The basic construction of the box is simple. The sides are glued and brad nailed together. The bottom panel of the box is glued in to a dado that has been routed in the all four sides. The top slides into another set of dados routed into the top of the sides. The Sketch up file for this project can be found and downloaded for free at www.merzkecustomwoodworking.com.
The boards I have are 5 1/2 inches by 39 inches. Since these boards came from a pallet there are nail holes at the ends and middle of the boards so I plan the layout to avoid these nail holes.
At first I just cut the boards down to rough length. I will cut them down to final size later to make sure they fit perfectly. Basically I am cutting off the ends and the center section where nail holes were. Once I have all the boards cut down I take them over to my thickness planer where I plane them to 1/4 inch.
Now take all four side pieces and the top and bottom to the table saw and first cut the the rough edge off the board and then rip them all to an width. For my wine boxes I rip the sides to 5 1/2 inches and the top and bottom to 5 inches.
I then take them back to the miter saw where I cut them to their final length. The long side boards get cut to 16 inches and the short sides get cut to 4 1/2 inches.
To make the dados for the top and bottom panel to fit I set up a 1/4 inch straight cutting bit in my router table at a depth of a 1/4 inch. Both short end sides get a 1/4 inch dado that is 1/4 inch from the edge. The longer side pieces will get a stopped dado on the bottom edge and a dado that is stopped on one end and through on the other end to allow for the top to slide on and off.
Take one of the short end pieces and cut off the 1/4 strip above the dado and save. This small piece will be glued on the top to act as a handle and to maintain the original lines of the box.
It's finally time to build a box. Make sure to apply enough wood glue to each of the joints. I use brad nails to help hold it while the glue dries. Even with butt joints the box is plenty strong enough because of the long grain glue joints between the bottom panel and the sides.
Slide the top panel into the dado in the box and then mark where you need to cut it to length. I then take the top panel to the miter saw and cut it. Then I take the small piece that I cut off the short side panel and glue that on as a pull.And now to everyone's favorite part of a projects... SANDING!!!! Here I just do a light sanding. I don't want to take the wood down all the way since I want a rustic look. I also slightly sand the edges just to brake the sharp edge. It is also a good idea to slide the top panel on and sand the end flush while it is in the closed position.
At this point you can decorate the box like I did with a ink jet printer photo transfer and then apply some spray lacquer or come up with your own method of decorating and finishing the box. If you really want to get crazy you can just leave it unfinished. Either way your finished at this point!
I hope this tutorial has helped and I would love to see what you come up with for yours!