Beautiful Bandsawn Boxes
Seamless boxes from a single block of wood
Synopsis: Bandsawn boxes are quick to make, requiring no measuring, no joinery, and almost no planning. Yet they are impressive to look at and are a great place to explore your creativity. Michael Cullen explains how to make two kinds of bandsawn boxes, one with two walls that meet in a point at each end, and the other with four walls and rectangular form. Each type starts with a block of wood, a bandsaw, and an imagination.
I build a lot of furniture—often complex, exacting pieces carefully mapped out in scale drawings. Some years ago I began making bandsawn boxes as a way to relieve the tension of working on such long, demanding projects. The boxes are quick, requiring no measuring, no joinery, and almost no planning. They welcome creativity, opening a door to limitless variations of form and embellishment. And most of all, they are fun. I can grab a piece of scrap, make a fast pencil sketch right on the wood, and work freehand at the bandsaw to create a box in no time.
I’ve always admired Shaker boxes, with their combination of good form and minimal material making a container that is lightweight, strong, and elegant. My goal with bandsawn boxes is similar: to push the limits of the material without compromising strength or function—and wind up with something beautiful.
I cut the boxes from a single chunk of wood, sawing it apart and then gluing it right back together with some parts removed. This makes for perfect grain matches and no issues of wood movement. I cut a tapered plug from the center of the blank, which I use to make a perfectly fitting bottom to the box as well as a keeper that holds the lid in place.
I make two types…