Index Card Box Project



Wood Selection, Milling Wood and the Box Joints

Dado for Bottom and Top of Box

Sanding, Finish Application and Final Product



This is a multi box project with box joint joinery...will make several variants of card file boxes.

The beta card file box is based on this box shown to the right. 

The box will be will hold 3 x 5 index card stock and dividers.

material is .42 inch thick, the end pieces are 4 inch by 4 inch... the front and back are 6.5 inches long.

 The basic box...
finger jointed with a glued on top...after glue up the top will be cut off at the band saw.
on the end blanks, the top and bottom dadoes are 1/8 inch through grooves...
the long sides will have a 1/8 inch stopped dado...
an end and a side joined...
the  bottom panel will be ~.25 inch thick with a 1/8 inch rabbeted ledge.

Wood Selection, Milling,

Box Joints

Wood selection for beta model was Honduran mahogany...left over from the machinist chest...
The layout marking pattern of one side...
Typical marking pattern for all four sides...

The Infinity blade height was set at slightly above the thickness of the material.
.42 inch

This will make the finger ends slightly proud.

Critical to always make sure the top marking arrow is pointed to the right.

James milling the finger joint cuts on the mahogany.
Dry fit for box
Dado for Bottom Panel

The front, back and side panels will have an 1/8 inch groove to accommodate  bottom panel that  is ~1/4" thick...with a 1/8 rabbet...

we will use a 1/8 spiral up bit in  Ryobi  router.

Set up was made on the MFT3 table using Parf fence, stops and clamps.

Original plan for stopped groove in long sides was changed to a through dado.
The stopped dado was placed in the end panels...router bit was plunged and lifted...
Routed grooves...
The bottom panel rabbet was milled using a sacrificial fence with 1/4 inch Infinity blade
Crosscut rabbet made using a backer board push.
Some last minute ripping was done using Parf fence
Bottom panel with rebates.
Final fit tweaks with plane...
Light glue application...clamping...
After glue up...tested a variety of methods for making the fingers coplanar...sanding, chisels, block planes, etc. 
our favorite method continues to be flush cutting with the Veritas flush saw...planing with small LN block plane, and then sanding flush.

Top and bottom edges were made coplanar using belt sander.
The oversized top panel was glued to the box and clamped...two easy pressure clamps at first to avoid movement.
Then added four Bessey clamps.
Glued up unit...shown upside down...oversized top extends beyond the sides...
Removed some of the excess overhang at the bandsaw.
Edges of the top plate were flush routed with a pattern bit with a bearing...
Then a small chamfer was made with a 45 bit
To separate the top from the lower box...1/8" thick Tenryu blade was used with a height that stopped short of cutting all the way through the side of the box. 
Rotated three times at the P66.

The remaining uncut wood in the kerf allowed the box to retain its shape...the kerf was then finished with Odate pull stroke hand saw.
The finished sawn kerf
Edges were cleaned with chisel...
...with small LN block plane and hand sanding.
Sanding, Finish Application, Hardware, Final Product

After light sanding,  I covered fingers with tape to prevent future glue surfaces from getting shellac on them...padded on 2# Super Blonde shellac...three coats total.
Minor gaps were present at several finger joints...
The solution was mahogany dust from the project...applied with a brush using shellac as the glue.

Finish sanded the box exterior...hand sanded at 150x, 2209, 320x...cleaned with acetone...then padded on a coat of shellac.

Ended up with 3 coats of shellac...light 000 steel wool rub in between.
Brass hinge hardware was installed at 1 1/8 in...clamped top and bottom together, marked holes, pre-drilled a very shallow pilot with 1/16 bit, placed screws with smallest Grace Phillips driver.
Finished rear of box...



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