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Phil's Favorite Shop Machine

By: Phil Huber
Woodsmith Shop Season 15 Episode 4 Recap: Quick & Easy Band Sawn Boxes

The band saw is my favorite shop machine — it’s not even close. There’s so much you can do with a band saw. It’s a machine that rewards a careful initial setup and some practice.

It’s also a safe tool to use. With the blade moving down into the table, kick back is eliminated. I use mine mostly for furniture building tasks: ripping, crosscuts, joinery, and the odd curve thrown in. One skill that I have a need to improve is making tight curves — they just don’t show up in the kind of work I usually do. However, the small boxes in this episode rely on making tight, smooth curves.

Chris Fitch designed the three boxes and planned for them to be made all at the band saw. (Well mostly — there are a few holes to drill.) While you’re certainly free to make any of the boxes you want, we present them in a specific order to help you gradually improve your skills at the band saw.

The leaf-shaped box Chris makes introduces the concept of sawing a solid wood blank apart into the various box components. The laminated box I made goes a couple steps further. The box blank is glued up from several pieces to add visual interest. Then I made a hinged lid that turns the box into a small chest.

Watch the Episode: If the Woodsmith Shop isn’t on in your area, contact your local public television station. Or stream it here.

Download the Free Plan for this episode.

WSM S15E4Boxes2 Logan’s box includes a pair of drawers. In a way, these are simply smaller boxes nested inside the main box. And Logan can’t resist a little turning. So he made custom pulls for the drawers.

Another technique that we included is lining the boxes with flocking. It consists of applying fine fibers to a paint-like adhesive you brush on the inside of the box. When dry, it looks like felt or velvet.

A few years ago, I sold my table saw to free up more space in my home shop. My band saw now handles most cutting tasks. Every decision has a cost and using a band saw means a coarser cut edge. I eliminate those marks with a few swipes of a hand plane or some sanding. That choice changed how I build and approach making projects. And I’m a better woodworker for it.

BONUS TIPS: Band saws allow you to cut almost any curve freehand. Circles on the other hand … Here’s a shop-built jig that lets you cut circles in seconds. S15E04 Project1 Boxes aren’t the only start-to-finish band saw project. This tray works for entertaining or a handsome centerpiece.

Practice will make you a better band sawyer. It helps to know where to start. This guide will put you on the right track. S15E04 Project2

Published: Feb. 23, 2022
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