Box Lid Frame and Panel Question


TomInNC
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I am attempting to make a jewelry box for a Christmas present. Since this is my first box attempt, I was going to follow some plans that are in Stowes basic box making. Comparing the 2 jewelry box plans, I feel like I am missing something. In one of the plans, to make the lid he first cuts grooves in the box. Then, he cuts a groove in a decorative top panel, insets the panel in the grooves of the 4 sides, and glues the box up. The lid is then created by sawing the lid off on the table saw. 

Since the panel is glued into the frame and both are solid wood, wouldn't wood movement cause issues here? 

What really confused me is that in the second jewelry box plan, to make the top panel he uses plywood "for stability" and then just glues the decorative panel to the plywood. 

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On 11/30/2021 at 12:30 PM, TomInNC said:

Since the panel is glued into the frame and both are solid wood, wouldn't wood movement cause issues here? 

Are you sure he glued it in or did he just insert it into the groove and glue the box itself.  If he just inserted it into the groove with no glue then the panel is allowed to float giving it room to move, which would be much because it is a small project.

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On 11/30/2021 at 4:21 PM, Coop said:

Tom, I have that book. Which two boxes are you referring to? 

The box where I believe he glues in the panel is called "A Fold Out Jewelry Box" that starts on page 96. The box where the lid is just glued to plywood is "A jewelry box with a sliding tray" on page 118. I would basically like to build the sliding tray box but with the kid from the fold out box.

Regarding the question about the gluing of the panel, it's hard to tell, but the instructions for assembly on page 104 sure make it would like the panel is glued in.

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On the box lid on the page 96 illustration, page 104, #2 says to apply glue to the mitered edges. He didn’t state but glue should not be applied to the grooves. I’m working on a box now with this particular lid (it’s made separate and not sawn away from the box, but same principle). I cut the overall width of my top panel about 1/16” short to allow for expansion. When cutting the tongue around the perimeter of the panel, I cut the exposed part approx. 1/32” shy of the inside dimensions of the lid frame, on all four sides. It’s not necessary for expansion to leave this space on the ends but it gives an equal gap on all four sides. I cut the groove in the lid sides first and set the thickness of the tongue on a test piece. 

70BFB8D1-3466-46BC-8E49-AF2AB05D6258.thumb.jpeg.32c92b7c636113a8038dddf5fee92891.jpeg

 

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On 11/30/2021 at 5:28 PM, TomInNC said:

So if the lid really is floating, would I need to do anything to keep the lid from rattling around?

One way is to apply a few small dabs of clear Lexel into the grooves of the frame during assembly. Or shoot a pin nail from the underside thru the frame, into the panel, at the center of each end. 

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On 11/30/2021 at 6:32 PM, Coop said:

On the box lid on the page 96 illustration, page 104, #2 says to apply glue to the mitered edges. He didn’t state but glue should not be applied to the grooves. I’m working on a box now with this particular lid (it’s made separate and not sawn away from the box, but same principle). I cut the overall width of my top panel about 1/16” short to allow for expansion. When cutting the tongue around the perimeter of the panel, I cut the exposed part approx. 1/32” shy of the inside dimensions of the lid frame, on all four sides. It’s not necessary for expansion to leave this space on the ends but it gives an equal gap on all four sides. I cut the groove in the lid sides first and set the thickness of the tongue on a test piece. 

70BFB8D1-3466-46BC-8E49-AF2AB05D6258.thumb.jpeg.32c92b7c636113a8038dddf5fee92891.jpeg

 

Thanks! This is really helpful.

It seems like assembling the top separately would be safer in my case since I am pretty new at this.

For your lid, did you just put the panel in the groove and then glue the miters like you were making a picture frame?

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Before you responded, my googling turned up "space balls" (not the movie) for panel doors. Is the Lexel working on the same principle?

I may use solid wood for the base, and the plans call for 1/8 inch grooves. It looks like the space balls would be too large, but caulk should fit.

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Yes I did. When assembling the lid, go by Stowe’s example on page 147, using blue tape and rubber bands. Once the glue is dry, use splines or keys as on page 148 to strengthen the joint and add a little flavor to the looks. Pages 16 & 17 shows how to make a jig to cut the slots for these keys.

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I’ve used space balls before and yes, they are too large unless you cut the panel sides down to allow for them. The Lexel never  hardens and remains flexible. You can also use a silicone caulk that does get firm. Run you a thin bead on some wax paper and after it firms up, take small slices and use like you would the space balls.

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Do you think it would cause any issues using the floating panels for the box bottom in lieu of the plywood? I don't have any 1/4 plywood at the moment, and getting it right now can be a bit of a pain. I have plenty of maple, and since the exterior will be maple, I was debating just making the bottom a solid maple floating panel.

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I think it would look great and better than ply. Just cut it like the lid panel, allowing for expansion. Please post a pic when completed. 

I cut my Woodworking teeth on Stowe’s book, starting with the first box and have referred back to his book several times. Good luck! 

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Thanks. Will try to remember on the picture. I've gotten a lot if help here, but I've been terrible about following up with how things turn out. Just in the last month, advice from this forum helped me successfully refinish our kitchen island and make a really neat puzzle tray for my wife. If only the rest of the internet was this helpful!

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While all the above advice is sound, remember that wood moves by small percentages of the piece size. On a jewelry box size lid, it would take some pretty extreme conditions to cause problems, even glued in. For a floating panel, another option to avoid rattling is to glue an inch or so of the panel into the groove, at the center of the end grain. That holds it in place, but still lets it expand to the sides.

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If you can make your panels so there is a little friction entering into the groove. Not hammer it in tight friction but modest pressure by hand. Kills the rattling. But my preference would be a solid bottom concealed edges by the sides of the box. I like the frame and panel top. Last my preference.   Cutting the lid off on the table saw offers perfect grain match and is only slightly more difficult than ripping a board. Think it through in advance and your hands clear of the cut line.

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13 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

While all the above advice is sound, remember that wood moves by small percentages of the piece size. On a jewelry box size lid, it would take some pretty extreme conditions to cause problems, even glued in. For a floating panel, another option to avoid rattling is to glue an inch or so of the panel into the groove, at the center of the end grain. That holds it in place, but still lets it expand to the sides.

+1 I glue the center inch of panels often on cabinet doors.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks. There were a lot of "firsts" for me with this project, including mortised hinges. To install the hinges, I tried following Stowe's approach to using a story stick to set stop blocks on the router table. The results were ok, but they mortises on the top and bottom were not dead-on aligned, so I still had a fair amount of chisel work to do to clean things up. I know some other posters mentioned working through Stowe's book. Do you use the story stick method, or do you take some other approach? Given all the setup time at the router table, I am thinking I would have finished things much faster if I just used the chisels for the whole process. 

Are there any other books out there that you would recommend working through like a textbook for skill building? My next project is the hybrid workbench through the guild, but after that I would like to make several arts and crafts pieces for the house, and if there is a nice book out there like these box building books that walks you through several pieces, that would be a perfect way to get started.

 

 

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