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Amateur Woodworker

Bread Box

Bread boxes are very easy to make and it is almost a crime to consider buying one -- unless for some reason wood will not go in your kitchen. This particular bread box is based on one of the more common designs and is therefore easier to build than one with a roll-top lid. Bread box fanatics (presuming such a person exists) are split into two camps: those that want air holes and those that don't. We're not about to pin our colors to either side of the argument and, instead, offer a choice depending upon your own preference.


Tools required: Drill, sander, jigsaw, router

Wood required (pine):

Base13/4"10 3/4"18 5/8"
Sides23/4" 10 1/2"10 3/4"
Top(see note)11/2" 8 9/16"19 1/8"
Door11/2" 8 1/8"18 5/8"
Back (plywood)11/8" 9 1/2"19 1/8"
Hinge (dowel)21/8"1/8"1 1/2"
Handle13/4" 1"5 1/2"
Miter the top piece accordingly

Note: When cutting the top to shape, the front length should be cut at a 80 degree angle. This is to ensure that the bread box door rests against the top evenly, rather than on a very thin edge (see diagram on left).

Shape of side pieces

Cut the two side pieces to the correct shape (see diagram on right), rounding off the top with a smooth curve. Decide which face of each side piece is the inside face and mark it accordingly. Then cut the groove in each of these inside faces. The groove should be 1/2" wide, 1/4" deep and 8 1/16" long (measured from the back edge): it should be cut parallel to the bottom of the side piece at a height of 9" to 9 1/2" from the bottom. [The top of the bread box slots into this groove, thus strengthening the construction.] Finally, drill a 1/8" hole in either side piece, as shown in the diagram. This should be 1 1/2" from the bottom of the side piece, and in 1/4" from the front. The purpose of this hole is that the hinge dowel will pass through this, into each side of the door.

Shape of top piece

As mentioned above, the top piece slots into the side-wall groove. However, for the sake of neatness, you will notice that the side groove is not quite as long as the top piece is wide. Because of this, it is necessary to cut a small niche out of each end of the top piece (see diagram on left).

It is now necessary to make a groove in the top of the base piece, the inside of both sides and the underside of the top piece. This groove should be 1/8" wide, and 1/4" deep and should be 1/4" from the back of each piece. The back panel slots into this groove, ensuring a nice tight fit. When creating the groove for the two side pieces, do not extent the slot all the way to the top of the sides. Instead, only run the vertical 1/8" slot up to where it intersects the 1/2" horizontal groove.

Profile of door

The final step prior to putting everything together is to prepare the bread box' door. Dry fit the sides, base and top and make sure that the door is the correct length to fit snugly between the sides. Then, round off the bottom length of the door, so that the side profile looks like a semi circle (see diagram).

Now, glue and nail (use small pin nails so that they won't show) the sides to the base. Then, glue in the back plywood and add the top, so completing the box shape. Clamp until the glue is dry. Once everything is dry, remove the clamps and place the door into place. Then, drill through the 1/8" holes in each side, into the side of the door. Put a little bit of glue onto each dowel, at least 1/2" from the end, and then slide the dowel hinges through the side pieces into the door. The idea is to glue the dowel into the side pieces, while leaving the door to rotate smoothly around the dowel hinge (it is a good idea to wax the very end of the dowel before gluing it).

Sand everything down, ensuring that the top of the door is flush with the top piece. Screw and glue the handle onto the front and then oil the bread box. To finish the bread box, we recommend mineral oil as it is a non-toxic oil.

Air Holes

If you have decided to add air holes to the bread box, drill 1/8" holes into the upper part of the back plywood.



If you cannot find a satisfactory handle for the bread box, you may decide that you want to make one from scratch. If so, this is the plan for the handle used on the above box. Note that the thickness of the handle is 3/4". Also note that the plan provided is only half a plan. Simply sketch this out onto a block of wood, and then turn the plan over to sketch out the other side. This approach helps to ensure that the handle is uniform. Once you have cut out the shape, carefully sand it until you have a nice rounded shape.

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