Of all the ways to top the box, I have two favorites at the moment. Luckily, both self-register lids without expensive hinges (the cheaper ones are best left for shop projects). The first method is the wicked smart rabbet to start before sawing the miter. The second simple one is the box used in FWW 303 “Building a Hinged Box”. The low inset back of the box acts as a stopper, allowing the lid to fit into the notch. Done right and flicking the lid open and closed is satisfying. The box was originally intended as a salt shaker, so it’s easy to open when you’re busy cooking. It turns out that fidgeting is also fun.
To get a good fit, I made a rimmed lid, traced it to the box I glued it on, and cut a notch in. The router table was my best friend here. Because you can cut lips and notches more easily and cleanly with a special bit. (For those of you who have followed my previous blog on this box, this process is an updated version of that. Either way works, but the lid is formed first, as we’re doing here. It will definitely improve.)
The bit for the lid is a 1/2 inch 45° flat bottom V-groove bit. shank. I wanted the tab to be centered, so I flipped the workpiece between passes, feeding it face down into the bit. The process is pretty easy. Cut the ends to fit the fence, tap the fence slightly, and cut the ends again. Repeat until the lip is the desired width. This bit has a flat top cutter that is angled at a 45 degree angle to the face to create the perfect notch.
However, there are two safety concerns. Start by filling the bits into the zero clearance fence. If there is a split fence, this closes the wide unsafe gap needed for wide bits. The lid is thin, so there’s a good chance it will slip into crevices.
Second, for safety, use enough support blocks. It also absorbs the blowback for each cut.
There’s one step before tracing the lid, but at this point it’s still too wide and too long. Keeping the table as centered as possible, shoot the ends to match the opening in the box that is now glued on. If the box is not square, trim the edges to fit the corners. Fit the lid to the width just before installation.
Then trace the lid to mark the depth of the notch.
Route the notch into the final shape using a 1/8 inch long pattern bit. There isn’t much room to maneuver, so work carefully. Look at the edge of the notch and handle the waste.
Take a baby-sized nibble when throwing away the waste. One prevents blowouts inside the box. But it also makes it safer because the feed direction is a little more complicated above and below the angled edge of the notch. The less material you remove with each pass, the safer you are.
Once you’re close to the layout line, put the lid in place and make sure the bottom of the notch and the back of the box are on the same plane. You can also monitor the height of the bit against the top edge of the back, but check the setting on the notch lid.
Once the notch is at its final depth, adjust the edge so that it is parallel to the notch in the lid. I like the sandpaper pasted on the wooden strips of wood fancy. For an overall change, consider fleas and good care.
Once the notch is complete, check how much the lid sticks out from the back at each end. If the box is not square, note the angles and flatten it to fit.
The box uses two short brass bars as hinges, positioned so that the back of the box acts as a stop. I don’t understand why the standard barrel hinge wouldn’t work as well.
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