Bandsaw Box

Published Friday, June 21, 2024 by Bryan

“I've worked myself into the corner of needing to buy a spindle sander. Right now,” I told Amanda when I came up from the woodshop one day last month. I had finally decided what I wanted to make for my mother's birthday, and it required sanding lots of internal curves. I needed to get that gift done before we left for New Hampshire the next week, and I needed my carpal tunnel syndrome to not flare up while making that happen.

The only place that had one in stock within an hour's drive that day was Menards. Not the supplier I would have chosen, but that's the price I pay for having put off acquiring a tool I knew I needed for too long. I had to laugh when the employee checking me out griped about how it was not okay that I would have to mail my receipt in to claim my 11% rebate, instead of just paying 11% less at the register.

I have to admit, though, that this sander is not bad. The drums could be a little tighter in their tolerance - I had to add a layer of tape to the inside of one to get it to snug up on the insert, despite that insert working just fine with drums of other grits. But it did get the job done.

A wooden box, with slight curves. The oak grain is darker in a band near the top, and includes a near-black thread across the middle. The color transitions continue from the face of the box onto the shell of the box.
A bandsaw box! Note how the grain on the face of the drawer aligns with the grain on the shell of the box.

The job was a bandsaw box. I've seen these in magazines for years, and had been meaning to try making one since acquiring a bandsaw last fall. The idea is to start with a solid block of wood, slice it apart, and then glue the pieces back together so that the grain pattern still lines up. On the front, you're able to see how the drawer used to be part of the rest of the box. If the rest of the cuts are made well, the seams that get glued back together nearly disappear. Can you see them on this box?

A view from above. The drawer is 3/4 of the way out, and has the same striped layers of wood as the rest of the box.
The drawer pulled open to show how the layers of wood (oak, maple, and purpleheart) continue through all parts of the box.

This box is made of three woods. The front, back, and center strip are red oak, and the other two wider strips are soft maple. These all came from trees that used to be growing in my yard. The thinner colorful strips are purple heart.

A view from the side. Curves along the front and top of the handle are just visible.
The handle has curves in three dimensions.

The box itself turned out well, but I'm also particularly proud of the handle. I wasn't sure how I wanted to handle it for a long time, and even looked at cabinet pulls while I was buying the spindle sander. Inspiration struck the next morning, and I glued together scraps of oak and purpleheart. When the glue had cured, I sanded it to shape, including slight dimples for grip, easily formed with the spindle sander.

Categories: Woodworking