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  • How to Make a Lidded Box

How to Make a Lidded Box

This is one method for constructing a lidded box with a contrasting insert. The insert substitutes the wood removed in separating what will be the lid and base of the box.

Choose a light coloured wood with a good grain pattern for the body of the box and a dark wood for the insert. For the large samples, the blank for the body was about 160mm x 90mm x 90mm and the insert piece is about 20 to 25mm thick. The others are each scaled down by 25% each.

1. Round the blank between centres.

2. Cut a dovetail in both ends for mounting in a chuck.

3. Mount the end that will be the lid in the chuck.

4. Part off the base at either the mid-point or at a place that will highlight the gain.

Lidded Box

5. Hollow out the lid leaving sides at about 12mm or 10% of the diameter.

6. Sand the face flat.

7. Remove lid from chuck and mount bottom.

8. Hollow bottom. NOTE: the wall of the base is thicker that the lid to allow for the lip (step) the lid will fit over.

9. Sand the face flat.

10. Glue the insert piece between bottom and lid and put aside to dry.

11. Hold lid in chuck and trim 1/3 the diameter of the insert to be level with the base.

12. Part off the base through the insert leaving 3mm of the insert on the lid.

13. Part through the insert into the hollowed section of the lid then scrap the inside of the lid to a wall thickness of about 8mm

NOTE: undercut the inside of the lid so it won’t bind on the lip of the base. Using a round nose scrapper, finish the inside to a flowing curve, then sand and apply your desired finish then touch the outside corner of the insert with the scrapper to remove the sharp corner. Apart from not having sharp corners to cut yourself on, the slight groove this creates can be used to help lever the two pieces apart when the bottom is used as a jam chuck to finish the lid.

14. True the face with a slight inwards taper.
15. Sand and apply your desired finish.
16. Fit base to chuck and trim insert level with the base.
17. Part through the insert into the hollowed part of the base then scrap the inside of the base to a wall thickness of about 12mm or leaving sufficient thickness to allow for the lip that will fit inside the lid.
18. Reduce the thickness of the insert to what will show when box in assembled plus the height of the step.  Remember the total width of the insert that is showing should equal the amount removed when parting the blank so the grain matches across the insert.

19. Measure the diameter of the inside of the lid and scribe this onto the base.
20. Make a jam chuck of the base for the lid by carefully reduce the diameter of the insert towards the scribed line so that the lid will just fit tightly. If it is not a tight fit, rap marking tape around the lip.
21. Shape the lid.
22. In this example I fitted a finial I had turned earlier from the same material as the insert so this is the time to drill the hole and glue in the finial.
23. Sand the lid and apply your finish.
24. Remove the lid and adjust the diameter of the step to achieve your desired finished fit for the lid then apply your finish.
25. Remove the base, reverse it and mount of the chuck.  You may wish to protect your finished inside with marking tape.
26. Using the tail stock for support, turn the desired shape for the foot and finish the base.  The small knob left by the tail stock can be removed off the lathe.