Scrap Wood Treasure Box General Woodworking

This project came about as a result of a group collaboration with more than twenty other woodworkers on YouTube. The idea was to make a project entirely from scraps of wood and make a video of the build, and to post them all on the same day. I had done the same thing before with the bookends video and found that to be an interesting experience.

Here’s the video:

I started with some pieces of 2×4 that were end cuts from work I did on my house. They had been taking up space on the bottom shelf of my lumber rack since the springtime.
I cut these into strips, 1/2″ x 1/2″, then cut those to length for the sides and ends:

strips of wood cut from 2x4s

Along with the 2×4, I found a short piece of 2×6 to make the bottom panel for the box, and here I’m using my new clamps to glue that up:

handmade clamps clamp the strips together
bottom panel for the box

The bottom panel cut to size with a rabbet cut around the edge.

The box goes together like a log cabin, to form box joints on the corners. First, I scorched each piece with a torch to mimic wear and erosion to make the box look old:

stacking assembly overlaps in the corners
box built like a log cabin

The box part done. This method for making a box can be used for something less rustic to form perfect fitting box joints.

The ends of the lid are curved and I used the dimension sheet (available HERE) to lay that out:

pattern transfer to wood to cut an arc
marked wood for treasure box contour

Connect the dots and cut it out.

Assembly started on the lid:

lid parts set on treasure box
lid slats for treasure box

The slats for the lid are cut on one edge with a slight angle, as shown on the dimension sheet.

Then it’s just to glue and pin them in place up and over the lid:

begin assembly of treasure box lid
assembling treasure box lid

Fully assembled:

fully assembled treasure box

The box will be stained later to even out the colour.

For the hinges, I wanted something very simple and made from wood. I started with these pieces:

wooden higse assembly for treasure box
rounded pins for wooden hinges

Then rounded the end of the longer part with a sharp knife.

And cut the pivots out:

pivots marked for wooden hinges
attach hinge to treasure box

The bar is glued and screwed to the back of the box.

And the pivots are glued and screwed to the lid:

attach pivot and hinge to treasure box
hinge assembly for treasure box installed

This will be scorched as well, to match the box.

To lock the box, I thought I would do something neat by making my own wooden key operated lock, rather than a metal hasp and padlock. It took a lot of messing around to come up with something that worked well, but the process was very interesting.
I started with some scrap 3/4″ Baltic birch plywood that I cut to 3/16″ thick:

strips of plywood reduced thickness for wooden lock

I then laid out two 1-1/4″ circles with a forstner bit to cut out:

forstner bit marks circles in wood
wood circles cut for wooden lock

I made a 3/16 hole in one, and a slot in the other.

The one with the hole needs a pin and I made that from maple, whittled down to size:

wooden pin for lock
wooden lock

A test to get the spacing right.

The lock parts go into a piece of 1/2″ plywood with two 1-1/4″ counterbores:

wooden lock
wooden lock

Then trimmed down to size.

The key is made from the 3/16″ plywood as well:

marking a wooden key
wooden key in wood lock

The finished lock:

wooden lock and key

The lock mounts inside the box and a small oval hole is drilled through, then scorched:

treasure box with hole for key
wooden key in wood lock in treasure box

The lock is simple, but works well.

To make handles, I cut some of the scrap from making the bottom 3/8″ thick and dilled 1″ holes:

forstner bit cuts holes for handles

Then smoothed roughly with the carving knife.

rounded over edges of handle holes

Finished and scorched:

cut ovals for handle loops
handle assembly for treasure box

The hanger brackets get glued onto the sides of the box, with the ring inside.

Ready for stain:

handles installed on treasure box
brush the dust and ash and char from the wood

First, I brush off any lose charred wood.

Then wipe on a coat of mahogany stain:

mahogany stain on a wooden treasure box
Stained treasure box gets urethane top coat

I let the stain dry for a few hours then spray on a coat of oil based satin urethane.

I lined the box with cedar scraps left from making my deck chair:

cedar box liner
make a secret compartment

I glued cleats in the lid for the catch mechanism for the lid liner. The liner is a single panel that encloses the lid and creates a “secret compartment”.

The lid liner also engages the latch on the lock:

lid liner secret compartment wooden lock
lid catch

The catch for the lid is a spring loaded block and is released (as shown in the video) with a small drill bit or paper clip.


completed treasure box ready to bury

Several others participated in the “Scrap Wood Challenge” by making a project and video:

April Wilkerson,
Steve Carmichael,
Peter Brown,
Fr. Thomas Bailey,
Dominic Bender,
Manhattan Wood Project,
Arzensek Andrea,
Steve French,
Jason Rausch,
Fabian’s Tiny Workshop,
Nick Ferry,
Richard Morley,
Patrick’s Work Shop,
Darbin Orvar,
Rock-n H Woodshop,
Carl Jacobson,
The Nomadic Polywright Show,
McGinn’s WoodShop,
Jack Houweling,
Mike Fulton,
Ted Alexander,
Average Joes