470 Super simple box

November 20, 2011

I mentioned on a recent episode of Wood Talk Online Radio I was building some small boxes for my wife Samantha’s photography business –Shuttersam.com.

The boxes are best described as being nothing more than a “Super simple box”. No extravagant ornamentation, no exotic species and no complicated joinery. The idea was a plain box that would be given to her clients with a DVD of their images inside, along with maybe a few proofs.

I have no delusions that these boxes will be passed down from generation to generation, but in fact expect them to be set aside on a shelf somewhere or maybe even re-purposed for some other task. So the design for the box was that it wouldn’t take long to build, be inexpensive and just be functional.

The first few took me a little while to get the building process tweaked. But after having built about a dozen or more so far, it now only takes a couple of hours to batch out up to 6 at a time. In fact the bottleneck now is waiting for the glue to dry.

I’m planning to experiment with more box making in the future. So plan to see some various designs and construction processes in the future. But for now, enjoy this super simple box.

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  1. Paul's Simple Lidded Box | Matt's Basement Workshop | October 11, 2015
  1. Skee says:


    Two things.

    1. It was scary to see you glue on top of your table saw – something I would think isn’t so great on cast iron versions.

    2. I noticed in the glue up section that you had tape on the inside of the box – I assume this came off before you actually glued the second flat surface in place?

    What a great project! You make it look easy.

    Thank you for all you do.

    • Matt says:

      Haha!!! I was wondering if anyone would notice that little flub up lol?! I was tempted to put in a freeze frame zoomed in on it to make fun of myself.

      Ironically, it was because of the footage from that first build I made the comment about taping on the outside. When I built it, I DID glue on the top without thinking, and then panicked when I tried to take them apart.

      Thankfully it came apart, but I had to do some tricky maneuvering to get it done.

      As for glueing on the saw top, THAT is yet again another beauty of the Granite top. I do so much gluing up there, and even wet sanding. With the dried on glue, it just scrapes right off with no issues lol.

      Thanks for watching and catching the mistake. I should have a prize for you!

  2. Eric R says:

    Great video Matt.
    I can think of about a million uses for cool little boxes like that.
    One sheet of ply and you can make plenty.
    Thanks again.

  3. Brian says:

    Do you ever have trouble separating the top and bottom after you’ve glued it all up? It seems like it wouldn’t take much squeeze-out to get them stuck together…

    • Matt says:

      So far I haven’t had any issues yet, but I had a close call once. I think the key to success so far has been that I’ve made every effort to keep the glue at the far ends vs in the middle of each piece.

      Also, I make sure to wipe away excess glue in case it looks like there’s too much. But given its size, pretty much a dab will do it lol!

      Thanks for watching.

  4. Paul C says:

    Matt, as usual an outstanding video, you never disappoint. I would be interested in your method of batching out the boxes. Such a simple yet neat design. Thanks for sharing the process.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Paul! I’ll see if I can do a short video to demonstrate it. Basically it’s all about cutting strips of plywood and then batching the cuts.

  5. David says:

    This box turned out great, Matt. I wasn’t sure about the look of plywood, but for something this scale and considering its intended use, it was the right choice for sure.

    I don’t think anyone will be throwing the box away.

    Thanks for the great podcst!


  6. Tom says:

    I think woodsmithshop made a box with the same top to bottom joint but kept the top and bottom attached until the very end and cut the halves apart with a knife, check it out I think it would speed up your production , thanks for the video keep up the good work

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Tom I’ll have to go check it out. If there’s any tips that could speed up the process even just a little, it’s worth a look.

    • Dan says:

      There is also a finewoodworking article about spliting a box after construction. Basically, you make a kerf cut in the inside wall of the sides and glue the entire bow together. Then, when dry place a second kerf cut on the outside of the box, directly beside the one on the inside. Probably would take a bit of planning and an extra side to set up, but could be alittle easier. Thanks for all the videos matt.

      • Matt says:

        I’ll definitely have to check it out. If there’s a chance it’ll speed up the process, totally worth taking a look.

        Thanks for the heads up!

  7. Matt Hartley says:

    Great video Matt – once i get some of the more pressing projects done, i will have to try this, i like the tape as clamps 🙂

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Matt,

      If you get a chance, checkout the follow up video I did not to long ago where I try a new technique that really seems to speed up the process of cutting the sides.

      Thanks for watching.

  8. Frank says:

    Have u considered mitering the sides and top so as to not see the plywood edge? Love your podcast keep em coming!

    • Matt says:

      At one point I did consider doing just that, but when I discussed it with my wife she wasn’t as keen on it. She likes the look, except when I really don’t pay attention and let too many voids show.

  9. Mike says:

    What thickness is the top bottom and sides

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