Well, here it goes…the long story. On my last tour to Iraq I was stationed at Balad AB, the largest FOB (Forward Operating Base) in the AOR (Area of Responsibility). I was in charge of a 110 person security team known as the FPs (Force Protection). To make a long military story short (since this is a woodworking site, not a military site), my team was responsible for the security of the entire base both inside and outside the wire, and a lot of stuff happened that made us a very tight nit group.
So anyhow, I had to wear a brasard (the thing on my left shoulder in my picture) that identified me as force protection. The brasard has Arabic writing on it that says “Military Police” and since we were the only ones who wore them, everyone could readily identify us. It is a very unique item since so many military deploy and only a very small percentage of us wear the brasard.
Now to the part where this project comes in to play… When I returned from my tour I was allowed to keep my brasard. Also, while I was over there I earned a couple of medals and was also awarded a couple of coins (another military tradition). So I came up with this idea that I wanted to display these items as this was a particularly special deployment for me. I also wanted a place to store all of the mementos I picked up while I was over there (stuff like Iraqi money, Iraqi cigarettes, and the like). The idea I came up with was to build a trinket box to store my mementos in and a display case for my brasard, medals, and coins. Well, I actually decided it might be kind of neat to combine the two, so I decided to make the lid of my trinket box into a shadow box.
About 1 month ago I stared working on this project. Having never built a box before, I started combing the web looking for ideas. Well, I haven’t found anything really similar to what I’m creating…But, I have found that there are a lot of jewelry boxes that share many of the design features I wanted to incorporate into my box. So I started googling “jewelry box” and some of the results I got back led me to this site. Kind of funny how things work out huh? So, after poking around this site for awhile, I decided to join and the rest is as they say, history…
Now on to my box (finally…). I started this box about a month ago, which means that I’ve gotten pretty far on it prior to me finding this site. Essentially though this means that my first box has come a long way without the wonderful advice I could have received from you all. Just for this box I purchased a Porter Cable dovetail jig (as not only is this my first box, but also my first time making dovetail joints). I chose to make the box out of poplar and red oak. I chose these for 2 reasons, first because I wanted my dovetails to really stand out, and second because lowes doesn’t have the greatest selection for wood… Here are some pictures of what I have so far:
This first picture shows the basic box I have made using the dovetail jig. I think it turned out okay. Don’t mind my horrific glue lines inside the box as they will be covered with another 1/4” board wrapped in black velvet.
This second picture shows the long side of the box. I used the oak for the long sides and the poplar for the short sides. And yes, I didn’t do through dovetails, just half blinds…
The third picture shows the lid or the shadow box portion of my project. As you can see, I built a sub-frame which will accommodate the glass on one side and on the side that is showing will sit another board covered in velvet (where my brasard and medals will sit). So, again, don’t get hung up on the horrible glue as it will not be seen when this is assembled.
This 4th picture shows the mitered frame which will sit on top of the lid and lexan/glass. I used a cove bit on both the inside and outside edges to give it a little character.
The 5th picture is of the box with the lid and frame sitting on top as they will be when it is finally assembled.
The sixth picture is a top down view with the lexan in place so you all can see how the frame is going to sit.
The 7th picture is showing how some of my dovetails are pulling apart. I think I used a little to thick of a shim when I was gluing the sub-frame inside the lid. I guess now that it is all glued up, I will be forced to use some wood filler to take up those gaps…
This 7th picture is showing me in the process of using polyurethane on the inside of the box. I had no intention of staining the inside of the box. On the left you can see the oak plywood that will cover the velvet wrapped cork board in the lid portion of my box. When you lift the lid/shadow box to get to the trinket part of the box, the oak ply is what you will see (the bottom part of the lid).
And finally, in this picture I am holding two sample of stained oak and stained poplar. The stain is Minwax “Sedona Red” which matches up to my bedroom furniture very well. I am still trying to decide if I really want to stain the outside of the box or not. Maybe you all can help me with this decision. The things running through my mind are: 1. It will be in the bedroom, it might be nice if it matched the other furniture. 2. If I stain, will there still be separation between the red oak and the poplar? (In other words, will the poplar stain lighter than the oak?) 3. I actually like the growth lines in the poplar, but as you can see with my stained sample, you really can’t see them anymore… So what do you all think?? Also, this is only one coat of stain and if I do stain I will probably go with at least two coats to give it a deep, rich coloring.
So, that is what I’ve been working on for about the past month. I am very open to any suggestions, (kind of the reason I joined this site). Please let me know what you think so far and also where you think I should go from here. Oh, and I hope I didn’t bore you all to death with this super long blog… Thanks for looking!
-- Sgt_Lobo -- Aurora, CO