Box and Beyond, Part 2

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Words and photos: Andrew Potocnik

In part 1 of this short series, Andrew Potocnik experimented with simple bandsawn and dovetailed box constructions. Here are a few more ideas.

Paling box

The box shown above began as an elongated container made from rebated corner joints and a rebate that accepted a base. Here the concept of a box sliding inside another assembly could resemble the role of a drawer fitting into another body.

Isn’t a drawer simply a box within a box? How can simple construction techniques using common materials be used to enhance each component? This time I used paint to highlight the combination of manmade and weathered fence palings in a way not commonly used in fine woodcraft. To finish the inside I used Black Japan to create the appearance of aged timber.


Sliding box lid


The core of this box was made from a block of radiata pine, cut on the bandsaw and sanded smooth on a linisher. Textured paper was applied to the inside surface. Two sides were glued to the outside to create an interior. I cut a slot along each piece to accept a sliding lid that could slide right through the box. Redgum veneer was applied to an MDF substrate to ensure it would stay flat.


Once the redgum sides were shaped I painted the radiata pine with a base colour of grey, dappled with a mixture of black, white and grey with a sponge. A kitchen sponge may do, but a natural sea sponge sourced from an arts supplier will provide a more natural and random pattern.


The lid might be made of painted ply or MDF, or may be veneered to utilise some of those wonderful veneer offcuts you’ve been saving for that special occasion. This enables value-adding by using exotics at a low cost. A small offcut of textured burl glued to the lid served as a handle and helped to break the flat surface. It raised the lid visually into the arched outer form of the box.

Elm Burl Box


The urge to explore further led to a more vertical version using the same method (elm burl box). This time I made a clip-on lid and added guitar strings to allow movement of the teardrop shaped finials. Nobody can resist the urge to play with these, me included!


It usually takes me about three to five goes at exploring a new idea to get it out of my system, then I leave the concept and move onto a new idea. I felt satisfied with the results of this series of experiments. I had explored techniques that I could pass on to students, and gone way out of my own style and comfort zone. Don’t forget to have an open mind, experiment and be willing to make mistakes—they’re a great way of learning.

Andrew Potocnik is a wood artist and teacher. Learn more at

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