Today, I’m going to show you how I made this simple wine bottle gift box with spline miters out of materials I picked up from my local home center. Let’s get to it!
- 4 foot Oak 1/2 inch x 5 1/2 inches
- 4 foot Poplar 1/4 inch x 5 1/2 inches
- Miter saw or hand saw
- Table saw
- Spline Jig
- Router, preferably with a table
- Wood Glue
- Polycrylic (I used a spray can)
I started with 1/2 inch oak and 1/4 inch poplar from the home center, both about 5 1/2 inches wide. I knew that the average wine bottle is around 3 inches wide and 12 inches tall, so I sized my box to leave some wiggle room for different sized bottles, just in case. I used the crosscut sled on my table saw to cut the four sides to length. This could also be done with a miter saw.
My plan was to cut a rabbet along the bottom edge of all the sides for the poplar to fit into for the box bottom. So I swapped my combination blade for a dado stack. I’ve messed up enough on these kinds of cuts that I wanted to cut the rabbit before I ripped the sides down to their final width. I mean height. Whatever. This gave me some ability to botch a couple of rabbet cuts, cut them off, start over, and still end up with the dimensions I needed.
I also added a sacrificial fence to my rip fence, because that rip fence is awesome and I don’t want to mess it up, if I can help it.
The rabbet could have easily been done with my router on the router table, but my table saw was all ready to go and my router would have taken some setup.
Once I was satisfied that I didn’t actually screw up the rabbet cuts, I put my combination blade back in the saw and ripped the sides down to their final size.
This box was going to utilize spline miters, which means I needed to cut 45 degree miters on the ends of each box side. I tipped the blade to 45 degrees, then set the rip fence to position hoping to cut the miter without shortening the sides. My eyeballing got me close, but I did end up shortening the sides a tiny bit after all. As long as each opposing side had a matching length, I was happy.
Next, I brought my crosscut sled back out to cut the poplar bottom to length. I had waited to do this until I had the size of the box worked out with the miters.
I wanted something to support the wine bottle as it sat in the box, so I came up with the idea to cut some of the oak at roughly 45 degree angles to act as a guide of sorts. I’d have a neck support and a body support. I would glue them in place in the box and they would give the bottle something to sit on to help keep it from rolling around. See the SketchUp below.
The support for the neck was going to be the full width of the box with a v cut into the middle of it for the neck to rest in. The support for the body was going to be little 45 degree wedges (or isosceles right triangles for you math nerds) that would get glued into the bottom corners.
What I found when cutting the neck support to width is that it was extremely finicky and I was worried I wouldn’t get it just right by the time I glued the mitered corners together. To deal with this, I decided that I would route a dado on either side for the support to fit into, then cut a wider support. That would give me a little fudge room to position the neck support as needed without having to figure out the perfect width for a butt joint.
With that figured out, I went over to my router station and routed a dado for the neck support with a 1/2 inch straight bit. Then I squared off the dado with chisels for a nice fit.
For the body supports, I needed to cut little triangles to glue in the bottom corners of the box. I used some scrap wood to help me hold the piece in place for the cuts.
For the neck support, I marked 45 degrees from roughly where the support will connect with the dado. That should leave enough meat underneath to raise the neck of the wine bottle up a little and support it. Cutting that v was kind of interesting, though. A bandsaw would have been perfect, but mine was still sitting at the store that I hope to someday buy it from. My scroll saw would have worked well too, but I’ve broken a bunch of blades lately and need to buy new ones. The piece was too small to get any decent clamping worked out for a handheld jigsaw. Looking back, I probably would have had the best results with my table saw, but I decided to get creative with my miter saw.
I tipped the saw over to 45 degrees and held the piece in place with some scrap. I stopped my cut short of the line with the intention of using my new Japanese pull saw to finish the cut. Unfortunately, the saw bucked a little when I let go of the trigger and I ended up cutting past my line, instead of short of it. So, I had to adjust my other cut accordingly and made sure to lift the saw up before letting go of the trigger.
I used my Japanese pull saw to finish the cut and remove the waste material. I then sanded everything to 220 grit.
With everything sanded up, I went back to the assembly table to prep for glue-up. I opted for the painters tape clamping method, so got all the corners aligned and taped. Then I started gluing it all together, including the neck support and the bottom.
Next it was time to cut the splines to support the miters. I set up my spline jig to cut a spline about an inch from the top and an inch from the bottom of each corner.
Then I glued the splines in and left it overnight. I also took the opportunity to glue on the body supports.
A couple of days later I tested out my new Japanese pull saw for flush cutting the extra material from the splines. I also learned not to try to cut completely flush because I slightly marred the surrounding box when the teeth of the blade rubbed.
Not to worry, the splines looked great after some sanding.
Now it was time to focus on the top. The top will be pretty simple, just cut with a slight overhang and rabbet it to give it a way to settle into the box a little. I used the box itself to help position the stop blocks for sizing.
Time to head over to the router table for some rabbets. I set up the router table to cut rabbets such that the top set into the box slightly, with just a little bit of play.
I sanded the top to 220 grit and got ready for staining.
My wife has a great eye for color and chose this really dark ebony stain. In fact, she has her own YouTube channel where a couple of her topics are DIY craft ideas and home decor. It’s called White Lab House. Go check her channel out, if you’re into that kind of stuff.
After letting the stain dry, I tried out a spray satin polyurethane for the first time. The end results were pretty good.
If you like this project, check out our other gift idea projects. Thanks for stopping by, we’ll see you on the next one!