Boxes without Spacers

When making small boxes, many woodworkers find it’s easiest to first assemble the box, and then, using the table saw, cut off the lid by making four ripping cuts-one on each of the four sides. But to do this safely, it’s necessary to tape spacers in the saw kerfs when the fourth and final cut is made. Without the spacers, the separated lid is not supported, and it could contact the spinning saw blade.

To avoid the need for spacers, I make the ripping cuts with the saw blade set to a height that’s 1/32 inch less than the thickness of the box sides. After making the ripping cuts on each side, I remove the box sides. After making the ripping cuts on each side, I remove the box from the table saw and use a sharp utility knife to cut through the remaining 1/32 inch of stock, thereby separating the lid. A few passes with the block plane quickly cleans up the stock that remains.

-Dennis Preston
Brookfield, Connecticut

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