Build the world’s easiest woodworking box


Woodworking boxes should be the first thing that every woodworker makes.

If you know how to make a woodworking box, then you will know how to create a wooden drawer, how to create cabinets, dressers, tables, and most wooden furniture items. This is because most furniture items are just variations of boxes. A cabinet is just a vertical box with doors and sectionals. A dresser is a vertical box with horizontal boxes in them. Some tables are variations of boxes.

In this article, I will go over how to create the world’s easiest woodworking box. I will then show you how to create a simple woodworking box that is slightly more complicated.

Directory

How to build the easiest woodworking box?

I will teach you how to make a simple 4×6″ wooden box. This box will utilize butt joints and will be the easiest box you can make.

Time to complete: 10 – 15 minutes

Materials:

  • 3ft of 1×4 wood
  • Wood glue
  • Right angle clamps
  • sand paper
  • Sander
  • Saw
  • Ruler

Steps:

  1. Cut 4 pieces of 6″ wood
  2. Cut 2 pieces of 2.5″ wood
  3. Sand the wood
  4. Glue the end grain of the 2 1/2″ wood to the 6″ wood
  5. Glue the bottom of the box to the frame
  6. Attach the top

Steps

Cut 4 pieces of 6″ wood and 2 pieces of 2.5″ wood.

  1. Using a ruler and pencil, mark the wood at the desired distance
  2. At that marked location, create a straight line
  3. Create a small notch on the side of the wood that you intend to use
  4. Using the saw of your choice, align the blade on the opposite side of the line
  5. Cut the wood
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for the other wood pieces

Sand the wood

  1. Using either a sanding block or random orbital sander to sand each wood piece with 220 grit sandpaper.

Glue the end grain of the 2 1/2″ wood to the 6″ wood

  1. Apply wood glue to the end grain of the 2.5″ wood
  2. Align the 2.5″ and 6″ wood at a right angle
  3. Secure the wood pieces using a right angle clamp
  4. Clean up any glue squeeze out with a damp rag
  5. Wait 5 – 12 minutes for the wood glue to dry
  6. Repeat steps 1-4 for the other corners

Glue the bottom of the box to the frame

  1. Apply wood glue to the bottom of the box frame
  2. Attach the bottom and secure it with clamps
  3. Clean up any glue squeeze out with a damp rag
  4. Wait 5-12 minutes for the wood glue to dry

Attach the top

How do you make a simple woodworking box

Time to complete:

Materials:

  • 3ft of 1×4 wood
  • Wood glue
  • Right angle clamps
  • Saw
  • Ruler
  • Marking gauge (optional)

Steps:

  1. Cut wood to size
    • Cut 3 pieces of 4×6″ wood
    • Cut 2 pieces of 4×3″ wood
    • Cut 1 piece of 3×5″ wood
  2. Cut the 6″ wood side notches
    • Mark the notch depth on 2 6″ wood pieces
    • Mark .75″ from the end grain on both sides for 2 pieces of the 6″ wood
    • Mark the notch thickness on the same 6″ wood pieces
    • Cut the 6″ wood side notches
  3. Cut the bottom notches
    • Mark the notch depth on the 2 6″ wood pieces and 2 3.5″ wood pieces
    • Markt the notch thickness on these wood pieces
    • Cut the bottom notches
  4. Cut the top notches
    • Mark the top notch depth
    • Mark the top notch thickness
    • Cut the top notches
  5. Glue the box sides
  6. Glue the box bottom
  7. Attach the box top

Steps

Cut wood to size

In this step, we will cut 3 pieces of 4×6″ wood, 2 pieces of 4×3″ wood, and 1 piece of 3×5″ wood.

The 3 4×6″ pieces of wood will be the front, back, and top of the box, the (2) 4×3″ pieces will be the sides of the box, and the one 3×5″ piece will be the bottom of the box.

  1. Using a ruler and pencil, mark the wood at the desired distance
    • For example, you will measure 6″ for the 3 pieces of wood, 3″ for the 2 pieces of wood, and 5″ for the one piece of wood.
    • Note: The one piece of wood will be later cut down to have the width of 3″.
  2. At that marked location, create a straight line
  3. Create a small notch on the side of the wood that you intend to use
  4. Using the saw of your choice, align the blade on the opposite side of the line
  5. Cut the wood
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for the other wood pieces

After you cut the length of all of the wood pieces, you will now need to cut 1 inch off of the width of the box bottom wood to make it 3×5″.

