Task 1: Making the box

Making a Monogrammed Wooden Box

In order to introduce you to the standard operating procedures of the workshop and how to safely use a large number of the workworking tools, this personalized box project is the first product that you will create in Design Technology 1.

You will learn how to cut accurate finger joints to form the body of the box, and how to pierce your initials into the lid. To finish, you will make some brass handles and will recess these into the lid, and then learn how to apply an oil finish to the wood to emphasis the grain and improve the luster.


Please Click here for the Box Assessment Descriptors

Stages of Making the Box

Please follow the stages below (these will also be taught 'live' to you during class) to make your box. If you have any questions or concerns please consult with your teacher - Remember, Never use any tools or machinery until you have had a formal demonstration from your teacher.

  1. Collect the length of Camphor wood that you will need to divide into 4 pieces. Each piece must precisely measure 122mm by 122mm by 10mm.

2. Use a Try Square to check that all corners of your pieces of wood are 90 degrees...there should be no light passing through between the wood and the try square.

If not, then you will need to mark these pieces and sand them square but note that this will have a 'knock on' effect and the size of your box will become smaller with the more material that you have to sand away. Finish by making sure that all pieces are the same size and then check again with the Try Square.


3. Lay out your 4 pieces side by side  - try to get the grain to 'flow' through the 4 pieces. Have the sides that you would like on the OUTSIDE of the box facing you - select these based on the aesthetics of the wood grain.

Then label each matching side with matching letters - a a, b b, c c, and d d.


Use a Marking Gauge to score the wood on the inside face of the box. Your marking gauge needs to be set 1mm greater than the thickness of the wood (i.e. around 11mm) - this will allow your 'fingers to poke out so that they can be sanded later in the project.


Use the marking gauge to divide the 10cm into an odd number of 'fingers. For this box, use 2cm as the measurement for each finger. 2+2+2+2+2 = 10.

Once the marks have been made with the gauge, lay the pieces out with the inside markings facing you,


Use your pencil to 'hash out' the fingers that you want to REMOVE - If you lay each joint side by side your hash marks should zig zag.


You are now going to cut away the hashed out fingers - It is vital that this is done ACCURATELY and ONE THE WASTE SIDE OF THE LINE, you do not want any gaps in these joints.

Use the TENON saw and COPING saw to remove these fingers (I will demonstrate how to do this beforehand, some make sure you carefully follow my instructions)


Make sure that all of the joints are as accurate as possible and if necessary use a chisel to straighten any edges or errors - The fingers of the joints should poke out slightly (by about 0.5 to 1mm).


Make sure that all of the joints are as accurate as possible and if necessary use a file to straighten any edges or errors - The fingers should poke out slightly.

Once your finger joints are all cut you need to get me to help you to Rout a slot for the base piece of the box.

Cut a piece of plywood that is 6mm thick by 11cm square, this will slot into the routed slot to form the base of your box

Ask me to to rout the slots for your lid on two of the four side pieces of your box,

Trim the other two sides so that they line up with the routed slots.


Cut a piece of wood that is 12mm thick by 11cm by 12cm,

Use Adobe Illustrator to draw your initials or a simple symbol that will fit inside the 11 by 12 cm area,

Use Carbon paper to trace this design onto the 11 by 12cm piece of camphor,


Drill holes inside the traced image,


Thread a blade from the coping saw or fret saw into the holes and cut out the image.


Use a file and glass paper to remove any cut marks from the inside of the letters


Cut 2 small pieces of brass (3cm by 2cm),

File the edges square and check with a try square,

File a Chamfer onto one end of both pieces,

Drill holes (I will give you the correct size drill bit)

Counter sink the holes for the head of the screw


Mark out area for brass pieces on the lid (it should overlap wood by 1.5cm and be placed in the center),


Follow my guidance to chisel out this area in the camphor so that the brass slots tightly into the lid,


You are now ready to Glue your work together - follow Mr my guidance,


Use various grades of sand paper to smooth out all joints and get a good finish from the wood,


Use the screws to firmly attach the brass pieces to the lid


Use a wipe on polyurethane or oil to finish your product. Depending on what you select you may need to apply several coats with light sanding in between each coat.