Recipe boxes like mom used to use can bring back many pleasant memories of the days growing up and watching your mother and grandmother (or your father) pulling recipe cards out of the box on the counter and creating special recipes for the whole family to eat and enjoy. Recipe boxes come in a number of different styles and can be made from wood, metal, plastic or other materials. I have even seen them made from paper mache and old greeting cards. Here I show you how to make a recipe box made from wood to fit a standard 3"x 5" index card.
Things You Will Need
Tape measure, Table saw, Dado blade, Pencil for marking cuts, Band saw for resawing, Wood for top and bottom = (2) 1/4" x3 3/4"x5 1/2" plywood, Wood for front, back, 2 sides = 1"x6"x10", Wood glue, ,Corner clamps (2), brass hinges, brass clasp (optional)
Purchase your wood at a local lumber yard or home center. Since these pieces are so small, many times they have them in the scrap bin and you can get them for next to nothing. Otherwise the plywood is usually sold in 1/4 sheets equaling 2' x 2' at most home centers.
Begin by ripping the 1"x6"x10" (the actual size is 3/4" x 5 1/2" x 10") to 1" x 4" x 10" on the table saw. Then resaw the 1 x 4x 10 in half down the middle on the band saw to create 2 pieces at 3/8" x 4" x 10". Sand the cut sides smooth.
Using the table saw with dado blade attached, cut a rabbit along the top and bottom of the boards 1/4" wide and 1/8" deep.
Cut the boards as follows: Front and back = 5 3/4" long each, sides (2) = 4" long. Cut one front or back and one side from each board.
On each end of the front and back, cut a rabbit the width of the sides. (They should be approximately 3/8") and 3/16" deep. This is for the sides to be glued into.
Glue the sides into the rabbits cut in step five above using the corner clamps to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. Due to the size of most corner clamps, you probably can only glue two pieces at a time. Glue the front to one side and the back to the other side. When they dry, glue the two sections together using the corner clamps. If the top portion of the box is not being held in place by the corner clamps at the bottom, use another corner clamp at the top. Sometimes a rubber band will work well to hold the top together while the glue dries.
Cut the bottom and top from the 1/4" plywood to fit the space in the rabbits at the top and bottom of the box. They should be approximately 3 3/4" x 5 1/2" but it is best to measure to make sure.
After the sides and front dry, (approximately 2 hours depending on the glue used), glue the top and bottom in place in the dado's that were cut in step three.
After the top and bottom dry, place the rip fence on the table saw at 1" from the blade and cut the top off the rest of the box by making four individual through cuts around the entire box.
Put what ever finish on the box you would like. The box can be stained, painted, left as natural wood or decorated with a painted design or decals.
Install the hinges and clasp and begin to enjoy the fruits of your labor as well as some of the old family recipes.
Recipe boxes can bring back pleasant memories of growing up and watching your mother and grandmother pull recipes out of the box and create something special for the whole family to eat and enjoy
Tips & Warnings
The brass hardware is available at most craft stores and through sources on the internet. Some craft stores may also have pieces of wood already cut to the right thickness.
Whenever working with tools and or chemicals, safety glasses are recommended. Masks are also recommended to be worn when working with some types of wood and wood finishes or paints to protect your lungs.
Working with power tools can be dangerous. Always use caution and pay attention at all times.