Small Wooden Storage Boxes Workshop Projects

Still on my quest to organize my shop and keep it reasonably clean, I made a second set of storage boxes. This time, I made them much smaller than the first ones. These will hold a variety smaller items that I have, mostly parts of different machines that I may find a use for sometime in the future.

This project came about as a result of a lot of recent questions about using my advanced box joint jig. I’ve sold a lot of copies of the plans lately, and thought it would be good to use it in a project.
To start, I had this piece of 1/2″; plywood that is about 14-1/2″; wide and 96″; long:

plywood box materialplywood sides of boxes stacked and marked

I did some figuring and worked out the maximum yield from the piece (see cut diagram) and preceded to cut out the parts. Four tops, four bottoms and sixteen sides to make four boxes. Take note that the size for the bottoms as shown above in the photo is incorrect, as discussed in the video. These should have been 7″;, not 7-1/4″;.

To cut the box joints, I’ve installed the dado blade set for 1/2″; and added shims to get a good, snug fitting joint. One of the questions I often get is if there is any fine adjustment on the jig. The jig itself doesn’t need any adjustability, since that is done by increasing or decreasing the width of cut by adding or removing shims from the dado stack.
Eight sides need to be cut with the box joints offset, so that the corners will fit together correctly. To do that, I cut eight sides with the stock carriage at the start position:

joint cutting on the advance box joint jigusing the advance box joint jig

The next eight are cut with the carriage advanced 1/2″; for the first cut. This creates the offset needed for the sides to line up. This offset is done by moving the carriage two clicks of the advance lever, each click is 1/4″.

Cutting four sides at a time really speeds up the operation:

advance box joint jig cuts many pieces at once

I’ve installed a piece of wood on my outfeed table to act as a stop for the jig. It prevents it from going forward any farther than it needs to:

temporary stop installed on tablesaw for advance box joint jigsides of boxes with dado

After all of the box joints were cut, I made a 1/4″; deep, 3/16″; wide dado in the bottom of each side piece. This will receive the bottom panel.

To fit in the groove, the bottom panels are rabbeted. As mentioned above, the 7-1/4″; dimension is wrong and I had to recut these pieces to fit properly:

rabbet cut in bottom panel of boxtop panel of boxes are rabbeted

The tops have shallow rabbets to fit into the box and hold them in place.

The bottom panel fits flush with the bottom of the sides, maximizing the space inside the box:

assembly of boxesassembly of boxes

The best way to check to make sure everything goes together correctly is with a dry fit. Much better to find out the bottom panel is 1/4″; too big when it’s not covered with glue!

Speaking of glue, once again I’m using polyurethane construction adhesive. Its long open time, superior strength and no-drip consistency is perfect for complex glue-ups like this. Here I’ve linked all of the sides together and put beads of adhesive on the joints and in the dado:

apply glue to box joints

Assembly is simple: put the bottom panel in the dado and fold it up.

Rather than mess with a bunch of clamps, I just used two to pull the joints in tight, then secured them with brad nails:

glued and clamped box assembly

The nails don’t add any strength, just hold the joints together while the glue cures. I let the boxes dry overnight.

assembled boxes

The next day I did some sanding to smooth them out a bit:

sand the boxes smootha hole saw cuts a half-round handle into the box

To make a place to grip the boxes and get the lid off, I cut a semicircular hole in one edge. To do that, I used a 4″; hole saw in my drill press with the box clamped securely to the fence. A jigsaw could also be used, or the band saw, before the boxes are assembled.


boxes finished and stanckedboxes finished and stacked

I’m not exactly sure where these will end up. I may make a wall mounted rack to hold as many as eight of these, or I may just put them on a shelf somewhere. One thing is certain, they will be used and are a welcome addition to my shop.

cut diagram for plywood storage boxes

I also made a very detailed video of the project: