Three Routed Gift Boxes

What do these three beautiful boxes have in common? Each of them features a simple template routing technique.

Around this time of year, I'm always on the lookout for k small, simple projects to build as gifts for friends and family. And the three unique boxes shown in the photo above are perfect examples.

What makes them perfect? For one, they don't require a lot of time or material to make. You could probably make them all from pieces of wood leftover from some of your other projects.

Each of the boxes features simple construction and joinery. In fact, two of the boxes (the jewelry box shown on the opposite page and the secret-compartment box on page 14) are made from either a single block of wood or a glued-up blank. The case of the third box, the dresser-top valet on page 16, is joined by screws and has a small drawer with a simple locking rabbet.

Best of all, as a woodworker, I get the chance to try my hand at a different kind of template routing technique. With a template, you're not limited to square or straightline shapes. To learn more about this technique, read the article starting on page 6.

In the box projects that follow, you'll see just some of the ways you can use templates to carve out the inside of a box, or to create the shallow recesses of a tray.

So dust off your router and build one or all three of these boxes and get a few names crossed off your gift list. At the same time, you'll be honing a new skill.

Heirloom Boxes

These holes will hold steel pins that the lids will swivel on.

Now, although the body of the box isn't quite finished at this point, you can take the template off. Then set the body aside while you work on the lids. When the lids are done, the body will be cut to match the lids for a seamless look.

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