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Fundamentals of Box Design & Construction
Fundamentals of Box Design & Construction
Fundamentals of Box Design & Construction
Fundamentals of Box Design & Construction
Fundamentals of Box Design & Construction
Fundamentals of Box Design & Construction
Fundamentals of Box Design & Construction

Fundamentals of Box Design & Construction

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I've designed and made an absurd number of boxes over the last 10 years, from tiny ring boxes that fit in the palm of my hand to tea (and jewelry) cabinets that are just as complex as full-size furniture. Along the way, I have learned many valuable lessons about how to design them, which techniques work best for construction, how to weave together design aspirations with the need to make a strong box, and how to finish them.

I've taught many box-making courses through the year, written articles, and am wrapping up my second book about boxes right now. This course is different than those classes, articles, and even my books. The goal of this online course is to share with you the process that carries me from initial design ideas to a completed box. Over the course of 4 lessons (broadcast live but also available for on demand viewing), I'll design a new box and then make it. Please read everything below for an explanation of what I'll cover in each of the 4 lessons, when they take place, and where you'll be able to watch them.

All live classes begin at 7:00 PM Eastern and run for no more than 2 hours. They will stream via Zoom, and I will send out a link the morning of the class. The lessons will be recorded and posted for on demand viewing within 24-48 hours. There will be a password protected page on my website where the recordings will live along with other information about the class. I'll send out an email invitation to join the protected page closer to the start of class.

An important note: There will not be any plans available for download. If I do make plans or any other part of the course available for download, then I must charge sales tax, and I'd rather not do that. However, a drawing of the box will be available for you to view.


  • July 6, 2021
  • For me, design begins with a blank sheet of paper and a pen, which can be intimidating, especially if you believe that designs spring fully formed from your mind. They do not. Design is an evolutionary process. I'll design a new box in real time, explaining the decisions I make, answering questions. We'll dicuss things like proportions, how to move from proportions to dimensions, figuring out how design influences construction, and many other topics.


  • July 13, 2021
  • Lumber selection and milling are critical to making beautiful boxes (and furniture). I'll talk about how I decided which species of wood to use for a box, why the shape and size of grain is critical, how to create the boards you want if you can't find them, and how to cut accurate joinery. The precise joinery that we'll use will be determined in Lesson 1.
  • July 20, 2021
  • After the body of the box is made, it's time to make the bottom, lid, and pull (if there is one). I make bottoms the same way for all of my boxes. They are plywood, with veneer on the outside and fabric inside. I'll show you how I make them and explain why all of them are made this way. Lids are a different animal, but you typically need to account for wood movement, and a box body that is slightly out of square. I'll also discuss things like complimentary (rather than contrasting) woods, and how to attach a pull.


  • July 27, 2021
  • The final stages of making a box are preparing it for finish and then applying the finish. I'll show you how I hold boxes in vice for hand planing, how I sand them, and talk about the merits of both techniques.  We'll also look at my two favorite finishes: shellac and milk paint.


These are the tools that I will be using. You do not need to have all of them in order to make boxes, and you certainly don't need them all to get something from the class. When appropriate, I'll discuss how to do things with hand tools.

  • Jointer
  • Planer
  • Bandsaw
  • Tablesaw
  • Various layout tools like rules, squares, pencils, etc.
  • Block plane or small bench plane
  • Chisels (perhaps)
  • Sandpaper
  • Planing stop
  • Shooting board

Fundamentals of Box Design & Construction

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