Suggested offset for box lid?

Hey everyone, I’m in the process of designing a nice simple circular jewelry box for my wife’s Christmas gift, and I am wondering if anyone has suggestions for a recommended offset for the lid of the box so it fits snugly, but not too tightly, after finishing the wood. Obviously it depends on how many layers of finish I put on when I am done, but I’m wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a starting place?

Again, circular box with a base and a lid, about 9 inches in diameter, with a lip on the base and another on the lid. How much smaller should that base lip be relative to the lid lip to ensure a good fit?

Thanks guys!

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I would suggest making a test cut in a piece of scrap — that’s what I did to work up the dimension I used in: (which is only 2 in. in diameter).

Another option is to cut the bottom first, then cut the lid at a size you’re confident will be too small, test fit the bottom, then adjust the size for the lid and repeat until you get a good fit (or spoil the piece).

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I literally just finished a little box.
I guessed and left a 0.5mm clearance…too much. My next go will not have a clearance. I figure if it’s that close, a light sanding pass will take care of it.

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A quick pass with a file will work as well — if one has a “float” which has a non-cutting edge it will be less likely to damage things, or one can work up a small sanding block/stick or similar.

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I have the same issue you are experiencing.

My first box using CC and CM using John Clark’s YT videos. It came out too loose. So I compensated by Trial and error for the perfect fit. Lots of wasted material in the quest for the offset allowance.

Then I found out my Shapeoko needed belt tension calibration. All my offset adjustments went out the door. Didn’t need an offset after all. Its was a perfect fit that was just too snug that I had to sand the top and bottom lips for that perfect fit.

Now I use Vcarve Pro and I am back to square one trying to find that offset allowance. BTW, Vcarve Pro has a built in offset so making exact dimensions without an offset allowance in the drawing is a plus. I just have to figure out an off set allowance to use when I output the gcode tool path.

I haven’t reached this timeline as my box is on hold and under redesign. Cutting out a pocket for the first layer drawer then an insert shelf for the second layer.

Here’s my first trial and error box … 100 plus of them for my daughter wedding.

And a jewelry box with no offset, just a bit of sanding for the perfect fit.


I usually start with a -.005 offset in VCarve and go from there… I found anything between -.002 and -.005 seems to work.

Nice box!

I’ve only done one box like this, but I did zero offset then sanded the lip with a tiny flap brush in my Dremel for a perfect fit.



Nice work Dan … Thanks for sharing.

What type of wood …


Walnut and flame maple, my two “go to” woods for anything extra special.


A recent video from Vectrix (12 Christmas gifts) found the author using a bit tool that has the diameter intentionally over/under size to get the clearance needed. You’ll have to think about that one.

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Thanks everyone for the tips here. I ended up going with something like a .008 offset, but still ended up having to do a ton of sanding. But that’s okay — it was a double sided job, which I am still learning how to do, and the cutouts ended up pretty rough and misaligned (I think I need to do some recalibrating and relevel my washboard) so I had a pretty insane amount of sanding to do anyway :slight_smile:

Here is the box I am making, still in the process of being finished (just a few layers of shellac and one layer of poly so far). I think I might be able to actually have this ready by Christmas!

It’s made from padauk, Birdseye maple for the box interior and top ring, katalox for the alpaca carving, and purpleheart (more like brownheart after milling) for the bottom lotus. It’s my first time making something like this, and learned a lot in the process!


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