Boxes

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.

 

Making a Veneer-Wrapped Box Making a Veneer-Wrapped Box
By: Bill Tilson
In this project, Bill (who has now passed away) shows us how he wraps his wood form with veneer to create a lidded box. It's very clever and beautiful.

 

Turning Fancy Boxes with FinialsTurning Fancy Boxes with Finials
By: Janice Levi
In this tutorial, Janice shows us how to make a fancy box. It's fancy due to a nice insert around the top of the box and a beautiful finial. She shows us each step so it will be easy to follow along.

 

Turning a Wood Oyster BoxTurning a Wood Oyster Box
By: Tennessee Valley Woodworkers
This tutorial shows you all the steps necessary to turn this oyster box. It's a fun looking design having two almost identical parts (top and bottom). The tutorial is very detailed so you learn each step necessary to be successful.

 

Making Turned BoxesMaking Turned Boxes
By: Steven Kennard
In this tutorial, Steven shows us how he turns simple boxes. He shows two ways to hollow out the box.

 

Lidded Jewelry BoxLidded Jewelry Box
By: Alan Cusworth
In this project, Alan takes is through all the steps to turn this jewelry box. He turns the lid first and then the base to accept the lid. He pulls everything together by finalizing the shape of the base and the lid when they are back together on the lathe.

 

A Simple (well, somewhat simple) Way to Make a Lidded Box A Simple (well, somewhat simple) Way to Make a Lidded Box
By: Richard Pikul
Making a box can be one of the most frustrating project for a novice woodturner. Once learned – and a half dozen or so under one's belt – turning a box is not really all that hard.

The following is my 'method', distilled after attending a few demos, reading online articles, then turning out a few hundred boxes.

 

Critical Dimensions - Conquering the challenges of the lidded boxCritical Dimensions - Conquering the challenges of the lidded box
By: Alan Lacer
In this AAW reprint, Alan Lacer shows us how to make a lidded box. He provides lots of tips for turners trying this for the first time. He also includes a wonderful diagram with 7 different joint options for lid and base.

 

Turning a Basic Wooden BoxTurning a Basic Wooden Box
By: John Albachten
This photo tutorial is a Box Making 101 course. It shows each step in how to make a wood turned box. If you're new to making boxes or need a refresher, this is the one to read.

 

Turned Pill BottleTurned Pill Bottle
By: Jim Silva
In this tutorial, Jim shows us how he turns a box to surround a generic plastic pill bottle. This a clever way to make a personalized wood pill bottle.

 

From Firewood to a Threaded Acorn Ring BoxFrom Firewood to a Threaded Acorn Ring Box
By: Paul Rohrbacher
This tutorial shows you how to make an acorn ring box with a threaded lid. The threaded lid is special because it uses a two-start, interrupted thread that is cut using the new "State of the Art" EZ-Quick Twist Threading Jig, designed and developed by Paul Rohrbacher, the author of this article.

 

Easy-to-make Turned Box with Plug LidEasy-to-make Turned Box with Plug Lid
By: Ian Salisbury
The aim of designing and making this box was to have a plug lid that would fit even if the wood expanded or contracted with changes in temperature or humidity. So often the conventional type of box lid sticks or get floppy as the ambient conditions change. The novel feature is the indigenous way of making the lid--from the wood inside the box blank, inverted to form the lid.

 

Making a Segmented Stave BoxMaking a Segmented Stave Box
By: Jason Swanson
Many of you know that I make peppermills from segmented staves. I demonstrated how to do this in a previous More Woodturning Magazine article (January 2016). Typical of many woodturners, I save all my cut-offs rather than throwing them out, knowing that someday I can come up with a useful purpose for every one of them. Today, I'm going to make a turned lidded box from one of the peppermill end cuts.

 

Multi-Axis Egg BoxMulti-Axis Egg Box
By: Arnold Ward
In this tutorial, Arnold shows us the step-by-step procedure on how he turns a box and then uses multiple axes to turn the stem that holds the box. Arnold provides some great drawings for each step so that you can follow along. The results are very stunning.

 

Making Beads of Courage BoxesMaking Beads of Courage Boxes
By: Johnny Tolly
In this photo tutorial, Johnny shows us how he uses a piece of PVC to create a Beads of Courage box that uses a wood turned top and bottom and colorful fabric over the PVC body. This is an ingenious idea and really adds a personalized touch to each box.

 

Turning a Lidded BoxTurning a Lidded Box
By: Jesper Bay
In this tutorial, Jesper shows us all the steps necessary to turn a lidded box. He also provides a drawing for each so that you can follow along. A turned box is a great item for the house or a gift so it's a good project to learn how to do. Jesper's instructions will help to make it easy to learn to turn.

