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Cube In a Cube Puzzler

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Cube In a Cube CompleteRecently, I saw a video that someone posted from a local woodworking club that I belong to in Indiana .  It showed how to make a cube in a cube.  At first glance I thought how the heck did someone do that?  It must have been whittled.  Turns out, it’s a really simple trick with a drill press and about 2 minutes of chisel work.  You can make this cube in just a couple of hours.  The next question you may ask is, “what the heck is this thing”?  It’s not a toy, and not quite art?  My best classification is it’s a puzzler.  Both of my kids kept trying to figure out how I got that cube inside the other cube.  Needless to say I had to make two of them.  So if you’re looking for a nice little project here is one to check out.  I did my best to describe how to do it in my post below, but sometimes a video does more justice on this type of thing, so check out my attempt at making a video of this as well.  Enjoy….!

If you decide not to make one of these, but really want one Check out the WoodLogger Shop.



For the lumber on this one I was able to pick up a scrap piece of untreated 4×4 in a bargain bin at my local Menard’s.  The board was a little dinged up, but as I needed to trim it down to a 3×3 cube  it worked out really well.

  • (1)  3″ x 4″ x 6′ Pine Board trimmed down to 3″x3″x3″

Milling & Assembly

Cube In a Cube - The StartIt all starts with a block of wood.  To get started I cut a scrap piece of 4×4 wood down to a 3×3 cube.  If you make this take you’re time you’ll want to get this as close to true as possible.
 Cube In a Cube Finding CenterAfter you have your block the first step is to find the true center of one side.  This is easy enough by just drawing an X across the surface.  Again if you make this you’ll want to really make sure this is on the mark.
Cube In a Cube Finding Center DrillNext up I used a 2″ Forstner bit and setup a stop block on my drill press.  I only drilled into the piece about a 1/4″.  This is done so that you can determine what the depth will eventually be.  I set the speed on my drill press to the slowest speed it could go.
Cube In a Cube Marking DepthAfter the initial drill take a ruler and line it up with the edge of two lines left from your initial X.  This line will determine the depth of your drill press into the work piece.  You’ll want to set your drill press for a little less than the length.  I set mine at about 1/8″ shy of the length.  At this point you’ll also want to mark a small x in 1 corner of each side.  This is done as a guide for when you’re at the drill press to drill in a consistent manner on each side.
Cube In a Cube DrillWith your drill depth set, the next step is to drill into each side of the cube.  You’ll actually start to see the cube inside after a couple passes.
Cube In a Cube Completed DrillAfter you have drilled into all six sides of your cube you’ll see the cube inside the cube.  It will still be attached to each of the corners of the inside cube.
Cube In a Cube ChiselingWith a sharp chisel lightly tap away each corner from the cube.  You’ll hear it snap or click as you do each side.


Cube In a Cube SandingWhen it came to finishing this one I used a medium grit sandpaper inside and out of the cube.  Sanding wasn’t too bad, but you have to dig into the cube with some sand paper and go at it.  I then used a lighter grit and broke all the corners by sanding them.  After that I applied a stain and sealer to protect it.  If you decide not to make one of these, but really want one Check out the WoodLogger Shop.




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  1. Hi:

    Well I have made 3 of them so far and all 3 were a disaster. How could something that looks so simple to make be such a challenge. I must be doing something wrong but I just can’t figure out what it is that I am doing wrong every time. It all seems to be going great until I get close to the end. At which time the inside cube falls out of the outside cube. They are semi attached on some corners but others are attached even more at the corners. So I drill down a little bit more and then try to pry the corners free. At this point the cube will come out. I am about to go and try it again as I am going to conquer this cube . I refuse to let it beat me. Any idea’s on what I could be doing wrong?


  2. Hi JoAnn,
    I made two of these yesterday out of cedar. They took about 30 minutes each. You might be drilling too deep with the Forstner bit. The inside cube will still be attached at all 8 corners when you are done drilling. You then use a knife to release it. Don’t give up!

  3. I made this and then I decided to try the same idea but I put a 8-ball in the center. My grandson took it to school for show and tell.

  4. I’m confused as to how to determine the depth of the cut by that pensil mark. How is the depth shown, or where do you measure from?

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