Wood turned boxes are a fun exercise in turning a 2-piece project; the base and the top. Wood turned boxes can be both beautiful and functional. They can turned as artwork to be a conversation piece or they can be turned to be used as a storage container.
Since the boxes are round from being lathe-turned, they are significantly different than the square jewelry-style boxes that people think of when they hear the term, wood box.
The top of the box (the lid) can be fashioned in many ways. Some of the more common styles of tops are:
* Loose fit - Fit is loose but not sloppy. If the box is sitting on the table and you pick up the lid, the box bottom will remain on the table.
* Suction fit - The lid will go on and off easily, but it is snug enough that a discernable resistance can be felt due to the vacuum being created.
* Snug fit - A snug fit is not difficult to remove, but it is tight enough that you could expect to put the box in a pocket or purse and not have the top come off.
Boxes can be made from one piece of wood, laminated woods, or even segmented woods. The tops can also be embellished with inlays, carving or even ornamental turnings. The imagination is the only limitation for making wood-turned boxes.
In this photo tutorial, Ken uses some old flooring strips and mills them to stave segments. His glue-up is over 10 inches in length and 4 inches in diameter.
He shows us how to make the glue-up and then how he turns it. And as we all know something 10 inches long hanging off the lathe takes some special care and precautions. Check out how Ken solves those issues and turns this lovely box.
This is a fun but challenging box that starts with your wood blank between centers. But not the center of the blank, the corners of the blank.
This makes for an interesting, advanced turning project with a great 3-sided shape that will surely confuse your friends.
Jeff has done a great job with this photo tutorial showing how to complete each step in the process. You'll also need to be able to hollow out the box portion of the blank using your hollowing tool of choice.
If you're an experienced turner, we hope that you'll give it try!
In this photo tutorial, Chris walks us through all the steps necessary to turn a wood box. He also shows a couple of clever techniques on making a successful project. The one that I like the most is how he determines the depth of the box so that you don't cut through the box... not that I've ever done that :-)
The well known woodturning instructor and demonstrator Jimmy Clewes has made popular a style of box that is turned from a rectangular length of stock as opposed to a square or round blank. They are quite attractive and tend to attract attention.
In this photo tutorial, Bob shows us the steps that he uses to turn this "Clewes" inspired box.
The technique is really not much different from turning a "Suspended Bowl". The main difference is that you start with a rectangle instead of a square.
In this pictorial tutorial, Bob shows us how to make a bowl that is suspended above the table top by it's four legs! In addition, he created a top (lid?) to fit the bowl. The final result is a stunning covered bowl.
One of the things that makes this project interesting is that this type of design has a traditional woodworking concern to it. It is, "How do you deal with short grain in a structural component?". Bob does a great job addressing this issue which will help you to understand it not only for this project for future ones too!
This project is a real turning adventure as part way though the exercise, Bob's tenon breaks on his bowl as does happen and Bob shows how he recovers! We like real life projects and the learning that can be gained from them. This is one that fits that bill!!!
In this photo tutorial, Jeff Levine shows us how he makes his famous little snap lid boxes. These boxes have a tight fitting lid that snaps into place holding it firm. The also make a wonderful "popping" sound when closing and opening.
Jeff reveals the secret of these boxes, showing the details of how the lids is made and how to shape the box recess. With patience and practice and these instructions, you can make a snap box too!
In this wonderful photo tutorial, Mike shows how he makes his end grain lidded boxes.
What makes this tutorial good is that Mike shows each step of the process that he uses for making the boxes. He also discusses design aspects of making a good looking box. The other thing that I like is that Mike shows how he holds his tools so you can learn to duplicate his cuts which is a wonderful way to learn turning!
In this project, Sy explains how to make a box with an inlaid cover. First he explains how to make the box using nicely drawn diagrams to cover ways to mount the wood blank on the lathe. Then explains how to turn the box, make a circular inlay and then mount it into the top. This is another good project which allows you to use more than one type of wood to build contrast!
