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Matching Grain on Small Boxes


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Actually this would work on any size box if you wanted.

I have also heard this referred to grain wrapping.

First thing what I show here I learned while taking a class of Matt Kenney's, so the credit goes to him.

You start out with you stock mill on both faces and both edges and you also want to true up the two ends. You don't want to do that down the road.  You want to start with a perfect stick of wood.

I mark mine up a lot to keep things straight.  I put an "A" on one end, both sides and a "B" on the other end both sides.  I also make "Fence Side" on one side and "Outside" on the other just because. 




Then I put one triangle on one edge and two on the other edge. Kind of towards the center.



Then simple re-saw them.



After running the through the planer or drum sander to clean them up, open then like a book at the ends.  It doesn't matter which end in fact you want to try both to see which way gives you the grain pattern you want.




With them laying open like this the inside faces will be the out side faces of the box.



You want you lay out to look like this.  Red lines being one piece and Blue lines being the other, you want to alternate you long and short pieces.  You want you waste to be at opposite ends.  Number 1 thru 8 on both sides of you cut lines.  This will help you realign them after you cut and miter the pieces.



Next you set the stop on you miter fence to whatever you long pieces are going to be. You will also need a scrap block of wood that is equal to the difference of you short pieces and long pieces.  As an example, if you long ones are 12 inches and you short ones 7 inches you need you block to be 5 inches.

For no particular reason  I started my cuts on the blue board first, so I put the block against the stop and made the short cut.  Then removed the block and make the cut for the long piece.  Next I cut the long piece on the red board, put the block back and cut the short piece.






I have a sled built just for cutting 45's like you need for boxes. It includes a stop block and a plexiglass strip over the business end, it helps keep your digits away from the blade, but I can still see my work.  I take one of the long pieces and with the out side face, facing up, I line the top end with the very edge of the fence right were the 45 angle is.  Once this is lined up, hold it there and move the stop block inplace at the opposite end.



I did remember to lower the blade some before I started my cuts.  

The set up looks like this.  Make the cut, turn it end for end and cut the other miter.  Then do the second long piece.



Put the scrap block you used with the miter gauge next to the stop block on he sled and cut you short pieces the same as the long ones above.  The beauty of the scrap block is you don't have to make any changes to the setup of you miter gauge or sled to make any of your cuts.



After everything is cut just reorient the piece according to numbers you marked on each side of you cut lines during lay out.



Using blue tape, tape the seams from top to bottom.



After they are all taped, turn it over carefully so the miters are facing up and apply glue to all the miter areas.  You don't need to get crazy with the glue it's just a small box that isn't going to be under a lot of stress.



Then just fold the corners all the way around and tape the last corner making sure it is aligned properly and pull the tape tight as you hold the corner in place.



You should end up with four corners that look like this. 




I ended up with a bit of a gap at the bottom of this corner.  This was the corner that I taped last and didn't pay full attention.










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“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  John Wooden

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16 minutes ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

Chet, this is a very good and thorough write up/tutorial!  What is the push block your using for your bandsaw?

If you are talking about the green handled tool.  It is an adjustable feather board.  You can use it on the table saw also but I really like it for it's hight with re-sawing.


“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  John Wooden

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1 hour ago, Bushwacked said:

Were you just practicing this or making boxes for something?

I am working on a box project right now, but I did this strictly as a demonstration of the process I use in response to someones request in the journal I have going.

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“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  John Wooden

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/23/2021 at 9:58 AM, pkinneb said:

Nice job Chet!! I picked up on this technique in a Doug Stowe box making book I have. It provides an awesome finished product.

One of Doug Stowe’s books “ Basic Box Making” got me into woodworking. A rabbit hole I have truly enjoyed. Still have my first box. 

Edited by Coop
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