 

Turn a  Multi-axis Chili Pepper BoxTurn a Multi-axis Chili Pepper Box
By: Mark Knize
In this tutorial, Mark explains how he was inspired by the late Neil Scobie and wanted to make a similar offset turning. Mark uses 3-axes and then does some carving to finalize these boxes that look like chili peppers. It is an interesting project and one that makes me think of lots of different ways to use this knowledge.

 

How to Make a Turned Wood Lidded BoxHow to Make a Turned Wood Lidded Box
By: Dave Munkittrick
In this photo tutorial, Dave shows us how he turns a wooden box. The tutorial shows each step in the process including how to properly size the lid of the box. Dave also includes a drawing with dimensions if you want to make a box like his.

 

Turning a Bobbin BoxTurning a Bobbin Box
By: Capt'n Eddie Castelin
In this photo tutorial, Capt'n Eddie shows us how he turns a bobbin box. This box is unique because it has a tight fit that is held in place by an o-ring. It's very attractive, will reduce the moisture in the box and the lid will stay on. Take a peek and see this amazing box.

 

Make a Small Turned BoxMake a Small Turned Box
By: Tom Young
In this photo tutorial, Tom shows us how to turn a small wood box. The tutorial explains all the steps and provides some tips like the wrench to measure your tenon size.

 

The Story of Making a Wooden JarThe Story of Making a Wooden Jar
By: Ken Garner
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.

 

Three Wing BoxThree Wing Box
By: Jeff Burklow
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!

 

Turn a Simple BoxTurn a Simple Box
By: Chris O'Connell
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 :-)

 

Turned Walnut BoxTurned Walnut Box
By: Peter Brown
In this photo log, Peter shows us how he turns a box out of walnut. Although there are no words to explain each step, it should be self-explanatory to anyone with experience making boxes.

The box is made using the traditional 2 tenon method and the results are great!

 

Turning a Clewes Style BoxTurning a Clewes Style Box
By: Bob Hamilton
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.

 

Turning a Suspended Bowl (with cover)Turning a Suspended Bowl (with cover)
By: Bob Hamilton
In this pictorial tutorial, Bob shows us how to make a bowl that is suspended above the table top by its four legs! In addition, he created a lid to fit the bowl. The final result is a stunning covered bowl.

One of the things that makes this project interesting is that it addresses a traditional woodworking concern: "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 (which 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.

 

How to make Snap Lid BoxesHow to make Snap Lid Boxes
By: Jeff Levine
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!

 

Turning an End Grain Lidded BoxTurning an End Grain Lidded Box
By: Michael Stafford
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!

 

Turn a Box with an Inlaid CoverTurn a Box with an Inlaid Cover
By: Sy Plonsky
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!

 

Lattice Top BoxLattice Top Box
By: Jason Clark
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...

 

Turning a Lidded BoxTurning a Lidded Box
By: Charlie Cadenhead
This 5 page tutorial shows all the steps in making a lidded box. The steps are all shown in wonderful line drawings (another lost art!).

This project is simple to follow and covers some useful skills like jam chucks! Also Charlie has a great drawing of 6 different shapes of boxes. This is worth the price of admission (free) itself!!

Which shape do you like? My favorite is "Figure 5"...

 

Staved Box make to hold a fancy GobletStaved Box make to hold a fancy Goblet
By: Bob Hamilton
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!

How about upscaling it to hold wine bottles??

 

Secret Drawer Jewelry BoxSecret Drawer Jewelry Box
By: Aurèle Delaurier
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!!

 

Making small lidded BoxesMaking small lidded Boxes
By: Pam Reilly
Pam Reilly is one of the most impressive turned box makers in the U.S. She had captured the concept of turning pleasant shaped small lidded boxes. Each of her shapes just calls out to you!!

In this picture tutorial, she turns a holly wood box. She shows the important details on how she turns the lid and how she fits it to the box. She also covers how she makes a finial for this box.

If you like boxes, this is a great tutorial to see how an expert does it!!

 

Fun making finial boxesFun making finial boxes
By: Don Jones
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!

 

A Holiday Turned BoxA Holiday Turned Box
By: Wood Magazine
This Yuletide container will bring cheer twice: once from its novel lightbulb design, and again from the candy cached inside. Project measures 11" tall. Featured in the November 2001 issue.

 

Turning BoxesTurning Boxes
By: Jim Shaver
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.

 

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