A look into the making of a steel tissue box…


This is the first in a long series of blog posts I intend to produce for your enjoyment and education, a look into the making of my steel work from start to finish. I will outline many procedures, materials, tools, and my daily work routine and production steps.

I wanted to show in photos and description exactly the process of making a steel box here at Studioandolina. The process is made easier if you have access to the right tools and have a basic knowledge already.

The first piece of the puzzle is to determine the size of your box and select the correct steel thickness you are able to bend…

For stability and stiffness I choose 16 gauge steel as this gives me extra strength and thickness to grind the welded corners. Also this thickness will resist some of the warping from the heat of welding and grinding. Once the size is laid out on the steel the bending in a steel brake can happen..

Using a steel brake to make the first bend on a closed box

The first bend and all others are made to 90 degrees, the piece of steel is then moved to the next measurement of a side and the second corner is bent.

The angle has to be checked and measure 90 degrees to form the perfect corner

Making sure the steel is always square to the brake face is very important to keep the box in perfect aliment and all corners square to each other. The third corner is then ready for the bend and the basic shape is coming together nicely.

This is the third and final angle ready for the bed to close the box form

You have to make sure the angles are 90 degrees and the measurements are all accurately marked, if not the box will be off and very difficult to get square, parallel and in the correct shape. It takes some practice and attention to detail to make all these things line up for the perfect box form.

The final bend to finish the box form, size has to fit your brake and is limited in scale

The box is now a closed form and the one corner can be welded closed and ground to shape. Welding is the next step to close the corner and complete the box and ready it for the top.

Fully formed box with four sides
Fully formed box with four sides, ready to weld the corner and close the shape

Next step is too weld the corner and grind / and this into a perfect shape. Then the top is ready to fit the box shape and be welded into place.

Any adjustment to the form can be made here in the grinding and sanding phase, a little push here and a little pull there and the box is in a perfect square form…

This is the box form with the top welded on
This is the box form with the top welded on and ready to clean up the edges

After the top edges have been shaped and the form fully tweaked into a square box with parellel sides, top and bottom only a few more steps remain…

Box with top and all sides ground and ready for the opening to be cut

One more step to finish the steel work and then on to the finish of the surface…

Steel Tissue Box
Box almost finished with all welding done and the top hole cut and cleaned up

The final steps will be outlined in my next post: How to patina and finish mild steel…

Steel Tissue Box
Finished box after the bluing and sealer applied