Eleven Grooved Box Step by Step – Part 9: Applying the Lip Strips

Applying the Lip Strips

View the original Woodwright’s Shop video here.

When the sawn box edges are as good as they are going to get, it’s time to install those lip strips.  The glue up is not as intense as when the box itself was assembled but it’s still a good idea to dry fit and lay things out before hand. Remember these strips were carefully marked to match the grooves they were created in. If the strips appear to fit too tightly, trim them on the shooting board.

Glue protocol is similar to the first glue up. Brush glue evenly on the rabbit on the inside of the box all around, then brush glue on the bottom and lower half of the back of each strip, and carefully on the mitered ends. Insert the strips as they are buttered up. Don’t use so much glue that you get squeeze out. If you do, wipe it off immediately with a damp rag. Sometimes you have to bow the strips to force them into place. When they are all in place, tap all around with a soft mallet to make sure they are seated in their groove.

Preparing to glue the lip strips

Preparing to glue the lip strips

I use a tight string to make sure the miters on the strips are pulled together well.

String clamp on lip strips

String clamp on lip strips

As I said before, it never hurts to add another clamp.  These make sure the bottom edge of the strips get pressed home.

Spring Clamps on lip strip

Spring clamps

Since we removed one saw kerf plus planing both sides of the opening, the lip strips are now too tall.  I mark an estimated amount to remove around the lip then plane to the line. The planing will be more even that way.

Marking lip for removal

Marking lip for removal

Using the circular planing technique, remove material from the lip strips down to the line.  I’m rotating the plane counter clockwise here because that’s the way the grain lines up. Be careful as the strips are thin and chip easily.

Planing to the line

Planing to the line

The lid may go on at this point but usually not until a small amount of wood is removed from the periphery of the lip. A rabbit plane is a good tool for this job, but sand the corners round a bit first and watch the grain direction to reduce the chance of tear out at the end. Check the corners of the lid’s inside rabbit for glue squeeze out which can prevent the lid from seating.

Test fit the lid after each pass. For extra credit, also test fit the lid rotated 180 degrees from it’s original box position. Angle the plane slightly so the lip is tapered and the lid will go on easier. You may find that a bit more has to be circular planed off the top edge of the lip for the lid to fully seat.

Thinning lip for better fit

Thinning lip for better fit

Once the lid fits satisfactorily, go around the lip and all the other box edges with the block plane and chamfer the edges one or two passes. Ease the inside edges where the plane can’t reach to match with fine sandpaper.

Breaking the edges

Breaking the edges

With the lid sliding on easily and a nice even line all around the cut, the box construction is done.  Final sanding the outside and applying an oil finish is next.

Checking the lid for final fit

Checking the lid for final fit

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