Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sliding Lid Box

Making a sliding lid candle box is a fairly easy project. Still, decisions need to be made regarding joinery.

If you research boxes from prior centuries, you'll find ones that are mitered, rabbeted, dovetailed, and butt-joined.

Then there's the question of how to attach the bottom.

Pennsylvania Germans normally nailed or pegged the bottom board onto boxes and drawers, but if you prefer the look of a concealed bottom, you'll need to cut grooves.

If you cut the groove with an electric router, you can make stopped cuts, which means the groove will be completely hidden.

You can also make stopped cuts if you use a chisel, scratch stock, or router plane (and probably a bunch of other ways).

However, if you want to use a plough plane, you'll need to think about the inevitable holes that will result from cutting the full length of the side pieces.

I used a rabbet joint for the back of the box, so the holes disappeared in the groove. However, cutting a rabbet joint in the front of the box is a little tricky when you factor in the groove for the lid.

So, I chose to use a butt joint instead, which left two square holes right in front of the box.

Shape the pegs to fit with an inverted
plane. You'll want to be careful with
that exposed blade.
It's not difficult to cut perfectly square pegs by hand. But if you don't have a plough plane, you can saw or split pegs, then invert a block plane in your vise and shape them to fit.

The box above was made for a friend who loves chip carving and PA German pieces, and who wrote a nice article about me in a local paper (below).

The editor of the paper removed a couple key things that I feel are important lest it give readers the impression that I build high-end pieces, which I obviously do not.

So, I edited the attached—thank you, Photoshop—and my revisions are in red. The text that's been covered with a red bar toward the end of the article is a statement that a good friend made that was way way way too generous. Thanks just the same, Alan.

The dovetailed box in the last image was one that I made at a demonstration, so it's not perfect, but certainly good enough to house scratch stock in my shop.

Feel free to share your methods for concealing the groove—preferably without the use of electric—and another way that you would make these boxes.

I can't think of an easy way to cut a rabbet joint at the front of the box because of the groove for the lid, so I'd love to hear your ideas.