|Project by Boxguy||posted 12-13-2014 02:45 PM||2362 views||8 times favorited||16 comments|
Thanks for looking at this project. Any comments and suggestions are appreciated and welcome. I will reply to all of you Lumberlanders out there who take time to “have your say” in the next 24 hours, so check back for feedback.
At the end of this posting, there is a tutorial index of some of my previous postings that will show you how to build the jigs and learn the techniques for building boxes like these.
Pictured are two music boxes (10’L x 5 1/2’W x 5’H) with Black Cherry Sides and quarter-sawn White Oak tops and corner splines. These music works were purchased from Rockler, but there are many other sources of music box works on line. These boxes feature inset tops and bottoms, a full length steel hinge, three part finger lifts, faux legs, 18 note wind-up works with covers, 16 corner splines, 4 finish coats, and solid construction.
Story: Like many others in Lumberland, Dale and I are both grandpas who know the happiness of making things for our grandchildren to enjoy. For Christmas, Dale wanted to give each of his two granddaughters a music box. Dale and I have worked together on several other boxes over the past few years. Dale does a nice job of making boxes. We started working on these particular music boxes several months ago and of course life’s travails got in the way. There were vacations, illnesses, appointments and the like. But we got them finished before Christmas and Dale is eager to see his granddaughters light up with joy as they see the music boxes he made for each of them for Christmas. As many Lumberjocks know, crafting this type of gift is like sending love forward for years to come.
Construction Tips for Music Boxes:
In terms of sound and mechanical concerns, the bottom of the box is the most important part. Here are some of the things Dale and I learned about building music boxes.
Leave a deeper-than-normal inset at the bottom of the box for the key to protrude from the bottom of the box and clear the table it sits upon. These boxes have a 3/4’ inset from leg bottom to box bottom.
Try to design some space between the very bottom of the box and the table it sits on for the sound to escape. Dale used faux legs and we sanded a little extra off to leave a “crack” between the leg bottom and the table top.
Use 1/4’ plywood for a bottom. If it is too thick the key stem will be too short. 1/4 inch plywood seems to provide a sound board that is thick enough to hold screws and thin enough vibrate well.
Fasten the works securely to the bottom soundboard. Use three or four screws to do this. There will be an unpleasant vibration and buzz as the music plays if the works are not fastened securely.
Be sure to glue the plywood box bottom on all four sides. If it is loose it will buzz on some notes. This is another plus for plywood bottoms since they will not tend to shrink and move seasonally.
Leave extra room around the key hole for the key, and be sure it doesn’t bind when winding and unwinding.
Since these works did not come with a cover, we made covers by cutting down small plastic sugar caddies like you see used in many restuarants. You can also buy these at local restaurant supply stores. They are clear plastic, sturdy, and a good fit for the 18 note movements.
Anchor the cover with two screws. Dale and I chose to keep the inset screw heads uncovered so we could remove the covers and get to the movements to work on them. It saved us several times when we were working on the shut off lever. The two-step drill bit and a stop collar from my pocket hole kit did a nice job of keeping everything centered and not drilling too deeply.
Wow! I hadn’t realized how many problems we solved to get the sound to work well in Dale’s music boxes. Maybe these hints will save some of you time when you make your music box.
Tutorials: For methods used to make boxes like the one pictured above just click on the blue links below. They are arranged by topic.
Making a jig to cut spline slots:
Jig for 45ing corners:
Making splines with a simple jig:
$5 band clamps:
Combining Wood Colors:
Sizing Tea Boxes and Dividers From Venetian Blinds
Making Kleenex boxes:
Making music boxes
Routers and Rounding edges
Why round box corners?
Organizing a glue-up table:
Adding splines to a box:
Measuring for spline slot cuts:
Installing an attached top: like that pictured above.
Cutting off the box top and sizing piano hinges
Adding finger indents:
More about finger indents.
Mortising and installing hinges:
Tips on making sliding trays: for inside boxes:
Cutting cloth liners for trays and the bottom of boxes.
Swapping Wood By Mail:
Making a serving tray with angled sides.
Roy Underhill's tool tote.
-- Big Al in IN