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wooden box free plans: how to make a
Shallow Box
Basic Description

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This shallow box is relatively easy to make and the unique technique allows for a very wide variety of possibilities. In the free plans below, we describe a rather complicated use of the technique but we will provide detailed instructions for many other options. Expand your boxmaking horizons beyond ordinary rectangularity!

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The shallow box has many uses and you can alter the shape to be ideally suited for one of these uses. They can hold writing instruments, office supplies (paper clips, staples etc) coins, small parts, jewelry, and any other small items that need organizing.

design considerations

The shallow box is very versatile and can handle several alterations and customizations.
shallow box


Thickness: We used a thin base because we like the elegant look, but you can choose any thickness. You can also glue wood together, face-to-face, before cutting the pattern to increase the depth of the box. Keep in mind that any increases in thickness will give you more material to sand. If you are making a more complicated shape this may be difficult since your drum sanding attachment may not be long enough. Width: To make a shallow box wider than the wood you have, you will need to surface and glue them edge-to-edge. You can glue up a wider base panel immediately after surfacing, but you may want to glue multiple top panel pieces after cutting the pattern - this will allow you to use a bandsaw (instead of a jigsaw) to cut the interior area. Length: The length can be as long as you like, but don't forget the limitations of your tools, i.e. the throat of your bandsaw or jigsaw. Wall Thickness: Thicker walls will of course, provide more strength, but we are very pleased with the strength of our shallow box and no wall is more than 1/8" (3mm) thick. You may want to vary the width of the walls within the same box as shown in the ovular idea on the right.


We used a walnut base and a maple top because we like the contrast. The strong maple top provides extra strength but most woods are suitable for this project.


The number of shapes you can make with this technique is only limited by imagination. You may want to limit the size of the inside radiuses based on the smallest drum sanding attachment that you have. It is difficult to sand in tight areas. You can also make certain interior portions of your design to go all the way through the base panel. Several ideas of this are included in the graphic shown on the right.


If you would like to add a lid to your box, you can make a second shallow box to fit around the base. After completing the project as described in the plan above, trace the shape to create a customized and well-fitting lid. Avoid making any internal walls on the lid that may interfere with internal walls on the base.
there are many shapes that you can use for this project

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