decoration, and partly to add strength to the glued miter joints.
I cut into the side of the box: not all the way through. The splines are super-glued in. If we’d had more time, I would have used wood glue.
Using a Japanese flush-cut saw, I removed the excess spline material. We didn’t finish the box in class. There was still some sanding left to do before cleaning the surface and sealing it.
I sanded the box and applied two coats of sealer. It really highlights the grain of the wood! It’s incredible how different the wood looks once it’s been sealed.
I’m really happy with how the box turned out. It was a fun first woodworking project. I’m not sure what to use it for yet. For now, probably just decoration.