Project - Chunky Boxes #1: Milling the Lumber

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Blog entry by Dekker posted 10-26-2007 12:38 PM 1213 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Project - Chunky Boxes series Part 2: Tuning Tools »

While my other boxes are receiving their final finishes, I have decided to start on another pair of boxes. The design is based on something I saw in a book, but I can not remember which at this moment. They are short (probably only 1-1/4” tall) and not very long (about 3-1/2”) with a slab lid that is removed with the use of a finger-hole on the side wall of the carcase.

The nice thing about the design is its frugality: It only takes one piece of wood 17” long and 1-1/4” wide to make the carcase sides, a 1/8” piece of ply for the base, and you can customize the lid in many ways. The lid can even be polished stone! That is the nice thing about slab lids. Since the wood required is so narrow, I will again make two boxes since the effort to make two is almost the same as for making one for small boxes like this. And besides, cutting narrow slices from stock wastes so much. May as well use the remainder to make more copies!

I had bought some walnut a while ago and I thought that would do nicely for the body. I have not decided on the lid yet, but I think I will use some bird’s eye maple which I have waiting for a project… So I cut 17” off my walnut, using the “bad” end of the plank, since I could get enough usable wood from the board without worrying about the bark, and it would leave the rest of the walnut in good shape for a larger project.

You’ll notice all the planer shavings under the board.


I then jointed a face and end, passed the other face through the planer to bring it to exactly 3/4”, then made some rip cuts on my tablesaw (jointing between cuts to keep one edge perfect) to give me some oversized sticks that I could shape before slicing into the carcase sides. Since I did not have any walnut ply for the base, I decided to use the small amount of wood next to the bark to fashion into my base. If you are attentive, you will notice my mistake… I have two carcase pieces, and only one base… Easily solved, but it was another Doh! moment…

So here you have the base blanks, resawn on my bandsaw into bookmatched pairs. I will glue these pieces together to form a blank for the base, which only needs to be 1/8” thick. After glueup, I will plane it to the final dimensions.

The following two images are my rather low-tech clamping methods… The clamp is good enough to keep it together, but I found it had a tendancy to slide, so I just put some very light weight on it to keep it flat. The paper might stick to the surface, but that would get planed off anyway…

You may note that the wood being used as a paperweight is cherry hardwood flooring… That was some free wood that I was lucky enough to pick up yesterday, and it came in handy ;)


Well, that’s it for today. I’m still pleased with my progress in getting back into woodworking. My deadline, if you will, is quickly approaching, with my wife’s first craft show of the season coming Nov 3, and the next being Nov 11… When I started my kick, I did not realize just how fast that was approaching. That’s next weekend! I’ll be shellacking my first boxes over the next couple days, but for these boxes, I think I will go with a tung/varnish finish that cures much faster. Though I will not have a full display of boxes (I will have two designs, two copies of each), I will at least be able to sit behind the table and talk to some of the husbands that were dragged to the jewellery booth!

-- Dekker -

4 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4096 days

#1 posted 10-27-2007 03:03 AM

Good luck on hitting the deadline.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dekker's profile


147 posts in 3880 days

#2 posted 10-27-2007 02:59 PM

Thanks Wayne. What complicates matters is that I have a little baby and I can only do my woodwork between her feeding schedules ;)

-- Dekker -

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4400 days

#3 posted 10-27-2007 05:11 PM

Thanks for the views. It will be great to see the trip.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Dekker's profile


147 posts in 3880 days

#4 posted 10-27-2007 10:57 PM

Karson, the trip is sometimes the more interesting part. The destination (the box) may get given away in the end!

-- Dekker -

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