In this wonderful photo tutorial, Jason shows us how he makes a box with a lattice top. To achieve the lattice structure, he turns one side off center using an easy technique that he explains well. Then he re-centers the blank and turns the opposite face. His clear explanation and close-up photography make this a easy to follow and duplicate project.
This lattice technique can also be used for other projects! Imagine a larger trivet...
In this photo tutorial, Bob Hamilton shows how he made a wood staved box to hold a long, thin goblet that he had made. This is not your normal turned wood box. This is a wood box that lays on it side, has a top and bottom hinged together and is opened like a traditional square wood box.
Bob's multi-page tutorial guides you through each step in the process. He does use several traditional woodworking techniques and tools so this project might not be for everyone. But if you have the tools and the interest, this type of turned box is not one that you'll see often!
This is a fascinating project not because it shows a lot of turning but because it shows how clever you can be with your turnings. This project does not show how to turn a box. It shows a turned box that has a secret drawer in it. It then goes on to explain how to make a hidden lock for the drawer!
Check out this project to get your creative mechanical juices flowing!!
Joe's YouTube video shows all the steps of turning a box on the lathe. The video is 7.53 minutes and is a great way to watch a turning demo just like you were at your turning club but with close-up views!
Internationally acclaimed woodturner Richard Raffan demonstrates how to make turned boxes with suction-fit lids in this video.
Raffan reveals the tricks you need to know when turning boxes and shows you step-by-step how to make three challenging types. You'll learn how to: make a perfect suction-fit lid, manipulate skew chisels and parting tools, turn decorative top knots and finials, back-hollow and chuck, fix cracks and splits, recover from mistakes, and sand and apply a wax finish.
Join nationally acclaimed woodturner, artist, and teacher, Beth Ireland as she demystifies creative woodworking techniques, through an easy-to-follow hands-on demonstration.
When you click on this link, you'll go to a page dedicated to Beth where she hosts a 5:14 minute YouTube video showing an overview of her DVD. The link at the bottom of the page then takes you to our DVD page where you can purchase this excellent DVD, or choose to preview it first by renting it.
Beth's DVD introduces the bandsaw as a complimentary tool to the lathe.
Learn the steps necessary to make a bandsaw box, and various ways of mounting on to the lathe to create dramatic, original pieces. The possibilities are endless for the ways that you can shape a bandsaw box first in it's original glue-up and then later at the lathe. This is a fun project to try!!
In this project, Don describes how he used limb wood to create beautiful finial boxes. These boxes have a traditional turned interior and the tall finial is used as a ring holder. It's a very clever box!
Here are some clear demonstrations of the cutting action of various tools. You will be able to follow the precise instructions as Chris demonstrates the techniques required to turn and finish three stylish boxes.
Bonnie Klein is internationally known for her small scale turnings which exhibit unusual skill in technique and imaginative use of design and materials. Bonnie's videos offer quality instruction, projects and techniques of interest to all woodturners.
NOTE: this video was previously titled 'Turned Boxes and Other Projects'
This photo tutorial shows Jim Shaver turning a basic box. It was done when he was still new to turning. It's a wonderful project as it shows all the steps necessary to making a box and shows that even a beginner can make a beautiful wood box.
Your monthly online source for innovative ideas and
detailed articles about the woodturning world
Articles in the November 2015 edition:
Secret Santa Ornament by David Reed Smith
Chickadee Christmas Bird Ornament by Chuck Ruby
Casting Bowls, Boxes, Stoppers and Pen Blanks using Alumilite™ by Don Ward
Building an Ornament Hanger by John Lucas
Turning Softwoods by John Wolf
A Memorable Bowl by Bob Heltman
You will also meet our “turner of the month”, John Siegel, hear about exciting news in the world of woodturning, read our evaluation of three new products, and hear about upcoming events you may want to attend.
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