A Mitered Corner Box

Most people don’t think much about boxes.We think about shapes and sizes based on what we plan to store in them. That’s about it. But, if you look around most of what we see are based on cube-ish shapes. Houses. Cabinets. Storage boxes. Cars. The list goes on.

Yesterday, we took a brief detour from shop related stuff we were doing to build a couple of boxes. They were mostly for fun, but we were also testing out how we were going to prepare them for finishing. Many  items we will be producing in the future revolve around box shapes, so building a box  is a fundamental woodworking skill.

The boxes we chose to make were simple mitered corner boxes. This is one of the more basic designs. Four sides are cut at 45 degrees so they meet up at perfect right angles to each other. A part of the challenge is to make sure that the wood is of even thickness and dead flat. The other challenge is to ensure that the cuts are exactly 45 degrees. If any of the preceding are off, the box has unsightly gaps.

The miter joints that make up the box we made aren’t the strongest. On the plus side, they don’t show any end grain. On the minus side, if one isn’t careful about priming the joint with glue seize the end grain can suck up all the glue, weakening the joint and causing it to fail or swelling the wood, thereby throwing off the geometry of the box. This was a test for us in many respects.

Since we were making a couple of these boxes, we figured we’d take a couple of pictures to show you what the process looks like.


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