The retiree has collected many challenge coins over his career and he wanted a way to display them all. I designed a tray that can be removed for display or stored inside the chest. When we first talked about the tray I didn’t know exactly how many coins he had so I just worked up the design for 2 1/16” square openings with 1/4” dividers which gave me 135 coin slots. Turns out he has about 80 coins so I guess he better start collecting some more! I wanted the tray to tie in with the box itself so I selected mahogany and ash as my main woods. I knew that the tray would have a fairly heavy load inside which eliminated simple miter corners but I don’t have a dovetail jig (yet) and wasn’t going to go buy one. That led me to box joints, something that I tried way back in the start of my woodworking, didn’t do well, and never revisited. But now I had to visit. I did a lot of reading and built a box joint jig and forgot to take pictures of that process. But I’m certain you know how box joint jigs work. Scrap wood fence, precision cut ‘key’ and precise offset of said key. It worked great on my test pieces, worked rotten on my first two boards but ended up working out fairly well.
This picture was taken after I cut the lid from the bottom of the box so that’s why the top finger looks narrow.
Making the ash dividers seemed daunting at first, so many narrow strips that all needed precise half-lap joints. It took me about an hour but then I remembered that the box joint jig was designed to make precisely spaced cuts so I adapted that to the dividers. The key is 1/4” wide and spaced 2 1/16” away from the dado stack. I milled several wider pieces of ash to the lengths I needed and then just cut properly set dados. When that was done all I had to do was rip thin strips off and I had lots of pieces that were exactly the same!
The bottom of the box needed to be navy blue but it was too large for a single piece of easily obtained PSA velvet. I researched flocking as an alternative even though I always considered flocking a lower-end method of lining a box. I was quite wrong in that assumption. Flocking worked out wonderfully and it’s a darned shame I didn’t use it on some of my past projects; it is certainly firmly entrenched in my arsenal now. So after finishing the tray in the same manner as the chest this is what I ended up with:
Now I have to move on to the flag box. Thanks for looking!
-- Mistake? No, that's just an unexpected design opportunity....