Eleven Grooved Box Step by Step – Part 2: Fitting the Lip Strip

Fitting the Lip Strip

See the original “Woodwright’s Shop” video here.

In the center of the first photo in Part 1, you see narrow strips of Cherry.  These must be precisely fitted into groove #3 before the board can be sliced into four box sides.  The strip forms the lip around the inside of the box bottom that the lid seats onto.  Roy glosses over this step in his video, he uses a strip already planed to width.

I was using a “Moxon” style vise wide enough to clamp a 24 inch strip for planing but found it didn’t hold securely enough to work the edges. Also it was a pain to insert and remove the strips. The strips are flexible enough in the wide dimension to bend and cause trouble while you’re planing.  That’s probably why Roy skips over this step. I now have a better method using the dog holes on my nice flat planing board.

I insert pegs in the holes at about a 6 inch interval then weave the thin strip around them.  This has several advantages:

  • holds the strip edge flat against the planing board
  • provides a wider surface for the plane so you get a truer planed edge
  • off and on in seconds for a trial fit in the groove.

The photo shows one of the strips and the board it will be fitted into.  I’m using the #6 Stanley which has a bed long enough to nicely ride the curved strip.

Preparing to trim lip strip

Preparing to Trim Strip

It takes many tries to get the strip to fit tightly. Sometimes part of the strip fits but in other places it’s too wide, then a block plane is best to shave a small area.  It’s not fatal to have the strip a bit loose in a few spots. It just has to stay in place during the next planing operation, and while slicing the board into four mitered side pieces.

At this point, the strips project above the side stock about 1/16″, I tap them in with a rubber mallet to make sure they’re seated in the groove.

Four lip strips fittec

Four Lip Strips Fitted

Next, the fitted strips get planed down level with the grooved board.  I use a thick set block plane to remove most of the protrusion, a longer bed 5/1/4 plane to get it almost even, then a #4 smoother over the whole surface until the strip is perfectly flush.

Four lip strips fittec

Leveling Lip Strip

At this point if there is some tearout to clean up, I scrape and sand the entire surface as it will be awkward to smooth after it’s sliced up into side pieces.  I sand to 280 grit because I have a lot of 280 paper.

Sanding the inside surface

Sanding the Inside Surface

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