I dont have time to do a lengthy tutorial but I have a few photos and will write a word or two to help you get started.
You should skip the following viewpoints, they will only benefit the smart and good looking ones in the audience.
First off, take a look at Boa and the Art Deco Wing boxes. If you havent done so already, please leave a comment expressing what you do or do not like about them. I always have a few doubts about everything I make
,( especially children ) like all woodworkers do, and honest feedback is very helpful. Praise is good, but specifics are better, they can correct a misstep or encourage a new direction.
I dont like ‘Leading the witness’ as Perry Mason would say. Thats why I dont ask ‘Do you like the new handle?, What do you think about the corner pins, are they too small?, Do these new jeans make my butt look big?’ I hesitate to influence your evaluation by asking direct questions even though I often have several. So, if you have time, dont be afraid of insulting me with a thumbs down on something. I may not agree, but its your view and maybe I will see it your way. Besides, with my Iphone I can find you anywhere and make you look at my vacation photos!
One of the best ways to help yourself develop a new design, or just improve your style is to look at the work of others and break it into pieces. Not literally of course, that will only distract you from your work, plus its hard to assemble a box while running.
For example, look at a box and make a list of what you really like about it, whats just OK, and what you dont like at all. Train yourself to remember first impressions, what caught your eye, and write it down.
Now, use the OK parts as the foundation, maybe it was the wood combination and the proportions. Now add one, maybe two, WOW details, and leave out whatever made you double over with laughter or caused you to have a permanent twitch. Yes, what I am saying in a nice way is to elevate your work by picking apart someone elses and taking the best stuff and using it as your own. This can be repeated over and over, always looking fresh by making a few subtle changes. Its a form of plagairism, and is used extensively in Hollywood, in such classics as, Rocky, Rocky l, Rocky ll, through Rocky 23, though I dont remember any WOW parts.
Its also a good idea to give credit to the original designer if you are able, otherwise you might have some irate dude show up on your doorstep at 3:00 a:m, in a kilt and flippers insisting you look at his vacation photos.
Thats all I have to say on the matter.
This style of box was first made by me using plans from the October 1997 American Woodworker and authored by Dave Freedman.
I made a rectangle box about 12” long x 5 1/2” wide x 2 1/2” tall.
I used miters for all the corners instaed of butt joints as he shows. Nothing wrong with butt joints, they are what I used in the “Palm boxes ”
they are much simpler and plenty strong for small boxes like these. I opted for mitered corners prefering the continous grain wrapping around the box, its classier. Butt joints are more casual, like wearing sweat pants to a wedding, no offense Rick :-)
I wanted these boxes to look their best.
As I have mentioned before, make a test box to try out everything first. This is mine.
Its a bit more difficult to cut away the ends to allow for the lid. With the butt style ends you simply make them shorter in height.
I cut the ends down by flipping the box over and cutting down about an inch and cutting away about 3/8” along the inside edge of the front and back, creating a ledge for the lid to sit on. I cleaned up the saw kerfs using the router.
I pinned the corners with small dowels. I hid the brass hinge pins behind the top dowel and spaced the others equally after getting that one located.
I made my own dowels since I couldnt find anything small enough, 1/8” that is.
I honestly dont remember what I read or saw in my years playing with wood, but something niggled at my brain and let me to come up with a way to make my own. I cant give credit where its due ( sorry Bob )
Anyway, I played with several ways to make a small dowel and came up with this, and it works slick.
I took a hing because its the only piece of thin steel I could lay my hands on, and drilled a 3/8 hole in the counter and drilled a 1/8 hole in the hinge and placed this hole over the larger one in the counter, which keeps the dowel from binding up and breaking off. I sharpened the cutter in the hinge by boring a recess over the 1/8 hole with a larger but which thinned out the steel. I then cut a small notch in one edge using a triangle file. Just play with it until something works.
To make the dowel stock, I ripped strips on the bandsaw down to about 3/16, chucked them in my cordless and rounded them over on the drum sander like this:
Then I sharpened a point on the end and slowly fed it into the cutter like this:
Cut the lid blank to a snug fit, but leave it long until after you fit the handle and cut it in two parts.
Make a bottom frame if you like and add corner blocks as needed to attach screws up into the bottom.
Glue or pin or use mortise and tenons to attach the lid, but remember that when its cut apart a teneon joint will show at the edges, so it needs to be done perfect, or you can line the edges as I did. Rough shape the handle a cut a notch for it to settle down into. Cut the lid in two pieces, straight like I marked out here.
or wavy like this. The line was just to guide me on the entry and exit cut as it went through the bandsaw.
Add accents like these bloodwood strips if you prefer, like these. Final shaping or sanding will remove the chips.
The lid is hinged after its cut in two pieces.
Space it up off the box ends about 1/16, place masking tape as a spacer between the lid faces and tape it all into place very securely. Drill a 1/8 hole at all 4 corners for brass rod. Mark the lid-to-body orientation for refitting into the correct location.
Place roofing nails or long rod stock in each hole so you can easily remove them when fitting the lid.
You will need to carefully round over the bottom edge of the lid so it will swing up and stop just off vertical. Do this slowly and allow for final sanding and for the thickness of finish. You will need to pull the pins and sand a little and retry several times to get it just right.
Sand or shape as desired. Finish with lacquer, its easy and doesnt darken the wood like oil, or use bear fat, hamster milk, paint, or whatever you prefer.
Hope this encourages you to try one of these boxes.
-- If I can do it, so can you. www.artboxesbyandy.com