Making Small Boxes Using a Router


There are several ways to build a wooden box with a router. Probably the most straightforward and the simplest way is by means of a rabbet joint. The result will be a square or rectangular shaped box with a tight fitting bottom and a top lid that has a handle in the center and also snugly fits into place.

Step 1

Determine the size of your box. You can build any size that you like from very large to very small. Length and width are not a problem, but depth might be limited to the width of available lumber, which will be most likely a foot or less. For simplicity's sake we will make a box that is 6-inches wide, 8-inches long and 7-inches deep. All lumber will be cut from 1-inch stock which is in reality ¾ of an inch thick.

Step 2

Cut the side pieces for your box. All side pieces will be 6 and 5/8 of an inch wide. To get this width you will have to use a table saw. All the crosscuts can be done with a miter box. Each side piece will have a rabbet joint on three sides; right, left and bottom. The router cut for all these joints will be 3/8 of an inch wide and 3/8 of an inch deep. The 3/8 inch measurement is used because it is exactly half of the thickness of each board. The two side pieces will be cut at the full length of 8 inches, while the two end pieces will be cut to be 5 ¼ inches long. This allows for a rabbet joint on each end.

Step 3

Give all pieces a thorough sanding.

Step 4

Put the sides together. They can be glued and nailed or screwed. Be sure to drill a pilot hole first, and then countersink all screws and set all nails. Nails should be small finish nails (#4 or smaller).

Step 5

Make the bottom piece. It will have a rabbet cut on all four sides. The rabbet cut is the same size as those in step 2 (3/8-inch by 3/8-inch). The overall dimension of the bottom piece is 5 ¼ by 7 ¼-inches. This piece should fit snugly into the bottom of the frame that you built in step 3. Be sure the piece is put in place before the glue in the side pieces has dried, for the bottom piece also acts as a square. ( You should have this bottom piece already made and finished, before you begin applying the glue). Don't forget to sand this piece before installing.

Step 6

Make the top piece. It will be cut to the exact size of the frame (6-inch by 8-inch), but the rabbet joint will have different dimensions. The depth of the rabbet cut will be the same at 3/8 of an inch, but it will be ¾ of an inch wide instead. When the top piece is completed it should fit right into place. Do not glue this piece, for all that it requires is a handle. This piece only requires a light sanding.

Step 7

Attach a knob-like handle to the center of the top piece. These can be purchased at the hardware store and all they require is a hole drilled through the top piece. Then the knob is attached with a machine screw, which is tightened from the underside of the top piece.

Step 8

Sand and add the finish of your choice.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you use a different dimension lumber, then that will change the width and depth of the rabbet joint.

Things You'll Need

  • Router
  • Straight cut bit (3/8)
  • Wood stock
  • Carpenters\'s glue
  • Small finish nails
  • Nail set
  • Putty
  • Table saw
  • Miter saw
Keywords: woodworking, router, rabbet, joints, wooden, box

About this Author

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications, and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.

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