Basic Butt Joint Box

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • 1" x 6" x 36" board
  • approx 16 nails, 1-1/2" or 2"
Tool list
  • Cutbox - optional (see projects list and video link)
  • pencil
  • 2 large clamps (if using cutbox)
  • hand saw
  • hammer
  • sand paper (optional)
  • non-toxic finish (optional)
  1. Cut 5 pieces from your board (one 6" x 6" bottom, and four 6" x 7" sides). Sand the faces if you choose.
  2. How to use the cutbox to make the cuts: Mark your length across the face of your board with a pencil, slide the piece through the opening in the cut box and line up your pencil mark with the cut slot by looking through the hole on the top. Use the clamps to sandwich the cutbox between your board and the workbench at the "X"s in the diagram; this will keep your board steady as you saw. With your hand saw, cut through your board, stopping before you cut into the bottom board of the cutbox. Take your board out to measure and mark your next length and repeat.
  3. Start by making a butt joint with two side pieces along their 6" edges. You may choose to hold the bottom piece in a vice while you nail the next piece on. Refer to the diagram for nail placement (use at least two nails per side, and start them 1/2" in from the edge so the nails drive into the middle of the piece below.
  4. Once you have the first two sides nailed together, put the bottom piece (6" x 6") in place and nail it using two nails per side (1/2" in from the edge again).
  5. Continue adding the next two sides of the box, using two nails to secure the sides and two to secure the bottom of the box, as per the diagram.
  6. Finish your project using non-toxic finish, if you choose.
Extension Challenges
  1. Design a lid for your box.
  2. Try making a box with a different type of corner, such as a mitred joint, etc.
  3. Paint designs on your box.
  4. Make a custom-sized box for a specific purpose, or to store a specific item.
  5. Line your box with felt.
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