Sign Up Today and Get a Special 10% Off Coupon
Faceplate Turning
Simple Lidded Box
Print  |  Back

From: Book: Learn To Turn

Page 1 of 1

Tools and Supplies
• Roughing gouge
• Skew or Spindlemaster
• Parting tool
• Round/side cutting scraper
• 3/8" bowl gouge
• Four-jawed chuck
• Digital calipers
• Hollow form calipers
• 1-1/2" Forstner drill bit with Jacobs Chuck
• Wood of choice (Bethlehem olive wood 3" x 3" x 6")
• Sanding pads and sandpaper in assorted grits
• EEE Cream and woodturner’s finish
• Lathe (speed set to 500 to 2000 rpm)
People like boxes—big ones, small ones, any size and shape ones! At craft fairs or shows there can be a dozen intricately turned pieces, but one of the first items to be touched are the boxes. Curiosity gets the best of the customers, and they have to open the box to examine what is inside. As they open a box, they should hear that “pop” sound which assures a good, tight fit between the top and the body of the box.

When creating boxes of any shape and size, a general rule is to make the bottom of the box to the top of the box in a ratio of 3:5 or 3:4. In other words, if the overall height of the box is 5", the top should be approximately 1-1/2 " to 2", and the body of the box should be 3" to 3-1/2 ". For your first box, the shape will be simple with a gradual, sloping cove in the top and the body of the box. When you are using a scraper for the inside of the box, remember to go slowly, taking small bites at a time.

Lidded Box Tip:
To ensure a snug fit between the top and the body of the box, use pre-dried wood and measure often. In addition, you can use the body of the box to physically fit it to the top and vice versa to get that tight-fitting feel for the box. If you use “wet” wood, it will shrink, and the fit will be loose and possibly out of round when it dries.

This article is excerpted from Learn To Turn by Barry Gross. Click here to purchase this book.
Start with a block of wood at least 3" x 3" x 5-1/2" and reduce it to a cylinder approximately 3-1/4" in diameter using a roughing gouge. Draw a line 1-1/2" from one end to establish the top of the box.
With a 1/4" parting tool, make a large enough spigot on each end of the cylinder so a four-jawed chuck can hold the piece. Next, using a thin parting tool (1/16"), cut on the marked line, leaving approximately ½ " to be cut with a small hand saw. Do not attempt to cut all the way through the cylinder with the parting tool! The parting tool will bind in the kerf and may cause damage to either the wood or yourself.
Place the body of the box into the four-jawed chuck and bring up the tailstock for support. Turn a shallow cove in the body of the box.
Use a 1/4" parting tool and create a flange for the top to rest on. Remove approximately 1/4" of material, as illustrated.
Insert the 1-1/4" Forstner drill bit into the Jacobs Chuck and drill into the body of the box approximately 3-1/4".

This article is excerpted from Learn To Turn by Barry Gross. Click here to purchase this book.
Cutting from the hole that was just drilled, use a side cutting scraper to remove wood from the center of the box to the outer edges of the box, leaving 1/8" as a rim for the top of the box. Remember, the scraper should be just above the centerline of the piece. Scrape all the way to the bottom of the body of the box. The walls should be a uniform thickness and can be checked using the hollow form calipers.
Carefully sand the inside of the body of the box, being careful when your fingers are sanding inside the box.
Insert the top of the box into the four-jawed chuck and drill the center with the Forstner bit to a depth of 1¼ " as you did with the body of the box.
With digital calipers, measure the outside flange on the body of the box.
Hollow out the top of the box as you did with the body of the box, noting that the inside diameter should just be a snug fit over the body of the box.
Stop frequently to measure the inside diameter to ensure a snug fit. If the scraping was correctly accomplished, a very light sanding is all that will be necessary. Caution: Do not over sand inside the top. The fit will not be snug.

This article is excerpted from Learn To Turn by Barry Gross. Click here to purchase this book.
Fit the two pieces together and use a cone-shaped revolving center in the tailstock to snug the pieces together to give a final shape to the box.
Sand the exterior of the box with sandpaper to 800 grit and then use sanding pads, such as Abralon pads. At this point, you can apply the EEE Cream and the woodturner’s finish to the outside of the box as you have done in previous sections.
Reverse chuck the top into the four-jawed chuck, and, using a skew or Spindlemaster, turn the top spigot into a small finial. Sand and finish.
Reverse chuck the body of the box into the four-jawed chuck, and, using small bites and a 3/8" bowl gouge, remove the spigot on the bottom of the body of the box.
Slightly concave the bottom of the box and add a decoration of beads, coves, or lines. Apply the same finish to the bottom of the box as you did to the sides. Don’t forget to sign your work.
The finished box.

This article is excerpted from Learn To Turn by Barry Gross. Click here to purchase this book.