How To Design A Band Saw Box Pattern

In my mind, there are 2 ways of designing a band saw box pattern.  One is strictly artistic, with flowing lines or a shape that doesn’t  resemble anything special, other than a shape that you like to look at. With this kind of pattern, I usually start with an idea or object in mind, and then just keep changing the lines until I get what I want.  The other is a pattern resembling a particular object.  For example, my cowboy boot or yin yang band saw boxes.  In this case I try to find a picture that I can copy and then figure out how to get the drawers into it.  I’m not enough of and artist to draw that kind of a pattern freehand.

When creating the shape of your band saw box,  and when building it,  there are a few things to consider.

  • One of the first things to consider is where will you make your entry point to cut out the drawers, will it blend in, and can you cut from one drawer to the next without cutting the drawer free.  When creating  a two drawer box for example,  make sure that the divider between the drawers is attached on one end.  If you cut both ends, obviously the piece will fall out.
  • Can you sand it?  Make sure that you can sand in the corners.    Use rounded corners where possible, rather than sharp inside points. This is particularly important in the outside shape of your box.  If you must have a sharp point, figure out a way to sand it before you cut the box.    On my model # 50, for example, cut the 5 out completely, leaving a matching indentation in the 0, so that you can sand the sharp “V” where the 5 and the 0 come together.  After sanding and rounding over the edges, you can glue the two pieces back together.


  • Grain patterns,  try to put your prettiest grain patterns on the front.   Make the grain flow with the box pattern. If you have a pretty spot, such as a spot of burl, put it where you won’t cut through it.  On a pattern such as my  guitar where there is a section such as the fret bar where you want a strait grain or even a lined grain,  use Zebra Wood or Beli or African Mahogany to represent the strings.  Sometimes I decide which box to make based on the grain of the wood.

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