Wooden boxes offer practically infinite potential for personal expression--treasure troves, caches, reliquaries; even metaphors are all within the possibilities.  During this hands-on workshop, we’ll explore a wide variety of techniques for making boxes including inlay, pattern routing, bent lamination, turning, and bandsawing using a number of different tools including the table saw, lathe, drill press, router, band saw, and belt sander.  We’ll start with some simpler boxes — those made from hollowing the interior of a solid chunk of wood. Then we’ll delve into the intricacies of boxes made by connecting pieces of wood together with actual joinery — dovetails, box joints, miters, and the like. Finally, we’ll round out the week by looking at some of the finer points of boxmaking, such as installing hinges and other hardware, as well as finishing. Each workshop participant will have the opportunity to make at least five boxes and go home with a whole new arsenal of woodworking techniques.

Course start time: Sunday, 5pm
Course end time: Friday, 5pm


  • Competency Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Course Objectives

This class is appropriate for beginning to intermediate woodworkers looking to expand there woodworking skills and vocabulary.

I guarantee you will come away from this class with some new tricks and an expanded sense of design possibilities.

Making boxes expanding your woodworking skills and confidence. Wooden boxes are a great way to try out new techniques as they are so small, you don't have a lot of time or materials invested should things go astray.

I guarantee those attending will go home with new skills and a fresh appreciation for the wooden box as a form of personal expression.

Suggested Reading

Cutting Edge Table Saw Tips and Tricks
Cutting Edge Band Saw Tips and Tricks
Table Saw Projects

Kenneth S. Burton, Jr. Maximize Your Router Skills with Ken Burton (I'll have copies of these with me if folks are interested $25.00/ea)
Bob Moran. Woodworking, the Right Technique

Class Schedule

Classes run in the shop from 9:00AM until about 5:30PM with a lunch break about noon. The time will be spent in a combination of demonstrations, discussions, and actual hands-on work (with some poor jokes thrown in for good measure). There will be a few evening sessions with some slide presentations, design discussion, and possibly a little jig and fixture making. The following topics will be covered:

  • Box Design: What makes a box a box? What does it have to hold? What are the limitations of the materials and tools we have to work with?
  • Pattern Routing: Creating patterns from which to make boxes. Patterns can be used to make matching or mating pieces, recesses for inlay, and much more. Pattern routing is a powerful technique for making multiples quickly and efficiently.
  • Joinery: Box joints, dovetails, miters, mortise and tenon-you name it, I show you how to do it quickly and accurately.
  • Bent Wood Lamination: A terrific technique for creating curving elements
  • Turning: Creating round elements on a lathe. Making a box part or two is a great introduction to woodturning.
  • Inlay: A great way to add graphic decoration to embellish a box.
  • Other Stuff: Safety, tool sharpening, installing hardware, and more.

Materials/Tools to Bring

  • Enthusiasm (and lots of it)
  • Work Ethic
  • Sense of Humor (or at least the ability to laugh in the face of adversity)\
  • Tape Measure
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hearing Protection
  • Pencils
  • Notebook

Items students should bring if they have them (there is no need to run out and purchase these items if you don't have them):

  • Sliding T-Bevel
  • Combination Square
  • Electric Hand Drill (or Screw Gun)
  • Scraper (approximately 2 x 6) Lee Valley # 97K50.02 $6
  • Utility Knife
  • Dial Caliper
  • Block Plane
  • Random Orbit Sander
  • Chisels (1 /4" 1 /2" 3 /4" 1")

Course Outline

Sunday Evening

  • 5:00 PM Welcome Dinner and Yestermorrow Orientation
  • Introductions and Q & A session
  • Design Discussion

Monday Hollowing techniques

  • Drill Press
  • Router
  • Bandsaw
  • Shaping
  • Routed profiles
  • Turning

Tuesday Stock preparation

  • Making forms and patterns
  • Pattern routing
  • Bending wood

Wednesday Joinery

  • Miters
  • Box Joints
  • Dovetails

Thursday Joinery Con't

  • Mortise and tenon
  • Inlay

Friday Hardware

  • Finishing
  • Graduation Dinner