While I was working on the set of dominos for my parents, I was also working on a box to hold the set. I liked the idea of box joints, but really liked the joints Marc Spagnolo created for the case of his Gagdet Station.
Based on the size and number of dominos I was creating, I had some basic dimensions to work with and settled on this sketch for my box design:
After several iterations (seen above), I decided on three fingers for the sides – each 3/4″ wide, with two fingers for the ends – each 9/8″ wide. I liked not just the varied width of the fingers, but having an even number of fingers on one face and an odd number on the adjacent face.
I really wanted to go two-tone with the sides of this box and had previously purchased paduak and birdseye maple for the job. To create the extended box joints, I created a jig for the mitre gauge on my table saw:
I don’t yet have a stacked dado blade set, so cutting the fingers involved several passes over the blade. I used a stop block on both ends of the jig to set boundaries for how far to each side I could cut, then made passes over the blade, slowly moving the piece from one stop block to the other. I clamped opposing sides of the box together, both to decrease the number of cuts I was making and to create matching sides to make the fitting easier.
After several dozen passes of the mitre gauge, I was left with four close to fitting box sides:
On the table saw, I made a concerted effort to cut on the waste side of my markout lines – so I could custom work the fit of each set of fingers with a rasp. After fitting the fingers, I used the rasp to roundover the ends of each finger. I didn’t fully pillow the finger tips, but just broke the sharp edges enough to soften the profile.
With the sides fitted and shaped, I took my focus to the top and bottom of the box. For the bottom I used a piece of 1/2″ birch plywood. With my router table, I cut a groove on the inside of each side of the box. On the maple ends, the groove went completely through end-to-end. On the paduak sides, a through groove would show on the outside of the box, so for the first time I [slowly] dropped a piece of wood onto an already spinning router bit. I was surprised by how smoothly that went – hopefully my over-anxiousness was the key to the safety of the operation.
For the top, I used another piece of the birdseye maple. Again on the router table, I cut a rabbet on all for edges – allowing the top to rest within the opening of the box itself. For the pull on the top, I used a scrap of paduak. I first routed a groove with a 3/8″ core box bit on both sides of the paduak, about 1″ from the end. Then I chucked a 1/2″ roundover bit and profile the edge on both sides as well. A couple of countersunk screws from beneath the top, some Titebond II, and my assembly was complete!
After I wrestled the box away from its clamp-monster, it only took a few brushed on coats of amber shellac to complete the box: