Making some trendy boxes

By | March 30, 2016

I made a couple of new friends recently who were also into DIY stuff, and one of them had a birthday coming up. She wanted to try and see if we could make some trendy boxes to use as a kind of stackable book case, and then when with handles so you could just pick them up and move if you felt like redecorating.

Starting from these boards...

Starting from these boards… Left side: rough. Right side: planed and sanded.

I liked the idea, and well, I still have plenty of pallet wood left to make stuff with. But the real challenge here was that I wanted to make these boxes fairly light, and that meant instead of using support planks at a right angle I wanted to use dowels. I could use arguments such as “dowels give more support than just glue” or “it’s stronger” or “less bulky than extra planks”… the truth is I just wanted to have a go at using dowels.

Gluing the last side

Gluing the last side for the first box.

To work with dowels, I made a jig a little while ago by following this youtube video here. However, I made mine a bit too big, and there was not enough room for the drill bit to go deep enough into the work-piece. Aside from the jig not working as I’d like, I was still making these boxes out of pallet wood, which had a lot of curve to it. No straight boards to work with. Even after planing and sanding, because when doing so I’m still just following the curvature of the boards. Instead I ended up drilling holes by eye-balling it. I put to boards together, glued them, and filled the inevitable space between them with sawdust/saw-chips and wood glue.

Almost done

First box almost done. We’ll be making two boxes in total.

I then cut the new boards as straight as I could and lined them up square in a box shape. I drilled pilot holes, screwed them all together, put them on top of some thin left over plywood sheet, and marked the bottom. I then measured 2 cm up from the bottom of the box, marked the sides, took the box apart again and ran a groove, or dato into the sides. The bottom piece would slot into this groove. Then I assembled everything again while adding glue.

Coating the box in linseed oil

Coating the box in linseed oil.

I left the glue to dry for a day and then I sanded everything smooth and put a coat of linseed oil on it. I hadn’t used linseed before, so I read up about how to use it. Some people think that you should mix linseed with terpentine to make it soak better into the wood. Apparently this is rubbish. Linseed oil is a very permeable substance, and will penetrate deep into the wood on it’s own. On top of that, Linseed oil is not toxic, while terpentine is. This was good news because coating something with linseed oil is as easy as just painting or rubbing some on your work piece.

One box, two boxes

One box, two boxes.


Second box made smooth

Second box made smooth and ready for a coat of linseed oil.

I had enough boards for 2, and I already glued the second set up, so while the first one was drying up, I made the second one the same way. I did spend more time on smoothing out the sides on the second box.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday!

Trendy boxes put to use

Trendy boxes put to use.

Then 2 days later, I gave them as a birthday present. My friend was really pleased with them 🙂

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