A Boxmaking Jig or Stealing Toys from Children

Lego Box Jig

Lego Box Jig

I’ve been searching for the perfect tool to assist me in constructing book boxes. I have very specific criteria: it must be about 3 inches high, with 3″ legs, perfectly flush, plumb, 90 degrees. It needs to be smooth and durable with a little heft. I tried pricing what it would cost me to have a machinist make this, and it was sadly astronomical. I looked high and low at Home Depot for something that would help me form the walls for my boxes–provide a surface that I could really push against to get the joints perfectly flush, but no dice. Then I walked into my daughter’s room and stepped on a Lego. So I’m cursing incoherently, “Friger, recka, blech, mnnnhh, ohh!” And it hits me. Perfectly flush, plumb, 90 degree angles. I gathered up a bunch of Legos and surreptitiously made off with them into my studio. I didn’t want my daughter to see because they were too perfect to risk her 5-year-old possessiveness. I constructed the perfect L-shaped jig that fit all my demanding criteria to the letter, and then SHE walked in. My heart sank, but do want to know what my sweet little girl did? She went and got more Legos and started making me more L shapes than I could ever possibly use. I love that little girl.


About sappling

When God created the world, he did it in six days and rested on the seventh. I always wished there was just one more day in the week, an eighth day just for me to pursue the thoughts in my head and translate them to the physical world. There are only seven days, however, so I steal my creative moments in between being a mom and my work binding books and making boxes for clients all over New York City. I love working with my hands, learning new things, and I'm here to share those lessons with you. There are only seven days in a week. Why not eight? Guess I'll ask when I get there.
This entry was posted in Bookbinding, Boxmaking, Paper Arts. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A Boxmaking Jig or Stealing Toys from Children

  1. dymphie says:

    Well, this is clever! *slaps head* “why didn’t I ever thought of this…”
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Well, a post about my childhood’s passion complementing my beloved art of bookbinding… Now I can die in peace!
    Lovely story Sarah, thanks for sharing!

    PS- Your daughter’s reaction when she walked in is the cutest thing I’ve heard of in quite a while.

    • sappling says:

      I always wanted to play with Legos when I was a kid, but my brothers always hogged them. Now I think I play with my daughter’s Legos more than she does. It did warm my heart when she started making me more jigs. She is amazing and surprising and sweet at some of the most novel moments.

  3. Seriously genius! I finally have an excuse to buy Legos. 🙂

  4. lestaret says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one. I have been using my children’s Lego for some time now for bookbinding (and one or two other things Lego wasn’t originally intended for!) and have been a bit wary of ‘coming out.’ But it stands to reason; if you need 90° angles – go fetch the Lego! I have a small but essential bit of kit in my bookbinding toolbox made of six pieces of Lego, and all of my cover papers have good corners as a result…

  5. G-E-N-I-U-S… I hear the call of the lego ramble. Don’t we all know that sound?

  6. thanks for sharing! it made me laugh, and gives me reason to buy legos–I was just making some boxes this morning and grumbling about my lack of a jig. Perfect timing!

    • sappling says:

      I’m glad you’ve found this helpful. Still one of my favorite discoveries. Though why everyone feels like they need an excuse to buy Lego’s is beyond me. Buy them because they’re fun!

  7. Roz says:

    Lego is great. I use it when I am making silicone moulds, it is so much easier than using boards. When I am finished I pop them in a laundry bag and throw them in the washing machine. Perfect!

  8. Micke says:

    That’s really clever!!
    And it makes me wonder if I could perhaps use a LEGO-contraption as a distancer in my work (I do screenprinting, transfer-printing and embroidery). If it works it would be the perfect flexible distancer. Want more space – add pieces, less space – remove pieces.
    I’ve GOT to try this!

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