How to Make a Bandsaw Box

Make a Bandsaw Box
Bandsaw boxes are easy to make, but you need to follow a few rules of the road. It’s very important that you use the right blade, and that you make the cuts in the correct sequence. This story lays it out for you, start to finish. Click on the images to enlarge them for more detail.

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Bandsaw box material Blank and Blade
Use a good size chunk of wood for the box. In this article I’m using a 3” x 4” x 6” piece of spalted tamarind. I wouldn’t use anything less than 2” thick, 3” is better. Hardwoods and softwoods are both fair game. If you can’t find big blocks to work with (although a Google search for bowl blanks will help you there) there’s nothing wrong with gluing pieces up to make a block.
I do the bandsaw work with a 3/16” 10 tpi (teeth per inch) blade. With its fine tooth count you’ll need to take it easy on feeding the material. But you’ll be left with surfaces that require very little sanding. This is important for the fit of the drawer.
 Bandsaw box draw shape Shape the Box
Define the outside shape of your box. This is completely subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I prefer to use a flexible curve (see Sources) to create the shape.
Bandsaw-box Cut to Shape Cut the outside of the box to shape. Take it easy on the bandsaw blade, using a slow but consistent feed rate. Listen to your saw, and slow down if it sounds like you’re over feeding. Try to make the cut in one fluid motion, without starting and stopping the feed. This will minimize bandsaw marks.
Bandsaw Box Outside Shape Notice that I cut feet on the bottom of the box. This isn’t a must, the bottom could remain flat, but I think it looks better with feet.
Bandsaw Box Cut off Back Set up a resaw fence and cut the back off the box, making it 1/4” thick.
Bandsaw Box draw inside shape Use the flexible curve to draw the drawer opening. I make the outside of the flexible curve even with the outside of the box, and then trace the inside edge.
Bandsaw Box Radius Inside Corners Radius the inside corners using a washer. For a 3/16” blade a washer with a diameter of 1-1/4” creates an arc the blade can follow. Don’t leave any sharp corners in the drawer opening.
Bandsaw Box Cut the Drawer Opening Cut the drawer opening. Notice that my entry cut, near my right hand, was made parallel to the grain of the blank. This makes for a better glue joint when you glue the box back together, long grain to long grain, and will also help make the glue seam more invisible. The chunk that comes out of the interior becomes your drawer.
Bandsaw Box resaw drawer Make the Drawer
Set up your resaw fence for a 1/4” cut and cut the front and back off the drawer piece. Notice the two lines I have on the top of the piece. This is to remind me to cut one slab from each of the two faces, not two slabs from one face.
Bandsaw Box Hollow Drawer Cut out the inside of the drawer. Use the flexible curve to define the shape, just like you did on the box. Except that in this case you need to create a U shape, open at the top of the drawer.
Bandsaw Box Glue Box Sanding and Assembly
Glue the box together by working glue into the entry cut using a tooth pick. With the irregular shape of the box masking tape makes a great clamp.
Bandsaw Box Glue and Clamp Drawer Glue the back slab onto the drawer after sanding the bandsaw marks off the drawer interior (using a spindle sander) and from the inside faces of the back and front slabs (by hand). Once the glue on the back is dry, glue on the front.
Bandsaw Box Drill Back Drill a 5/8” hole in the back. The hole provides finger access so you can push the drawer open.
Sand the interior of the box using a spindle sander, and then glue on the back. I don’t sand the saw marks off the inside face of the back, since you really can’t see this surface. When the back is dry sand the box exterior.

When the drawer is dry sand the exterior surface to remove the bandsaw marks. Do as little sanding as possible. Part of the key to the completed box looking cool is having little more than the kerf of the bandsaw blade removed between the drawer and the box.

Bandsaw Box Drawer Opening Apply a coat of finish, and your bandsaw box is complete.

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  • woodstover

    Thanks for the concise instructions and an easy beginner project

  • inspector

    Great work!

  • Ron White

    Very concise and complete instructions.

  • John E. Vestal

    I have two hand saws and a number of table saw blades that need to be sharpened. I cannot find a saw sharpening shop in my area. Has it become cheaper to buy new ones rather than sharpening?

    • George Vondriska

      If you own good quality blades it’s still less expensive to sharpen them than to replace them. You might try calling a few cabinet shops and check on who they use.

      • John E. Vestal

        Thank you very much. I really enjoy your videos and appreciate the quick response.