How to Make a Turned Wood Lidded Box

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This turned lidded box has the power to make your sweetheart smile on Valentine’s Day, or any other day for that matter. Small is beautiful. That’s because this intermediate level turning project can be done in an afternoon at a cost that can be next to nothing.

If you have some rescued firewood or off-cuts from thick stock around your shop, your materials cost will be zero. Turning a lidded vessel is sure to boost your turning skills, especially if you’ve never done a lidded vessel before. There are lots of meaty tips presented in this project that can easily be applied to larger vessels. So, let’s get started.


You will need a four jaw chuck to complete this project. Also, a half round scraper, 1/4” parting tool, 1/16” parting tool, and a detail/spindle gouge.

A lidded box is best done as an end grain turning. In other words, with the grain running parallel to the bed of the lathe, just like turning a spindle. Unlike spindle turning however, you will be working as much on the end of the stock, shaping and hollowing, as on the sides. For this box I used stock 2-3/4” x 2-3/4” x 4” long. Dimensions are approximate. Anywhere from 2-1/2” to 3” square will do.

Mark the centers on either end of the blank by drawing two diagonal lines from corner to corner. Mount the blank between centers on the lathe. If you need a refresher on lathe techniques, check the links to other turning-related articles and videos at the end of this article.


rough the cylinder-100
Turn the square block into a round cylinder with a roughing gouge.

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