Boxes #1: Making Wine Boxes... Father's Day Gifts

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Blog entry by gizmodyne posted 06-23-2007 04:10 PM 7797 reads 7 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Boxes series Part 2: Bookmatched Box »

11th hour
At the last minute I got inspired by Caliper’s gift box.

I had bought some quartersawn white oak for such a project but had too much on my plate with the end of the school year. I finished report cards last Friday and decided to work on a gift for my dad and my father in law.

I had a gift subscription to Wood Magazine last year. I like their detailed plans but never like the woods they use in their projects. This is from the Dec 2006 Issue. I decided to use walnut and white oak.

I still need to finish the boxes, (put a finish on) but here are some pics of the process.

Rockler had a sale on 1/4sawn oak. I got this board for like $5.00

From the scrap pile. Left over from a toolbox project.

I rough cut the stock to final length plus 1”. I plan out the grain and layout during this step.

The lids, handle, and bottoms are resawn from the oak.

This piece revealed the best ray pattern, so I used them for the lids.

I am getting into the habbit of rough ripping on the bandsaw.

A pic of the stock after being s4s’edn and cut to final length.

Cutting the tenons/ rabbets on the sides of the box. The walnut ends fit into these. I set up a stop block at the tablesaw and nibble away. No dado set yet.

You can see how rough the cut is.

I smoothed the joint lightly with my shoulder plane.

Dry fitting the bottom. The grooves for the bottom and lid were cut on the table saw. I run it once and then bump the fence to get a perfect fence. Alternatively, I could have cut the groove and then planed the lid and bottom to fit. The lid needs to fit tightly so that it does not slide out. Wine bottle was for proportion and not for courage.

Glue up.

I altered the plans by putting the dowels in the side of the box instead of the front. To me the purpose of the dowels is to prevent the ends from being pulled off due to the somewhat weak rabbet joint. Pinning through the sides is the best way to do this. Though the box is probably not subject to any real stress.

I got a little frenzied in the end and Kristin revoked the camera since I was not protecting it from dust. So let us just skip to the end. Obviously I made the little handles and fitted the top. The handles are attached with scews but will get glue too after the finish is done.

One of my favorite parts of this box is the curved ends. I cut these on the bandsaw and then shaped them with the ROS._

I filled the box with some wood shaving and a nice bottle of wine. The dads were pleased but I need to put a finish on ASAP.

Great little project and I have respect for WOOD magazine now. They give you nice little templates.

New skills: Curved box. New handle style. Sliding lid.

Mistakes: I doweled slightly into the interior on one box. oops. I will repair.

I would build again but there is a lot of room in this box, I would make it shallower next time. It is really heavy with wine in it.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

15 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4096 days

#1 posted 06-23-2007 04:26 PM

It is a wonderful box John. I’m looking forward to seeing it with finish.

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

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4029 days

#2 posted 06-23-2007 04:30 PM

John I like the box very much – something for me to think about for around Christmas time – I also liked the write-up, noting the new skills learned and the mistakes made. Keep up the good work

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4325 days

#3 posted 06-23-2007 05:04 PM

great post and project. I think Oak is the perfect wood for any wine-related project, (as that’s what makes the barrels wine is born in).

I’m trying to get my hands on some reclaimed wine barrels (staves or lids) for such a project… luck you being sooo much closer to the source.

Nice touch with the shavings as part of the presentation….

I can picture my (eventual) blog entry: “Inspired by Caliper and Giz…”

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4092 days

#4 posted 06-23-2007 05:06 PM

Hey John. These look great! Thanks for the process pics. I wish I hadn’t forgotten to take the camera to the shop when I was working on mine. I like the curvature you put on the ends. Your handles are very nice as well. Looking forward to the pics of the finish. What are you thinking for that?

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View gizmodyne's profile


1779 posts in 4088 days

#5 posted 06-23-2007 05:16 PM

Thanks for the comments guys.

Jeff—Finish? I think shellac. A black glaze. Shellac. Dark Wax. I have used on the oak but I need to test on walnut first. I might also just use a walnut danish oil.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4092 days

#6 posted 06-23-2007 05:52 PM

I’m liking the oil idea. It it is simple and pops the grain so nicely. I use a natural danish on mine. I gotta get that posted…

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3995 days

#7 posted 06-23-2007 06:02 PM

nice work! Are the dowels glued in for extra strength? Design element?

I’m not sure that I can tell how that all comes together on the sides. In one of the pictures above (5th from bottom) there’s a 1/4” piece of oak in the grooves for the side, but the other side doesn’t have the grooves on the ends…but the finished (completed – ha) box looks like it has thicker sides and that both sides ride in grooves in the ends…Tell me more!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4309 days

#8 posted 06-23-2007 06:48 PM

Great photos of the process. Too bad you had the camera taken away. LOL. I wanted to build a couple of those, but the article says that the handle is not stong enough to carry the box by, so I could just see the recipients wine bottles hitting the floor. After seeing yours, I might go for it anyway and put the dowels like you did.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4035 days

#9 posted 06-23-2007 07:21 PM

Great box and another great documented process. I really like how you made the most of the piece of wood you have!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View gizmodyne's profile


1779 posts in 4088 days

#10 posted 06-23-2007 11:33 PM

Thanks again for the comments.

Dorje: the 3/4 ends fit into the rabbets in the sides. The dowels add extra strength. The other ends have no groove so that the lid can slide in.

Os: I screwed the handle in too. The handle design does not let you get your finger under though.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4399 days

#11 posted 06-23-2007 11:41 PM

Great looking box. Nice present.

-- 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 Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3995 days

#12 posted 06-24-2007 04:06 AM

Oh! It’s on it’s side in the picture I referred to!!! I see it now – Thanks! I was looking at it as if it was sitting upright !

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4175 days

#13 posted 06-24-2007 10:26 AM

Nice work, Gizmo. I just love wooden boxes!

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Toolman3264's profile


3 posts in 2896 days

#14 posted 06-20-2010 08:38 PM

Again, Nice work Giz!

-- Toolman3264

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#15 posted 06-20-2010 08:45 PM

Very nice Blog super box.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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