Gonna try a box again, how best to do the lid.

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Rorton

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Past couple of attempts at lidded boxes have caused the lid to warp, want to have another go, but conscious of the lid problems I had in the past so working out how to do this better.

my last boxes have been made from 4 sides, with a groove cut in top and bottom about 6mm from each edge , plywood base, and then hardwood usually glued together to form a panel. Then cut the lid from the box. Last time I messed up and didn’t float the lid In the groove so caused the warp.

is this still the right way to go about it. Is 6mm about as thick as I should go with a floating panel.

I did think about a ply panel in the top groove with a veneer, bu I don’t have any veneer so wanted to use what I had.

Lots of great looking boxes I’ve seen which searching the site tonight, but not a lot of tips on how they are made.
 

Blackswanwood

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If I understand correctly you edge joint a couple of pieces together to make a panel for the lid. I find thin stock is prone to warp a bit and would use more pieces with less width making sure the orientation of the growth rings in the end grain alternate. When bringing the panel down to thickness I would take an equal amount off each face.

An alternative is as you say to create a stable panel by veneering a piece of ply or mdf. If you veneer both sides it will not warp - applying veneer to just one side it will.

Cheers
 

Rorton

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yeah where I don't have a piece the correct size I will edge joint to make a big enough panel - I can do thicker if that helps/is better, I wondered if being thicker gave the wood more strength so more prone to warp.

Based on this being a jewellery box size project, so 300mm x 200mm type box, does it matter which way the edge jointed pieces for the lid run? Should I have multiple 300mm lengths, or multiple 200mm lengths or does it not matter apart from aesthetics?

Based on a 300x200 lid, and having multiple 300 mm lengths, how many would you suggest to form the 200mm, is 4 x 50mm pieces still too wide?
 

marcros

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what wood are you using for your sides?

I was kindly given some veneer, I can probably find you enough for a couple of box lids in something that will either compliment or contrast with what you are using (you will need to veneer both sides of the lid).
 

Blackswanwood

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yeah where I don't have a piece the correct size I will edge joint to make a big enough panel - I can do thicker if that helps/is better, I wondered if being thicker gave the wood more strength so more prone to warp.

Based on this being a jewellery box size project, so 300mm x 200mm type box, does it matter which way the edge jointed pieces for the lid run? Should I have multiple 300mm lengths, or multiple 200mm lengths or does it not matter apart from aesthetics?

Based on a 300x200 lid, and having multiple 300 mm lengths, how many would you suggest to form the 200mm, is 4 x 50mm pieces still too wide?
As with a lot of woodworking answers I think the answer includes ”it depends”!

Warping is caused by the timber drying out at different rates hence taking the same amount off on each side can help avoid this. I would have thought 50mm pieces would be okay but if it is not quartersawn make sure the growth rings alternate.

Cheers
 

Rorton

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what wood are you using for your sides?

I was kindly given some veneer, I can probably find you enough for a couple of box lids in something that will either compliment or contrast with what you are using (you will need to veneer both sides of the lid).

ah many thanks that's very kind - I was planning on walnut, maybe oak, but probably walnut, then maybe some accent pieces of maple for splines if I mitre the corners - I have some mahogany, walnut, maple and oak bits kicking around.

If doing a veneered lid, im guessing I don't have to sink the lid so far into to the box (ie into a groove) and could glue it flush with the top of the sides
 

NickM

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ah many thanks that's very kind - I was planning on walnut, maybe oak, but probably walnut, then maybe some accent pieces of maple for splines if I mitre the corners - I have some mahogany, walnut, maple and oak bits kicking around.

If doing a veneered lid, im guessing I don't have to sink the lid so far into to the box (ie into a groove) and could glue it flush with the top of the sides

Veneered panel for the lid is probably the best way to go. You need to veneer both sides of the lid or else it will warp.

If you want the panel flush with the sides, then you will likely have to put an inlay to hide the joint between the lid and the sides. This box is made in that way (this is before finishing). I'm not sure what the best way is of doing the inlay, but I used a very small fluted up cutter in a dremmel for which I have a small router base. It's fiddly and a bit nerve-wracking but it seems to work.
IMG_8362.jpeg
 

Hornbeam

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I have some oak veneer I can send you if you want to do a veneered ply lid.
I think you need to consider the whole construction so for a box of that size I would use around 12mm thick for the sides. How are you jointing the corners?
If the top is solid, I would say around 9-12mm thick with a fielded edge, fitted into a groove all round about 4-6mm wide, 4mm deep and at least 4mm down from the top ( the fielded effect means that the centre panel can sit level with the sides). You need to allow for expansion and contraction across the grain so around 1mm loose fit and centre glue panel with PVA. I would always run the grain along the length of teh box to minimise the x grain movement. Quarter sawn is best to minimise warping. When cutting off the top section of teh box I would look to have a total lid 23 - 30 mm deep. This should then be plenty strong enough to resist the warping forces from the inset panel
If the top is veneered ply or mdf, you can either set it into a groove or a rebate all the way round and fully glued in. I think set into a groove is better but then to get a flush fit you will need to rebate the top all round. I would use 9mm birch ply, which will finish around 10mm after veneering. This then gives a 5mm groove set 5mm down with a 5mm rebate around the lid. I think the veneered approach generally gives a better looking box and will also be stronger
Best of luck
Ian
 

