Can i glue a top on a box?

split top due to glue up

split top due to glue up

Q:

I am making a box similar to a sewing machine case, the box is the lid and goes over the machine and attaches at to the bottom. The box is 1/2" cherry and is 16"L x 10 1/2"W x 9 3/4"D. can I glue a 1/2" thick lid 16" X 10 1/2" onto the box or will it need to expand and contract.
Thank you, Mike

A:

You can't glue the top. You are right about the expansion. The photo is of one of my very first boxes. I remembered about expansion so made a frame and panel top, but then glued the panel into the frame. So the trick is to make a frame and panel top but don't glue the panel in place. If you don't want the panel to slide around you can spot glue it, but leave plenty of room for movement.

Another option would be to use dowels or screws with a plug to hold the top in place. This isn't as elegant, but it would also work. If you use contrasting dowels or plugs you could make it part of the design.

Hope this helps,

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