Building A Simple Box From One Board

I do not know about you, but it seems I am always in need of a box to put stuff in while working on a project.  Have yet to build a box that ended up sitting empty.  It seems my shop cannot stand an empty box.

This is a relatively quick & simple utility box to build.  I like the fact that I can take a single 6ft – 1 x 6, make six crosscuts, and have the required five boards that I need for my box.  I also make two additional crosscuts for temporary spacer boards.  So after eight crosscuts I am ready to build my box.

I started by cutting the two long side boards & bottom board.  Note that all three of these boards will be the same length (11-1/2″ lengths for this project).  I measured and marked the first board for cutting with my Mitre Saw.  To mark the wood, I used my utility knife & a 12″ combination square.

After cutting the 1st 11-1/2″ length board, I used the stop block setup shown in the Photo below, to cut the other two 11-1/2″ length boards.  I used the stop block setup shown since cutting identical lengths is critical in order to insure that all corners are square.


Next to be cut are the two short side boards.  The length for each of these two boards will be 7″.  I have no options regarding this length, due to the way the box boards are fastened together.  I measured and then marked the 7″ length using my utility knife & 12″ combination square.  This is another critical length since it has to equal the width of the bottom board (5-1/2″) plus the thickness of the two long side boards (1-1/2″ = 3/4″ + 3/4″).

After cutting the first 7″ board, I used the stop block setup shown in the Photo below, to cut the other 7″ board. Again, I used the stop block setup shown since cutting identical lengths is critical.



Here are the five boards I cut for making my shop box.


Individual board dimensions for the box I will be building (cut from a single 6ft – 1 x 6) are as follows:

  1. The two Long Sides — 11-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ x 3/4″, for each long side board.
  2. Box Bottom — 11-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ x 3/4″ (Same dimensions as the Long Side boards).
  3. The two Short Sides — 7″ x 5-1/2″ x 3/4″ (For each Short Side board).

The layout for the five boards is shown in the Photo below.



Before assembling & clamping the box boards together, I drilled the holes for my screws. The Photo & two Sketches below provide additional details regarding how I went about building the box.



I set my 6″ combination square at 3/8″ and penciled a line as shown in the Photo above.  The 3/8″ dimension was used since this is half of 3/4″, and 3/4″ is the thickness of all the boards I used in building this box.




For the wood screws, the spacing dimensions I used on the four sides of the box, are shown in the Sketches above.  My thinking in spacing the screws, was as follows:

  1. Spacing between screws not to exceed — 2 x Screw Length
  2. Use 3/8″ spacing from end of board (As a Rule of Thumb), although I deviated from this dimension, for the two Short Side Boards.  Reason for this deviation was to avoid the screw thru the adjacent Long Side Boards at the bottom end and for symmetry regarding the screw at the top end of the Short Side Boards.
  3. Minimum of three screws along any board end being fastened with screws.

Next I used a 12″ metal rule & 0.7mm mechanical pencil to mark the screw locations.  With my awl & rubber hammer, I made a starter hole for drilling 5/64″ diameter holes.  Ruler, awl, pencil, & marked up board are shown in the following Photo.



In order to help ensure that the hole drilled is perpendicular to the face of the board, I arranged the board for drilling as shown in the Photo below.



The Photo above shows me using my brace & countersink bit.  A pilot hole and countersink is important for helping prevent wood splitting problems.  I tried going with just a pilot hole on a scrap piece of wood and wood splitting was a problem.  Then, I did both a pilot hole & countersink, and the wood splitting problem disappeared.

Shown in the Photo below are the various tools I used for measuring & marking.  Also, shown are the two cordless drills that I used for this project.



Time to position the five box boards, and clamp the four sides & bottom of the box together, as shown in the Photo below.  To get the box boards positioned in place, I used “F” type clamps and wood blocks (Approximately 2″ x 2″ x 1/2″).  The two boards shown with deck screws lying on top of them (I think of them as temporary spacers) were used to help align the two Long Sides of the box.  The temporary spacer boards are removed after all the box boards have been fastened together with screws.  Dimensions for each “Temporary Spacer” are 4-3/4″ high x 5-1/2″ wide x 3/4″ thickness.



As shown in the Photo above, I used the top of the Table Saw to layout and clamp the box boards as shown.  I found the Table Saw fence helpful while I worked to clamp the boards together.

The Photo below shows the drill & 5/64″ drill bit, #2 square bit, and type wood screw I used for fastening the box boards together.



I used my cordless drill to partially screw in the wood screws, and then I used a screwdriver with a #2 square bit, as shown in the Photo below.  I feel that using a screwdriver for the final tightening of the screws into the box boards, helps prevent damage from over tightening of the threaded connections between the boards.



The parameters of the wood screws I used for this project, are as follows:

  1. Pro Crafter woodworking screws (#8 x 2-1/2″ length), bought at Lowes.
  2. Shank Diameter = 0.1016″
  3. Thread Diameter = 0.1484″
  4. See the following website, for Shank and Thread diameter illustration:                                                         Bolt Depot – Measuring Fastener Diameter

Pictured below is the final product, and I be darn if it’s not already filled up with stuff.  Told you my shop cannot stand an empty box.


Just by chance after building this box, I was looking at this box.  And, I thought, “You know, I bet that 5 lb box of dry wall screws I have would fit in this box”.  Sure enough, it fits  perfectly.  There’s actually room for two 5 lb screw or nail boxes, to fit inside this wood box.  See photo below.


In Closing
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Until next time, take care