Colonial Pipe boxes

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Project by Michigander posted 11-13-2014 11:36 PM 1400 views 6 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am between projects so I thought I’d try making Colonial Pipe boxes. In Colonial times the tavern keeper would hang one of these on the tavern wall and stock it with clay pipes for his patrons to smoke. Tobacco or matches were kept in the drawer. When the patron was through smoking he would snap an inch off the pipe and return it to the box for the next guy to smoke.
The whaletail is walnut with blonde shellac and 3 coat of General Finishes Oil Arm-R Seal urethane.
The dark one is tiger maple, dyed with brown water-based dye with a coat of cherry over the top then 3 coats of Arm-R Seal.
The light colored one is cherry. The picture is much lighter than actual. It has a coat of blonde shellac and 3 coats of Arm0R Seal.
The walnut and cherry have hand cut dovetail drawers with applied faces. The maple one was my first attempt and it has just glued drawer. The maple is 1/4” thick, but I decided it was too clunky so the other two are 1/4”. Construction is glue only no pin nails.
Anyway they are fun to make, I made up the patterns myself, except for the maple one. That was from an article in Fine Woodworking magazine.
They are fun to make and would make great Christmas presents.
Thanks for looking!

8 comments so far

View PaulDoug's profile


1076 posts in 1125 days

#1 posted 11-14-2014 12:20 AM

Nice work and interesting.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View michelletwo's profile


2587 posts in 2437 days

#2 posted 11-14-2014 10:49 AM

I like the middle & right one because of the back designs. You are right that they make great gifts.

View Oldtool's profile


2362 posts in 1612 days

#3 posted 11-14-2014 02:05 PM

Nice looking antiques, well done. Thanks for the inspiration, as I too am between projects and making one our more of these looks like fun. I see pipes in the cherry box, nice touch. Do you have a source for clay pipes?

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Michigander's profile


214 posts in 1840 days

#4 posted 11-14-2014 03:58 PM

Thanks for the comments guys. The pipes I have were picked up in antique stores over the years. However you can find them new on ebay for about $20.00. Here is a site that sells new pipes. They look pretty good too!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3006 days

#5 posted 11-14-2014 07:06 PM

A great story! I never heard of this being done before.I could however think of many other ideas though to expand these lovely boxes for future use. Still the pipe idea is interesting, if not completely hygenic LOL Still they did some things then that were done for practicality and so on. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View AKSteve's profile


475 posts in 1724 days

#6 posted 11-14-2014 07:10 PM

very nice and original. I might have to do one of those.

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#7 posted 11-15-2014 04:15 PM

Nice looking pipe boxes ,they look identical to the ones Charles Neil made on his show recently.

-- Custom furniture

View Michigander's profile


214 posts in 1840 days

#8 posted 11-17-2014 03:55 PM

Thanks guys for the complements. Being compared to something Charles Neil makes is quite a complement. I would like to join his site so I could have access to his projects. He is a great guy and very helpful. He has bailed me out more than once when I was doing a cherry project and struggling with the finish.

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