Veneered box WIP - picture heavy.

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Just spotted the stack of boxes in the background waiting their turn. That's a bit of work ahead of you.

I am determined to make some boxes but this level of precision - it's just not me. Maybe best to start with a blanket box, and get smaller one step at a time...
Using 18mm ply for (what looks like) a relatively small box? Is this for stability?
EDIT - the box is ~ 320mm long, 190mm wide and 130mm high.

I use 18mm because I like the box to have a 'weighty' feel. For this size box I wouldn't go below 16mm but I also make smaller boxes using 12mm sides.

I prefer birch ply over MDF for two reasons; there is variation in flatness and thickness of all board materials - It's quite easy to sand ply until it is flat. I also run it through the thickness sander to make it a uniform thickness -sanding/thicknessing removes <1mm in total - don't go mad with it! I find the veneering a lot easier if the surface is flat but it is also amazing how sensitive your hand is to finding irregularities!

The other benefit of birch ply is that when you clean up the edge of a piece of glued-down veneer with a chisel it is easier to do so than it would be on MDF. Doing it multiple times would be painful with MDF.

Additionaly, and it's not something I would reccomend, a ply box will fair better than an MDF one when you drop it onto concrete - I've proved that a few times!!!

Use a good quality plywood, preferably birch which is void-free.
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Very nice job, and very clear and thorough WIP instructions.

I was particularly interested in your rationale for using ply rather than MDF. Up until a year or two ago I generally laid a layer of 3mm MRMDF onto ply before veneering. But then suddenly supplies of 3mm MRMDF disappeared. I subsequently tried veneering directly onto ply, it can work but I agree with two points you make.

You need A/B/BB quality birch ply because patches can telegraph through and voids on cheaper ply grades are a problem. And secondly the need to flatten ply. It’s surprising how uneven even good quality ply can be compared to MDF. However I use a drum sander because if you break through the very thin top ply you hit glass hard UF glue which quickly blunts planer knives, also if you do expose the ply glue then PVA will no longer reliably bond to it.

Thanks again for an excellent post and good luck with your new venture!
Very interesting read and viewing. Thanks for the input and time taken to put the steps on on here. Would love to have the time to invest. So many half finished projects going no where atm. =)
.... if you break through the very thin top ply you hit glass hard UF glue.....
Thanks Custard. I do occaisionally sand through too far (I call my sander a thickness sander rather than a drum sander) but haven't had any problems with Titebond adhering. I try not to go through the outer layers now. I find the higher grades of birch ply are not needed - as the individual components are relatively small and any patches can be avoided.

One problem I do have is with the 6mm ply I use for the lids and bases. I have a 30 degree swing in temperature in my workshop over a year (it's a suntrap in the summer - hit 40C one year) and the thin ply can quickly distort in the summer months if left to it's own devices!! I
It has a baby brother..... American Black Walnut and Apple Birch....first coat on today

baby box.jpg
Beautiful work Brian and your WIP is so interesting and helpful.Can I ask did you put a balancer/contrast veneer on the inside before assembly so that once complete the ply core is balanced ? I have always veneered my boxes inside and out before assembly then machined a rebate all round and fitted a solid lipping afterwards and like the idea of continuous veneer unbroken by the lipping as you have done,Matthew


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    Modern veneered box.png
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