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Turning Boxes - getting a well fitting lid

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RickG

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Hello, I'm a member at a woodturning club and we're having a competition at the next meeting for turning boxes.

I've not turned many boxes, as I prefer to turn vases. But I've tried a few over the weekend. The first has a sloppy fitting lid.
The 2nd was from wet wood. I put it in the microwave to dry it out: a "neat trick" I learned from someone; only to find the base is now warped so much it's oval and the lid is wavy.
The 3rd went pretty well. The lid was a snug fit, but 30 mins after it's polished and in from the workshop (garage), and I find the lid is now a more relaxed "dressing table" fit.

What tips can folk share, please, about boxes in general, and getting a good fitting lid?

Some months back, I saw a demo by Mark Sanger. He did a box and made the lid first. Then he formed the bottom part and shaped the contact edge with a skew, forming a peak in the centre of the vertical surface. This leaves a small area to sand to get a good fit. All good in theory, but mine was tight, when in the workshop. I guess it's down to moisture.

But what do folk here do? Or do those here go for a neat fit, but no "pop"; as in the "woodturner's fit"?
 

lurker

Le dullard de la commune
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I learned the hard way to finish boxes in stages.
The lid fit being the last after two weeks in the house.

There is a permentent production line even if you only turn say half a dozen a year.
Having said that they are far more desirable to a wider range of people, than bowls.
My wife has banned any further bowls in the house.
 

KimG

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Type of timber has an effect too, Holly for example, while nice to turn, never seems to stop moving, I have had no Holly lids fit for more than a couple of weeks despite being indoors prior to turning etc. Ash on the other hand seems very stable. Allowing sufficient depth to form the join between lid and base is also a good idea, too shallow and you will find it a struggle. Allow a little tightness and sand the fit is also worth doing if you want a nice finish. Richard Raffan's book on Turned Boxes is a good resource as is the link Dalboy provided to George's site.
 

RickG

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Many thanks, to everyone for your thoughts. After my last one came in doors and moved, a day later I was a split had got bigger. So this won't have helped!

So, seeing the wood of the lid was a mite on the chunky side, I mounted it back on the lathe to remove a little of the depth. Within a few seconds there was a "bang" and it's now in 2 sections.

Blow it all!! But we've all been here I guess. Back to the drawing board.
But, it does seem I need to develop a store of seasoned wood and pre-turned "box blanks" seems a good idea.

Thanks again.
 
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