By Patrick Stafford

A lot of woodworkers I know are great cooks, possibly because most of us can't afford to go out. . . At any rate, I designed these curved-top boxes to hold recipes. The mortise-and-tenon joints are cut with a router and a simple template, making these recipe boxes ideal for small production runs if you're inclined. The curved lids can either be coopered or cut from solid slock. Or, if you prefer, you could make a flat lid, altering the upper profile of the box sides to match.

My first attempt was the smaller of the two boxes you sec here. It holds 3-in. x 5-in. cards and has worked well enough for me. The only problem is that I found myself copying many recipes out of magazines onto the small cards. I realized that if I had larger cards I could simply cut the whole recipe out of the magazine and paste it right on the card, so I made a larger recipe box for 5-in. x 8-in. cards. Fig. 1 gives the dimensions for the larger box. Should you wish to make the smaller box, simply scale down the dimensions.

The boxes have short dividers that hold the cards upright, preventing them from falling back in the box and becoming wedged. You can begin filling the front slot and move back as your recipes increase.

Building the Box

Start by thicknessing your box stock. (Leave the lid stock until later.) Make sure you have a few extra scrap pieces of the same thickness. They'll come in handy as test pieces when you cut the tenons. Cut the sides to their final width and length,

After sawing the tenon cheeks on the box front and back, mark the lengths of the tenons with a straightedge and pencil.

but wait until later to cut the curves in the top edges. (See Fig. I.) Cut the front and back to their final widths and lengths. If you plan on having the tenons sit proud of the box sides (see photo of larger box, previous page ), be sure to leave extra length on the front and back pieces. See that the ends of these pieces are exactly square, otherwise the joints won't fit tight. You may find it helpful to first make a practice comer out of scrap. This practice comer will be useful later when you're working out the hinging of the lid.

First, cut the mortises for the corner joints, using the template described on the next page. (Sec sidebar, Templates for the Recipe Box .) Then cut the tenons. (See Fig. I.) To do this, first crosscut the shoulders of the tenon cheeks, then saw the cheeks on a tablesaw. I use scrap pieces as

Cut the tenons to the marfced length with a handsaw.
Marfc out the rounded shape of the tenons by tracing through the mortises onto the tenon


guides to set up the saw to the correct thickness to cut the tenons. After that. I cut the real tenons. Next, use the mortises in the side pieces to mark out the positioning of the tenons on the front and back pieces. (Sec photo.) Use a handsaw to cut the edges of each tenon accurately as the photo shows. With a crosscut box on the tablesaw. remove the waste between tenons. You could also use a bandsaw with a fence. Keep track of mortise-and-tenon pairs.

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