Box makers often have difficulty deciding on the proportion to make a box. I'm always aiming toward simplification, in the hopes of removing gumption traps. I want to make things as easy for you as they've become for me through my years of work. Of course the easiest way to make a box with matching grain at the corners is to make a square box. But what if square bores you? What next?
I offer a simple design rule that can
be used for making most rectangular boxes, unless there is something
special that must fit inside. In honor of cognitive psychologist George
Miller who passed away at the age of 92 last July, we can call it plus
or minus 2. Miller had written a paper, on the Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two,
and whether or not you consider Miller's theory as valid, my own design
rule might seem more familiar. A whole set of common proportions are
based on this rule which to my knowledge has never been outlined or used
as I will present.
3 x 5... 4 x 6... 5 x 7... 6 x 8...
7 x 9... 8 x 10... Are any of these pairs of numbers familiar to you?
Some are the common sizes that you can have photographic prints made,
and if you want to go buy a picture frame at Michael's to put your
picture in, these are the sizes you will find. They just also happen to
be handy proportions for box making. And if you look closely, you will
see that they follow the rule that if one side is x, the other will be x
plus or minus 2.
There may be a simple explanation for
all this having to do with the sizes of paper easily cut from larger
sizes. Or are there magical qualities to objects designed according to
these proportions? In any case, a two inch spacer block works great when
making a rectangular box. Put it in place for cutting the short side
and then remove it for cutting the long. In other words, you can set up
your stop block on the miter sled and make a box and have opposite sides
fit perfectly, cutting them one after the other consecutively from the
Make, fix and create...