Jacob

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Past couple of attempts at lidded boxes have caused the lid to warp, want to have another go, but conscious of the lid problems I had in the past so working out how to do this better.

my last boxes have been made from 4 sides, with a groove cut in top and bottom about 6mm from each edge , plywood base, and then hardwood usually glued together to form a panel. Then cut the lid from the box. Last time I messed up and didn’t float the lid In the groove so caused the warp.

is this still the right way to go about it. Is 6mm about as thick as I should go with a floating panel.

I did think about a ply panel in the top groove with a veneer, bu I don’t have any veneer so wanted to use what I had.

Lots of great looking boxes I’ve seen which searching the site tonight, but not a lot of tips on how they are made.

As a toymaker years ago I made 100s of boxes for jackinaboxes. They were about 5" cube with all 6 sides about 1/4" thick. Sides were tongue and groove together - done over top of a TS. Top and bottom were glued straight on. Lid was band sawn off about 3/4".
Never a problem with shrinkage.
Made quite a few larger ones to same spec, ditto. no prob
I think maybe you should think of the lid as essentially a solid piece with a rim left after separating it, rather than as a (fragile) frame with a panel inserted. In other words keep it simple!
You could still fancy it up with DTs , inlays, banding, veneers, marquetry, whatever
 

Rorton

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I have some oak veneer I can send you if you want to do a veneered ply lid.
I think you need to consider the whole construction so for a box of that size I would use around 12mm thick for the sides. How are you jointing the corners?
If the top is solid, I would say around 9-12mm thick with a fielded edge, fitted into a groove all round about 4-6mm wide, 4mm deep and at least 4mm down from the top ( the fielded effect means that the centre panel can sit level with the sides). You need to allow for expansion and contraction across the grain so around 1mm loose fit and centre glue panel with PVA. I would always run the grain along the length of teh box to minimise the x grain movement. Quarter sawn is best to minimise warping. When cutting off the top section of teh box I would look to have a total lid 23 - 30 mm deep. This should then be plenty strong enough to resist the warping forces from the inset panel
If the top is veneered ply or mdf, you can either set it into a groove or a rebate all the way round and fully glued in. I think set into a groove is better but then to get a flush fit you will need to rebate the top all round. I would use 9mm birch ply, which will finish around 10mm after veneering. This then gives a 5mm groove set 5mm down with a 5mm rebate around the lid. I think the veneered approach generally gives a better looking box and will also be stronger
Best of luck
Ian
thank you Ian, much appreciated. would love to try the oak

I was going to go with Walnut sides, 12mm is no problem, and last box I did was mitred with splines, so will either do that again, or finger joints with the kerf of a 3mm saw blade - keep looking at these smaller 6mm grooving blades, may get one. Not man enough for dovetails yet :)

A fielded edge, like a raised panel door? I could bevel the edge of a 12mm top to reduce the side to fit in the groove, but always wondered that there won't be a lot of wood sitting in the groove because of the angle (unlike a tongue) are raised panels normally flat where they sit in the groove and then bevel up from there?(seen special router bits that do this. Maybe for this one, if doing a solid lid I go for a flat panel and float it in the groove, based on that, is 9-12mm solid still an OK thickness? last attempt at a bevel in a groove I came unstuck :) I should try both really, one with veneer and one with solid wood, can at least prep the material for 2.

I have some 6mm normal ply, 6mm mdf and 12mm birch ply to hand

Do I need special glue for the veneer, I have Titebond1 and 3 to hand.
 

Jacob

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thank you Ian, much appreciated. would love to try the oak

I was going to go with Walnut sides, 12mm is no problem, and last box I did was mitred with splines, so will either do that again, or finger joints with the kerf of a 3mm saw blade - keep looking at these smaller 6mm grooving blades, may get one. Not man enough for dovetails yet :)

A fielded edge, like a raised panel door? I could bevel the edge of a 12mm top to reduce the side to fit in the groove, but always wondered that there won't be a lot of wood sitting in the groove because of the angle (unlike a tongue) are raised panels normally flat where they sit in the groove and then bevel up from there?(seen special router bits that do this. Maybe for this one, if doing a solid lid I go for a flat panel and float it in the groove, based on that, is 9-12mm solid still an OK thickness? last attempt at a bevel in a groove I came unstuck :) I should try both really, one with veneer and one with solid wood, can at least prep the material for 2.

