Box Making with Jim Milam Featured at August Guild Meeting
shared his vast woodworking knowledge and experience, with a presentation on one of the more popular projects: Boxes. Styles of Boxes, coupled with a review of joinery choices and techniques, highlighted his presentation. Jim's excellent presentation was well organized, informative, and enjoyable. Thanks Jim !
Following is his outline, with a few added Notes taken at the Meeting:
What is a box? What Are its Uses / Purposes?
(Google search showed 4+ billion possible sites)
Definition = Container made of wood used to store something useful or valuable while at the same time displaying your woodworking skills. It may be used for:
• Gift or sale
• Utilitarian (tool box, kitchen/food storage, cedar chest)
• Dedicated use (cremation ashes, flag display, tea caddie, or jewelry box)
What Makes A Good Box?
• Design (proportions in balance, aesthetically & functionally pleasing)
• Material (wood) selection
• Craftsmanship (joinery & surface prep)
• Finish (finish should invite you to touch)
• Band sawn
• Joined of straight parts
• Miter (not reinforced)
• Spline miter
• Keyed miter
• Dovetail keyed miter
• Biscuit reinforced miter
• Miter reinforced w/ veneer
• Lock miter
• Finger joint
• Box joint
• Thru dovetail
• Half blind dovetail
• Double blind dovetail
Joint style choices, as well as species choices, give us many creative design options.
He highly recommended reinforcing miters for strength and longevity.
Veneer can be used for keyed miters. Use a blade, such as a dado blade, that results in a flat and square bottom.
He uses a 1/16 or 3/32 wide blade for thinner applications of splines and keys.
He uses a dedicated sled for consistently accurate miters on the table saw.
Also illustrated was his box joint jig, and he recommended that the end grain be slightly recessed for clamping the glue-up.
Showed and explained his jig for cutting miter splines.
In making a box with curved sides, whether concave of convex arcs, his fairing block for sanding (after excavating, spokeshaving, or band-sawing the arc) was shown. Maple strips, thinly ripped to allow flexibility, connected with a handle on each end with sticky sandpaper adhered to the face, work great in the final smoothing / preparation. Different thickness of maple result in varying flexibility of the fairing block.
For tracing curves, the maple strips can be attached with string to maintain the desired arc.
• Sliding lid box
• Ribbon handle box
• Heirloom music box
• Curved-lid treasure box
• Contoured keepsake box
• Tool chests
• Decorative keepsake box
• Modular shop storage boxes
• Routed box
2. FWW #201 article by Doug Stowe
3. DVD by Doug Stowe in WWG library
4. “The Basic Box” video by Ray Key published by Craft Supplies
• decorative wood boxes with lids
• artistic boxes
• decorative wooden box plans
• Wood magazine
In the Show 'N Tell page of this Month's Newsletter, see also the Boxes that were made and shared by various members that evening, in conjunction with Jim's Boxes presentation.