LumberJocks

Wooden box projects and adventures #1: How to screw up a box top in one short day...OR...how to waste a day making a tiny little box

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Blog entry by Susan posted 921 days ago 3840 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Wooden box projects and adventures series Part 2: Another great day in the shop... »

Ok…I’m not a blogger….never claimed to be…just thought I would post some of my shop adventures here. I’m a refinisher, but have been playing around with a few side projects to keep my mind sharp, and possibly make a little money on the side…maybe…one never knows.

So today I was up and down in the shop a little early. The new pup is pretty good about the loud noises…he helped me use my planer last night to make a bunch of new shavings for his little backyard area that doubles as my finish area….(one of these days when I hit the big time, I’ll have to invest in a spray booth…but until then, it’s outside for me…) I had found a nice little plan to make a box online http://www.finewoodworking.com/FWNPDFfree/99928091.pdf and thought, “Hey…I could make that…”.

I find interesting pallets, break them down and plane them….not fun, but at least free, and I’ve found some interesting wood…found some walnut the other day that was so hidden in grunge, I didn’t even realize what I had until I planed it!!

Anyhoo…I started out the day by making up a spline joint jig…easy peasy….scrap wood is my friend. The sides of the box went together nice and quick, cut the spline grooves (jig worked awesome), fit the base into the groove that I put in the sides, and all was right with the world. While the spline pieces were gluing in, I decided to start on the lid.

I thought things were going well, but as some things do, the top was going pear shaped and I was blissfully unaware…ok…try again….damn pears….try again…dang it…went through all the spare 3/4” mahogany, a nice piece of teak and then tried a piece of walnut…..I checked for square, checked my router settings, measured at least fifty times, and it was still not doing what it was supposed to do…kept going out of alignment and the router was removing too much so that it fit too loose in the base, and the angles were taking off too much near the base of the top and not giving a pleasing look when the box was together.

As you are probably aware, Steve Jobs passed recently, so there has been a lot about him on the news….so I had this stuck in my head about how he kept saying to think differently. Well…I figured if I was screwing up the directions so much…I should just get rid of the directions…..I ended up cutting a piece to fit the top opening pretty snug and then just shaved and sanded off the mistake from the bottom of one of the mahogany pieces, glued the new snug fitting piece on dead center and poof…lid that not only fits, but looks correct….

Ok…I know I cheated a bit, but it works…at least for now…next time I’ll triple check again and see if the same thing happens….but I have another box plan in mind that I may try tomorrow.

Things I’ll do different: use router bit to make the chamfer edges on the top, use higher contrast wood for the splines, not waste all day making one friggin little box….well…maybe the last one will happen again…that’s half the fun after all…=0)

Currently that is just a little side project…I have two mini coffins (toe pincher caskets) that are getting their seal coat, and I need to make up a few more of those before Halloween…also have an idea for a larger coffin (about three feet) that I can make into a beast in a box type of banging prop for my store window….I’ll post more on those later…

Please understand that this blog may be more for me to figure out stuff than whether or not I get feedback…but if you do have feedback…try and keep it constructive…the refinishing is my business, but the building aspect is just a side thing…not my specialty….and the wonky nature of the lid is just the latest in a long line of reasons that I don’t actually build a lot….I’m just better at the refinishing!!

-- Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle



14 comments so far

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 2295 days


#1 posted 921 days ago

Just my thoughts, but it ain’t cheating if it works. One tip on blogging on LumberJocks. No pics, didn’t happen. Translation: We want to see the box ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7190 posts in 1419 days


#2 posted 921 days ago

I enjoyed reading your post, Susan. You do fine at blogging. All it is is telling a story. I would like to see a picture too though. Even of the finished box so that I have a clearer picture in my head. I found that people here (and most places) like pictures. I do too! :)

As far as your day went, you aren’t alone in doing thing over to make them work. Many times instructions are not correct or they aren’t relevant to your tools or your application of the process and you need to throw them to the wind and go off in your own direction anyhow.

When I first started, this happened to me. Then it got to be so that I was throwing them to the wind more than reading them and I started designing on my own. It started a whole new career for me!

This is all part of the learning process. You are experiencing something that I think most woodworkers go through. It is at this point that some give up and others reinvent the project and make it work their own way. I see you doing this and I am happy for you! I think you did great!

Thanks for sharing your story with us. I think most of us like to see not only the successes that our fellow woodworkers experience, but also the difficulties that they had along the way. (Ironically, I wrote about this in my own blog this morning. I had the same type of day you did yesterday – trying and failing a couple of times before making things work!) It is very validating to hear that others go through this too.

Keep us posted and please add some pictures when you get the chance. Never be afraid to blog here. Everyone is helpful and nice and you may get some great advice on how to make things easier next time!

Take care, Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View Gpops's profile

Gpops

243 posts in 1944 days


#3 posted 921 days ago

Well now there are three of us that want to see the box. You started your business with as you put it” trial and error”, how do you think any of us learn new things. I for one have more than my fair share of firewood projects but in the end some of the best ideas come from those mistakes. Besides you got the lid to fit right? That wasn’t cheating that was adapting to the situation. I agree with Shella, many a instruction leaves a lot to be desired. Hang in there and you will be whipping out many a box in no time. Don PS. A picture of the pup would be welcome too.

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1084 posts in 1359 days


#4 posted 921 days ago

OK, gang, repeat after me:

We Want Pictures!

We Want Pictures!

We Want Pictures!

Repeat as needed until Susan posts pictures both the troublesome box and cute pup…

Seriously, I enjoyed this blog article and look forward to seeing more…

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View Susan's profile

Susan

65 posts in 930 days


#5 posted 920 days ago

Ok! Ok!! I’ll take some pics today!! LOL…in the mean time…here’s a pic of the pup (and I only saw the notice today about the ‘approval’ since it was my first blog…) This is Gryphon out back with the wood shavings….he’s a great shop helper!!

-- Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

View Susan's profile

Susan

65 posts in 930 days


#6 posted 920 days ago

Here’s the much asked for pic of the box…I finished with the last coat of lacquer today and put a coat of wax on it..

..

-- Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

View Susan's profile

Susan

65 posts in 930 days


#7 posted 920 days ago

I also want to thank all of you for the kind encouragement! This is a wonderful website!

-- Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 2295 days


#8 posted 920 days ago

OK, I like the box a lot. I’m glad you shared it :)

If that’s the result of going against the plan, then I wouldn’t go with the plans again ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7190 posts in 1419 days


#9 posted 920 days ago

That’s a COOL box! I think it looks nice! The finish is awesome and really brings out the grain of the wood. I think you did a fine job of building it. You should really be proud! Way to go! :)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1084 posts in 1359 days


#10 posted 919 days ago

Susan,

See, that wasn’t too hard was it???

BTW, we all seem to like the box and most of us also like the pup.

Keep up the good work.

Be Careful!

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1084 posts in 1359 days


#11 posted 919 days ago

BTW, you can NOW claim to be a blogger…

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View Susan's profile

Susan

65 posts in 930 days


#12 posted 918 days ago

LOL…thanks everyone!! I’m glad you all like the box….and you’d like the pup too if you ever get to meet him!! I plan on definitely making up some more like this one….

-- Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

View patron's profile

patron

12842 posts in 1841 days


#13 posted 916 days ago

cool pup

and beautiful box

welcome to LJ’s

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Susan's profile

Susan

65 posts in 930 days


#14 posted 915 days ago

Thanks Patron!! Everyone here is so talented…it’s nice that you all like my work!

-- Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

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