How to make a basic box. And why you need to know how. | Woodworking BASICS.

Just about everything you could build
starts with knowing how to make a basic box. Whether you're making cabinets or
drawers or bookcases, desks, beds, they're all just variations on the humble box. This is a great first project if you're just getting into woodworking. And
there's lots and lots of ways to make boxes with all different kinds of
joinery but in this video I'll show you the simple rabbet joint method I use
almost every time. It's quick. It's strong. It gives you nice square corners without
a lot of fuss. Hey welcome to Woodworking for Mere Mortals where it's my goal to
take the mystery out of woodworking and teach you how to build your own projects
without a lot of space or expensive tools. You can get started today by
downloading my free guide to setting up shop for under $1000 at For this demonstration I'm gonna be using regular three-quarter inch lumber
that's available at any Home Center. Aesthetically speaking, smaller boxes
will look nicer with thinner lumber but making thinner boards is a topic for
another video. And if you'd like to make this exact box, I've got free plans down
in the description.

I'll be able to build this box using this single board. First
thing I want to do is crosscut the four sides to their lengths. These final two
cuts are gonna be the lid. I'll set those aside for now. Next I want to rip all of
the sides down to the same width. A lot of you probably already know when I rip
boards I like to clean up one side first then flip it around and rip it to its
exact width. I want to go ahead and glue up the two pieces that make up the lid
now so that they'll have time to dry. And all I'm gonna do is shave a little bit
off of each edge so they'll fit nicely together.

The secret to edge joining boards is you
just don't want to clamp them down really tight. Just a real gentle clamping
will do it. Otherwise they can buckle. Then you want to look down the edge and
make sure that it's not curved. I can see it's bending a little bit on this one
so I'll just straighten that up with a couple of cauls. These are just boards
where I've got some packing tape on them so that the glue doesn't stick. That
flattens it out. So that's it! Seems kind of silly to use so many
clamps for such a small glue up but each of these clamps is really important. And
when you're gluing up panels what you're looking for is a small bead of
glue squeezing out and that just means you've got enough glue in the joint.

I'll let that dry for a while. There's basically four different methods for
cutting rabbets. The first method is to use a router table with a straight bit
in your router if you don't have a router or a router table. The second
method would be to use a stack of dado blades in your table saw. Some places you
can't get dado blades and if you don't have any dado blades, a third solution
would be to use a single blade and make two cuts.

One going this way, and the
other cleaning up that shoulder this way. That method is a little tricky for
beginner woodworkers. I don't recommend it. It requires a special
setup and it can be a little bit dangerous. So what I'm gonna do is the
simplest method for making rabbets and dados using a single blade and just
multiple passes. The first thing you're gonna want to do is clamp a board to
your rip fence. This is a sacrificial fence and it'll let you come right in to
your saw blade without damaging your actual rip fence. The next thing you're
gonna want to do is lower your blade down to half the thickness of the board
you're gonna cut. It doesn't necessarily have to be exact but I like to get as
close as possible. I'll cut the rabbets on the ends of the two longer pieces so
that the short pieces fit completely within that rabbet. In other words the
width of the rabbit needs to be three-quarters of an inch the thickness
of a board. To make this cut you'll be using both the miter gauge and the RIP
fence together.

In this situation, since it's not a through cut
it's not going to go completely through the board. This is a safe method. Never
use the miter gauge and a rip fence in combination if you're going to be cross
cutting cutting completely through the board because that is just inviting
kickback which can throw that cutoff piece right back at you. So again for
this situation and for cutting dados, it's fine to use both. So this is real
simple I'll just start at the end of the board and start making cuts advancing
the board forward each cut until it stops at the rip fence.

One thing people sometimes point out is
that by using a regular table saw blade to make dados and rabbets that you can't
get a completely flat surface you'll be left with little ridges. And they do make
special flat toothed saw blades just for that purpose. I've never owned one
because I've never seen any reason for it. I get perfectly fine results with a
regular saw blade sometimes there's a few ridges in there I can sand those
down. If I don't want to sand them down they still hold it just as well. And
right about now you're gonna be super excited to see how this all goes
together so go ahead give it a test drive. Now I can change my setup to cut
the long rabbets along one long edge of each piece to hold the bottom panel in
place. I won't be needing a miter gauge for these cuts and I will be needing the
sacrificial fence for these cuts. And that's because I'll be doing them kind
of opposite of the way I did these end rabbets.

This time I'm gonna start with
the fence up close and then slowly work it further and further away until I get
a good fit I'm going to use this half-inch plywood for my base so I'll
start with the blade right up against that board. I'll make one pass over the
blade with each piece then move the fence over a little bit at a time until
I get a good fit for that bottom panel. So when you think you're getting close
to the final width of that rabbet you want to test it against your actual
bottom panel to make sure that you're not going too far. So here I can tell
that I still have a little bit further I could do like half a blades thickness. To get a good fit on that bottom panel
I like to cut it to size by first dry fitting all of the side pieces together. If you have one of these strap clamps it makes this process a lot easier.

I highly
recommend getting one of these. I've had this one for probably fifteen years and
I can't tell you how many hundreds and hundreds of times I've used it. But if
you don't have one you can just use some regular bar clamps on the sides. Rather
than use a tape measure I usually like to just make a mark where I need to cut
it. I'll cut this a little oversize to start with so that I can nibble it down
to a perfect fit.

The bottom panel will help keep the box
square while you're gluing it up so I like to glue together all the sides and
the bottom at the same time. Another reason I like to use rabbet joints is
that there's a lot of surface area for the glue that makes it a really strong
joint. And you want to make sure that you get glue on both surfaces.

This one and
that shoulder piece. And I'm not putting any glue on that bottom rabbet just yet
it won't hurt if a little bit gets on there. Now I can put the glue in this
rabbet. And like everything else I'm not putting
a lot of pressure on these clamps. Now I can see how the lid turned out. Nice, now
all I need to do is cut that down to its final size but I think I'll wait until
this is dry so that I can get a good measurement. I'm gonna make my lid a little bit
bigger than the box so that there's a lip all the way around. If you want you
could make it the exact same size as the box. And I'll kind of wrap it on all four
edges just like I did before.

this is a free paint stirring stick that
I've glued a couple of pieces of sandpaper to and it's really handy for
sanding rabbets..

As found on YouTube

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