How To Build A Small Wooden Box Using The Parts From An Old Dresser


My son Todd thought this would be a fun, interesting post for our website, so here we go.

You know, the idea for this box started when a great friend had some parts of a maple dresser in her garage for I don’t know how long, and could not live with the idea that it would end up in the dumpster. So she gave me the parts so that I could stare at them in my garage and feel bad and I suddenly realized I could repurpose some of this wood into a small wooden box.

Ok, so the idea was to show a kind of a how to step-by-step process, but then, I looked online to see what was out there and holy mackeral! If you want a step-by-step process, you can definitely find it online. If you want just about anything, you can find it.

The internet is amazing. For example, on this box I used miter joints, but here are some of the other joints that can be used.

Miter with wood spline joint, dowelled butt joint, dado, rabbet, lap joint, dovetail, mortise and tenon, tongue and groove, half lap and mitered corner, haunched mortise and tenon.

See what I mean, and that only scratches the surface. Type in Japanese joinery and look at some of the images of those joints. Pretty amazing.

The other thing is, what is the correct way and what is not the correct way of doing things?

Well, reading woodworking books and experience helps, but that brings up another thing. How much do I need to know? Because, I watched a few YouTube videos on how to build a small wooden box and saw things that I have never tried before. It makes you realize just how much you do not know even after years of doing woodworking. That is what is great about it. The journey never ends.

So, in this particular situation, we’re going to give this repurposed maple wood back to its rightful owner, which will make her cry, maybe, I’m not sure yet.

This is a small thing, but these people are treasures, so this should be great.

So This Is The Step-By-Step Process For This Box


1) Laid out the parts to determine what we could use for the box.

Repurposed Maple Wood


2) Used the drawer fronts for the top.

Wooden Box Lid In Progress


3) I used these side panel dresser parts for the sides and ends and the bottom of the box. Then laid the parts out to determine the size.

Side Part Panels Wooden Box Repurposed


4) Quickly cleaned up one edge with the belt sander.

Smooth Out Wood With Belt Sander


5) Then cut the parts to width on the table saw.

Cut Wood With Table SawCut Wood With Table Saw



6) Then we ripped some more pieces for the base.

Pieces of Wood for The Base


7) Grooved out the sides for the top and bottom.

Grooved Pieces of Wood


8) Then we used some 1-quarter inch panels for the bottom and glued 3 pieces together.

Wood Panels For Box


9) Cut miter joints on the sides and the ends.

Cut Miter Joints


10) Instead of hinges, I used a dowel pin and mortised out the ends so that the lid could lift up and then, using a bevel square made sure the lid opened more than 90 degrees.

Dowel Pin Bevel Square


Carving Wood


11) Sanded the bottom and the top.

Sand Bottom of Wooden Box

Sand Top of Wooden Box


12) Glued and pinned the box parts together and clamped.

Glue and Pin Wooden Box Together Also Clamp


13) Checked the box for square by measuring diagonally, corner to corner.

Checked Wooden Box For Square


14) I measured from the keyhole out both ways to get the exact center of the top.

Measure- Top of Box From Center Of Key Hole


15) Cut a little bit over so that you could do a final fit.

Fitting Top of Wooden Box

Sized Wooden Box In Progress


16) Insert the dowell pins and checked the lid to make sure the lid opens and closes.

Pins For Wood Box


17) Next, we pinned the bottom to the box using no glue so that it could expand and contract because it is solid wood.

Glue and Pin Base of Wooden Box

Base of Wooden Box In Progress


18) Mitered, glued and pinned the base to the box.

Base of Wooden Box


Base of Wooden Box

Wooden Box In Progress Lid Open


19) I took one of the old locks from the drawer front and had a locksmith make a key for it and oil it to make sure it all worked properly.

Key and Lock For Wooden Box

Key and Lock for Wooden Box

Key and Lock for Wood Box


20) Then we installed it and notched out for the latch.

Lock for Wood Box

Notched Out Latch for Wood Box


21) Stained the box with 2 coats of Minwax English Chestnut stain.

Minwax English Chestnut stain


Staining Wood Box With Minwax English Chestnut Stain


22) Used several coats of Minwax wipe on poly sanding with very fine 600 grit in between.

Wipe On Poly Finish For Wood Box


You can open the lid by applying a little pressure to the back center of the lid.

Wooden Box Lid Opening



And the final result.

Finished Wood Box



Finished Wooden Box With Lid Open