Usually resistor decade boxes are mechanical – a rotary switch comutates resistors while turning it around. But if you decide to build one, you may face problem by selecting this switch. They seems to be quite expensive and quite old fashioned. Stynus has been planing to build one of those, but mechanical switching handle didn’t look very attractive, so he decided to switch resistors electronically through microcontroller.
He ended up by building three PCBs where one is a control board carrying LCD, PIC 16F648A microcontroller, rotary encoder and push button. Other two boards are resistor boards – one for high value resistors and another for low value. Each resistor board caries 16 small relays that are controlled through shift registers. Then only annoying thing with electronically controlled resistor box is that you need a power supply for it where mechanical boxes are passive. But seeing resistor value on screen probably pays off.