How to make Apple boxes
Hey guys welcome back I’m Nick. This week I made Apple boxes; what are they and what do you use them for. I’ll explain that after I show you how I made it.
I started by working on the tops and bottoms of each of the boxes they measured inches by inches I was using / inch Baltic birch so my piece came 5 foot by 5 foot and I started to cut the pieces down to size
If you’re going to make a full set you’re going toned pieces at this size then I moved on to cutting the side pieces for what’s considered a full Apple box those measure 20 by 7 for the side pieces.
Then I moved on to cutting the remaining side pieces for the two inch tall box and the four inch tall box. next would be to cut the end pieces to three out of the four boxes. the smallest one is called a pancake basically it’s just two pieces of half inch material glued together so there’s no ends or sides to that piece.
I mounted a quarter inch cove bit into my router table and the idea was on the smallest box or what they call a pancake I could then route half the profile into each of the pieces and once I glued them together I’d be left with a nice little recess to act as kind of a finger hold or grasp area then I have just applied glue to both surfaces and smoothed itout with a squeegee and then pretty much grabbed every clamp I owned and just clamp the heck out of it
At this point I like to take a damp rag and clean up any of the glue squeeze-out that way I don’t have to scrape it off later.
Who am I kidding all right once the glue had dried i could then take it out of its clamps and essentially this piece was just about done but then I moved on to the end pieces just using a combination square to mark out all the holes that I need to drill to create the handles
then using a Forstner bit I could drill the holes I like this little drill press table because I can adjust the fence and the stop block to give me the exact location where these holes were supposed to be drilled marking the board and then setting up the drill press table it’s kind of a belt-and-suspenders approach but it makes it really difficult to screw up the location of the holes
I moved out of the next piece here and one thing I like to do is rather than rotate it I like to flip the piece n for n so that I’m referencing the same edge of the board on the drill press fence that way if the fence is off just a little bit it doesn’t compound that and then my handle ends up crooked in this case if I was off any it would just be off to one side of Center
draw some lines connecting the holes I could then use my jigsaw to remove the excess material creating kind of a handle open.
Any uneven areas I just smoothed over with a file then with a quarter inch roundover bit in my handheld trim routerI knocked off all the sharp edges to my handles after that was done I could then just hit it up with a little bit of sandpaper to make sure that everythingwas nice and smooth I then with my plate joiner and a camera focused in on my feet made slots to accept biscuits and that’s how I was going to join mycorners together I’ve built Apple boxesa few times before and I always liked the look of zero hardware or zerofasteners also when I use biscuits Ialways like to not only test fit theassembly to make sure everything isgoing to go good and glue up but sometimes these biscuits can swell upand you don’t necessarily realize it until they glue all over them so I always like to check those and make sure they fit into the slots nicely
then for this box it was just a matter of applying all the glue and clamping it upat this point you want to make sure that your glue up is nice and square whether you do that with a combination square or measuring diagonals to make sure they’re the same or even a framing square either way just make sure that it’s nice and square
we can then move on to what wouldbe considered a full Apple box and I didthe same procedure here just putting glue in all the corners and adding the biscuits and clamping everything nice and tight the procedure was pretty much the same for most of the boxes thepancake obviously I just glued the two pieces together while the glue is drying on the other box I then added biscuit slots to the top and bottom edge of some of the other boxes I also like to comeback sometimes with a sanding pad to make sure that there’s not going to beany wood fibers in the way for when I goto glue up later
The quarter Apple box I had to move the biscuit slots slightly to the corners to make sure that the slots didn’t interfere with the finger holes but pretty much the rest of it was the same other than the fact that in the quarter I didn’t have biscuits because it wasn’t wide enough to have biscuits in the corners so I just glue them up
once you get all your frames glued up and they’re ready to go you can then install the tops and bottoms I just add a bunch of clamps right where the biscuits are try to clean up some of the glue squeeze-out with a damp rag at this point I also like to add a center support or brace
I tend to use half-inch material when I build Apple boxes just because it’s a lot more lightweight but there could be a little bit of flex in the middle if somebody’s going to be standing on this so I like to add that Center support and that I just end up gluing in
pretty much the same procedure with the full Apple box add some glue add some biscuits and then clamp the top and bottom in place I then switched over to / inch roundover bit in my trim router and just eased over all the exterior corners to make sure there was no sharp corners I also hand sanded everything lightly at this point
then when I moved on to a finish I just use a wipe on polyurethane I apply one or two coats sand lightly and then add one or two more coats
and here’s some close-up shots so you can kind of see some of the joinery I do really like how Baltic birch ends up looking
well there you go one complete set of Apple boxes what are Apple boxes and what are they used for. predominantly they’re used in the movie industry Hollywood uses them all the time different news stations use them and a lot of times photographers love them in fact these were ordered from a friend of mine and he’s a professional photographer and that’s what he’s going to use them for.
Well what exactly do you use them for you can prop up lights you can have your actors or your talent siton them you can you know get different heights to different things whether you’re using props or like I said you have a lighting fixture or a camera or a smaller tripod and in fact with this full Apple box or most often referred to as just an apple box you got 8 inches tall and they all measure 12 by 20 then you have your half which is 4 inches your quarter which is 2 inches and then your eighth which most people just refer to is called a pancake that’s just one inch tall but the reason that they’re all the same size is that you can find two in the exact height in what you need and you know if you have something that you’re working on and either the film industry or photography industry you know you can almost dial in exactly what height you either want your light or your tripod or what not so they come in very handy.
This design is your traditional style I guess I would call it. There are designs out there to where this end cap comes off and then the three remaining boxes are smaller and they nest inside of it.
I like the traditional method and also if you don’t have a biscuit joiner you there’s no reason that you can’t just put some screws in here and countersink those and that could be your joinery but I like to make these out of Baltic birch I also make them so that they’re they’re halfway lightweight but I do not like to see any type of fasteners of any kind ven Brad nails that are filled I don’t like that because I know what they’re used for and just in case you know the photographer wants to actually keep it in the shot it’s nice enough to look at to where it doesn’t necessarily have to be covered with either a canvas or any type of fabric
in fact there’s also different terminology as far as how they get laid out on a set this position here would be the NewYork position then you have the Chicago position and the LA position they come up with funny terms for all this stuff but when you’re on a set it actually helps out because if somebody says put an alpha box overcenter stage in the New York position it’s just real quick to know okay they want it in the center of the stage and they want it facing this way but any ways that’s about all I have for you if you guys are interested in building these and go over to my website Nick very calm and I’ll have a free cut listavailable it’s not necessarily something that everybody’s going to want to build but the full Apple box the eight incher this thing is really handy just to have out in your shop because it doubles as a nice little additional seat if you just need to be propped up a little bit or you know if there’s a lot of different ways in which you can use it you’re heck you can put it next to your table saw put your coffee on it well until I see you guys next time you guys take care
then you have your half that’s four inches tall your quarter that’s eight four two one I’m so good at math