Cut the 6″ wood side notches

  1. Mark the notch depth of 3/4″ on 2 6″ wood pieces
  2. Mark .75″ from the end grain on both sides for 2 pieces of the 6″ wood
  3. Mark the notch thickness of 1/4″ on the same 6″ wood pieces
  4. Cut the 6″ wood side notches

Here you will mark 3/4″ for the notch depth for the two 6″ wood pieces and 1/4″ for the notch thickness using either a marking gauge or ruler. Then using either a handsaw or table saw, cut off the side notches for the wood pieces.

Cut the bottom notches

Here we will cut the notches for the bottom of the box.

  1. Mark the notch depth of 3/4″ on the (2) 6″ wood pieces and (2) 3.5″ wood pieces
  2. Markt the notch thickness 1/4″ on these wood pieces
  3. Cut the bottom notches

Just like the side notches, you will mark the notch depth and thickness. For the (2) 6″ and (2) 3.5″ wood pieces, mark the notch depth of 3/4″ and notch thickness of 1/4″. Using a handsaw or table saw, cut out the bottom notches.

Cut the top notches

In this part, we will cut the notches for the top of the wooden box.

  1. Mark the top notch depth
  2. Mark the top notch thickness
  3. Cut the top notches

On the extra 6″ wood piece, mark the notch depth of 3/4″ and notch thickness of 1/4″ all sides of the top. Then, using a handsaw or table saw, cut the notches out.

Glue the box sides

Add wood glue to the side rabbets/notches. Using a right angle clamp, secure the corners together. Clean up any glue squeezed out with a damp rag. Wait 5 – 12 minutes for the glue to dry.

Glue the box bottom

Add wood glue to the bottom rabbets/notches. Insert the bottom wood piece and secure the wood using a regular clamp. Clean up any glue squeezed out with a damp rag. Wait 5 – 12 minutes for the glue to dry.

Attach the box top

Types of woodworking boxes

There are many ways that you can create woodworking boxes. Above I demonstrated how to create a woodworking box using butt joints and rabbet joints.

You can however create woodworking boxes by using miters, dado, pocket hole, and dovetail joints.

There really is no ideal joint to use when creating woodwork boxes. Your joint preference will be largely due to the tools that you have on hand, aesthetics, and time to complete.

There are better joints for woodworking uses, however. For example, the dovetail joint is the best joint for drawer boxes because they are very strong against pulling force.

The joinery that you use for the average woodworking box will be largely due to your personal preference.

You can also create boxes by using inset and overlay lids along with other creative features.

Wooden box thickness

In the above tutorials, we used 1×4 wood. 1×4 wood has actual dimensions of .75 x 3.5″. Wooden boxes should not be thinner than 1/4″. Using 1/8″ wood for a wooden box build would simply be too thin to use proper joinery.

Wooden box wood types

To know which wood to use to make a box, you should consider the use of the box when choosing the wood type of your wooden box.

The common wood types that are used for wooden boxes are plywood and common softwood dimensional lumber, like pine. The properties and characteristic of softwood, hardwood, and particleboards are all different.

Softwood is generally easier to work with and hardwood is generally more durable. Particleboards like plywood are easy to work with and depending on the box size, quicker to build.

To learn more about the wood characteristics to help you in determining the best wood for your build, check out my article “Wood characteristics”.

Wooden box finish

Just like the wood type, the best finish for your wooden box will be largely based on the environmental conditions and its use.

The general finish for wooden boxes is polyurethane. It provides protection and enhances the color of the box.

If the box will be in a humid enviroment, then you should use a water-based top coat.

If you just want to enhance the color, then you should use shellac or varnish.

To learn more about finishes and their properties and uses, then you should check out my article “Finishes”.

Conclusion

In this article, we learned how to make the world’s easiest wooden box with butt joints. We also learned how to make a simple wooden box with rabbet joints. Afterwards, we learned about other box variations with different joinery, wood types, thickness, and finish.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and I wish you luck on your woodworking journeys!

Rachel

My name is Rachel Blanding and I am a woodworker. I started woodworking at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I mainly create and refurbish furniture and create art. In this site I will share with you the knowledge I have gained over the years, and what worked for me and what didn't.

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