I have some 6mm normal ply, 6mm mdf and 12mm birch ply to hand

Do I need special glue for the veneer, I have Titebond1 and 3 to hand.
Fielded panels done by hand are almost always just a simple taper, very quick and easy, though there are moulding planes to do a tongue, like machined floating panels.
If you are sticking with 12mm sides and slots I'd have a 6mm thick lid panel in a 6mm slot, no taper, then the panel would be less likely to be able to distort the whole lid.
PS grain going longest way.
 

Rorton

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thanks Jacob, sorry, didn't get chance to reply to your other message first! Were your jack in a box boxes all hardwood then, no ply? Do you think because there was some 'meat' left in the sides when you cut the top off that helps? the box where I glued the lid pretty much to the sides saw it warping
 

Sgian Dubh

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You may remember the sketch below that I provided in a previous thread you initiated, and it is a valid methodology for making a lid look thicker than it actually is. Making it thin at its centre part means that cross grain cupping is relatively weak meaning the lid less likely to distort the box sides.

dbl-tong-lid-web.jpg

The images below from a box I made 35 - 40 years ago (a gift to a family member now dead) use exactly the methodology sketched above. As can be seen, the box shows signs of its age, use, and damage. Poplar, cherry, and a bit of rosewood for the finger lift.

This methodology is neither the 'right way' or the 'wrong way'. It's just one of several solutions for making box lids. Slainte.

Box-Lid-5-700px-web.jpg


Box-Lid-5-open-700px-web.jpg
 

Jacob

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thanks Jacob, sorry, didn't get chance to reply to your other message first! Were your jack in a box boxes all hardwood then, no ply? Do you think because there was some 'meat' left in the sides when you cut the top off that helps? the box where I glued the lid pretty much to the sides saw it warping
No prob.
Basically dry stuff should be OK for small boxes. A photo of your bendy box might help?
 

Rorton

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You may remember the sketch below that I provided in a previous thread you initiated, and it is a valid methodology for making a lid look thicker than it actually is. Making it thin at its centre part means that cross grain cupping is relatively weak meaning the lid less likely to distort the box sides.


The images below from a box I made 35 - 40 years ago (a gift to a family member now dead) use exactly the methodology sketched above. As can be seen, the box shows signs of its age, use, and damage. Poplar, cherry, and a bit of rosewood for the finger lift.

This methodology is neither the 'right way' or the 'wrong way'. It's just one of several solutions for making box lids. Slainte.


Hi, yep I do thanks, for what I had in mind I was trying to keep the lid panel at, or below the height of the sides - im guessing I could use a router to just hog out the centre section - does there have to be a curve where the thinner material meets the thick, or can it be a clean stepped transition (ie using a straight router bit instead of round nose/box cutter) box has really stood upto the test of time there,
 

Rorton

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No prob.
Basically dry stuff should be OK for small boxes. A photo of your bendy box might help?
yeah its in this thread


I messed up by gluing the solid panel in after I butchered the groove - having said that, the replacement lid I made just so I had a finished product has also warped a little even when trying to get quarter sawn pieces best I could.
 

Sgian Dubh

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... does there have to be a curve where the thinner material meets the thick, or can it be a clean stepped transition (ie using a straight router bit instead of round nose/box cutter).
I'd say there isn't really a right or wrong way to form the transition. It could be curved as I did, which is pretty normal, or you could do sharp and square. Having said that, I wouldn't choose the sharp square option, just because I don't like the idea of the visual appearance. I hog out the bulk with a router and a large diameter bottom cutting bit, a nosing bit for the curved transition from one level to the other, plus a bit of gouge and bench chisel work, and sanding, quite a lot of hand sanding, to be honest. The modern way would be to chuck the lid on to a CNC machine to do all the exterior profiles and scoop out the recess which would just leaving a bit of sanding, ha, ha. Slainte.
 

Jacob

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yeah its in this thread


I messed up by gluing the solid panel in after I butchered the groove - having said that, the replacement lid I made just so I had a finished product has also warped a little even when trying to get quarter sawn pieces best I could.
Grain going wrong way - would distort less if lengthways?
After gluing up that top you'd need to leave it a week or three, somewhere room temp or higher and well ventilated to dry out from the glue, before planing up. Possibly leave it a bit more after first planing and then plane to finish?
Those bevelled and rounded edges immediately emphasise any tendency to bad fit - I'd have the lid extending slightly over the edge so the join is in shadow line - also gives an edge to grip when you open it.
PS is it fixable? Might be OK if you plane it again, it'll now be more stable than it was before it moved.
A cheat with badly fitting door, lid, etc is to have catches to hold it closed.
 
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